Burbank, Burroughs track teams produce six titlists at Pacific League finale

ARCADIA — Winning and advancing were the two most important elements for the Burbank and Burroughs high track and field programs at Friday evening's Pacific League Finals at Arcadia's Salter Stadium.

The Bulldogs and Indians produced six overall winners and 14 qualifiers to next week's CIF Southern Section Division I preliminaries at Trabuco Hills High.

Perhaps the athlete who stood out most was Bulldogs junior Andy Hurtado.

While the thrower didn't match his personal-best mark of 151 feet in the discus hit at the recent city meet, Hurtado was still thrilled in winning the discus with a toss of 143 feet, 10 inches.

"The good news is that I won a championship. I didn't go 151, but I'll have a chance to next week," said Hurtado, who hit 143-10 on his first toss.

Hurtado later finished runner-up with a CIF qualifying toss of 43-3 1/2 in the shot put. The event was won by Indians senior Brian Jones, who flung his shot 45 feet.

Like Hurtado, Bulldogs senior Dennis Palacio was both a champion in one event and a qualifier in another.

Palacio held off Pasadena's Walter Martinez in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.87 seconds, just nipping Martinez (40.99) at the finish.

"I've been a part of this program for four years and this makes it all feel worth it. This wasn't a waste because I was able to get this win," said Palacio, who also advanced by taking second in the long jump in 20-3.

Burbank's final victory was turned in junior Chris Miranda, who tied Burroughs' Matt Schwartz in the pole vault with a distance of 13-9. Miranda needed fewer tries to hit 13-9 and thus took the title.

Miranda, Schwartz and Burbank's Andres Pulgarin (12-9) all have the satisfaction of knowing they advanced to the prelims.

Other than Jones, the Indians produced two more champions in freshman Sarah Prystupa and senior Gracia Innocentia.

Prystupa outshined a field full of upperclassmen in winning the pole vault in 8-6.

As for the seasoned Innocentia, the senior lapped about seven runners in winning the 3,200 in 11:22.3.

"It's great to win, but that's not as important to me as my time," said Innocentia, who broke her previous personal best of 11:28. "My next goal is to beat 11:20, whether or not I win."

Burbank junior Arsen Mkrtchyan pushed Crescenta Valley's Nick Beatty in the 800, at one time closing a six-second deficit in a 200-meter span to pull within a half second.

Beatty (1:58.12) gave a final kick to hold off a stout effort from Mkrtchyan (1:58.69), who advanced to the Division I prelims.

"I thought midway through the race that I was going to die. I just gave everything I had," Mkrtchyan said. "I think if I had another 20 meters, I would have won the race."

Burbank's Bernie Corea also advanced to the Division I prelims by taking second in the 3,200 (9:39.00), while Bulldogs third-place finisher Kayla Martil is also moving on in the 400 (58.89).

Burroughs' Ermar Cruz took third in the discus in 137-7 and will also head to Trabuco Hills.

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