Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Plenty of talent to go around

Jim Riggio

The road to the California State track and field championships isn’t

an easy one, but several local athletes figure to put together a

serious bid at earning a spot.


With qualifying standards now in effect, no longer do Southern

Section athletes have to finish among the top five in the CIF

Southern Section Master’s meet.

Burroughs’ Carolyn Brown, David Brooks and Burbank’s Kyle Ivie all


stand excellent chances of getting to compete against the state’s



The Indians have several outstanding athletes who figure to make

the boys’ team very competitive.

Senior Matt Welch ran 10.9 seconds in the 100 meters last year to

finish second in the Foothill League. He won the league title in the

200 (22.19).


Senior David Brooks set a school record in the 300 intermediate

hurdles, going 40.12. Should the football standout drop another

second or two from last season, he stands a good chance to be a state

meet qualifier.

Senior triple jumper Aaron Floyd, the defending league champion,

is also back. He had a personal best of 41 feet 9 last year. Junior

Matt Patterson is another strong triple jumper, as he went 41-0 last



Junior Mike Ortega, who was a CIF finalist in the pole vault,

gives Burroughs a good presence in that event. Ortega went 12-9 as a


Senior Juan Flores set a school record in the discus throw last

year with a best of 141-8.

“We know what these kids have done in the past, but now it’s about

what they are able to achieve this year,” said Burroughs Co-coach

John Peebles, who is assisted by Tony Novoa. “We expect other names

to emerge this year as well.”

Burroughs’ girls’ team isn’t as deep, but it has senior Carolyn

Brown, who has had an outstanding career.

Last season, Brown finished eighth in the state meet in the 800

meters. She has a personal best of 2:13.99, which is a school record.

Sophomore Katie Vahoviak also returns, as she set a school record

in the 3,200 last year, going 11:30.02.


The Bulldog boys’ team will rely on the strength of its distance

runners, as the cross-country team finished eighth in state this


Senior Kyle Ivie, who ran 4:18 in the 1,600, is the top returner

on the team and is a strong candidate for the state meet.

Senior Stratos Christianakis is another top distance runner who

figures to be under 10 minutes in the 3,200 meters.

Bevan Selover should also pick up points in the throwing events.

Burbank’s girls’ team should be impressive as well, led by senior

Judy Maxwell, who will be gunning for a school record in the 400.

Junior Samantha Rivero, who led the team in scoring points last

season, will be a key in the jumping events.

Burbank’s distance corps will be strengthened by sophomores

Allison Ivie and Melissa Edwards.

Senior Jennifer Anderson and freshman Carolyn Chrzan are two

versatile athletes who could help out in a number of events.

“I am very excited about this year’s team,” Burbank Coach Darin

Wolf said. “We have someone in every event that is capable of winning

that event. We are a small squad though, so we will have to stay



The Guards have a lot of reason to be optimistic, as many of the

school’s top athletes are out for the team.

“We have more boys out for the team than we’ve had in years,”

Guard Coach Dick Smith said. “I’d say we’re contenders for the league

title in both the boys and girls.”

Bell-Jeff’s boys’ team will remain in the Santa Fe League, where

it finished third last season. The girls finished second in the

Camino Real League, and now move to the Sunshine League.

For the boys’ team, sophomore distance runner Gerad Herkey figures

to give the Guards a strong presence. He ran 4:47 in the 1,600 as a


Sophomore Jeff Pang will also help out in the distance events, and

junior Carmichael Curdy should score points in the middle distance.

Sophomores Jake Nelson and Josh Gladfelter, as well as junior J.J.

Mastropietro figure to give Bell-Jeff a good hurdling crew.

Senior Shant Keurjekian and junior Zaven Dedian figure to be

Bell-Jeff’s top athletes in the jumping events.

Sophomore Derek Leiphardt, who is also playing baseball, is

expected to be the top sprinter.

For the Bell-Jeff girls’ team, junior Pharrin Lewis, who won the

Camino Real League title in the 100 intermediate hurdles, returns.

Junior Kelly Hobbs, who was the league champion in the 300

intermediate hurdles, will also return.

Senior Camille Napolitano, a CIF finalist in the shot put, will be

back, as will basketball teammate Andrea Morgan in the shot put.

Freshmen twin sisters Amber and Ashley Herkey will lead Bell-Jeff in

distance events.

Junior Cynthia Hajj and sophomore Kristin De Jesus are the Guards’

top sprinters.


Although the Pioneers don’t compete in dual meets, they always

have several quality athletes who compete in Liberty League meets,

which are run like all-comers meets, since all the schools in the

league have small enrollments.

For the Pioneer boys’ team, senior Peter Refela and sophomore

Rainer Blanco have stood out during their offseason training. Blanco

is coming off a solid cross-country season.

The Pioneer girls’ team has a freshman star in Adrienne Panlilio,

who could set school records in the 400 and 800. Junior Patty Batres

returns as the school-record holder in the 3,200.

"[We have] lots of new runners to the program this year,”

Providence Co-coach Karri Kirsch said. “We are looking forward to a

school-record breaking season.”