Hurtado sets new Burbank High discus mark at Arcadia Invitational

ARCADIA — Despite sending a small contingent, the Burbank-area produced a record-setting effort at Saturday’s second day of the 47th annual Arcadia Invitational Track and Field Meet at Arcadia High.

Burbank High senior Andy Hurtado led the way.

The reigning Pacific League discus champion etched his name into Burbank High history when he set a new school and personal record in the discus with a fifth-place toss of 166 feet, 9 inches.

“It was unbelievable, it was the throw I had thought I could always throw,” Hurtado said. “I know I finished fifth, but I don’t really care about my finish, just my throw. I couldn’t be happier.”

Hurtado entered after having thrown 162-9 in the Bulldogs’ 115-21 Pacific League victory over Glendale on Thursday.

Yet, Hurtado wasn’t even close in his first few attempts as he faulted twice and then produced a top mark of 158-11.

Hurtado pulled through, however, in his fifth and only throw to clear 160 feet when he hit 166-9.

“Honestly, I just had to clear my mind and not think,” Hurtado said. “I just let all the pressure go and just threw and once [the discus] left my hand, I knew it was a great throw. To break the school record of 157-7 by Jim Hackel in 1976 is cool.”

In a potential league championship showdown, Hurtado blew away Arcadia’s Joshua Ji, who finished 17th at 142 feet.

At the same time Hurtado was launching discus into the atmosphere, Burroughs senior Matt Schwartz was also hitting rarified air.

The pole vaulter matched his personal-best set at Thursday’s Pacific League tri-meet against Crescenta Valley and Muir with a mark of 15 feet.

The height, which surpassed Steve Morris (14-8) for third all-time in school history, wasn’t that satisfying, however.

“I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but I really thought I’d do better,” said Schwartz, who was hoping to win a bid to the evening’s invitational pole vault competition. “I wanted to win and compete later in the meet, but that’s OK I guess.”

By the end of the season, Schwartz hopes to surpassed Jon Switzer, whose vault of 15-7 in 1976 is No. 2 all-time on the school list. Esa Sallinen holds the school record of 16-4 3/4.

“The top mark is sorta out there, but I think I could get second,” said Schwartz, who missed on three attempts at 15-4. “If I would have reached 15-4, then the next height was 15-8, which would have given me a chance at second.”

Burbank High sophomore Candela Fernandez’s hunt for a new school record will have to wait another week.

The distance runner entered Saturday’s 3,200-meter seeded run hoping to surpass 11 minutes flat for a new school mark, but instead settled for 19th place with a time of 11:05.04.

“I wanted to get 11 minutes flat and I didn’t do it, but this is a learning experience,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez was 25th midway through the race and had only moved up two spots heading into the eighth and final lap.

Yet, the youngster showed her improved conditioning off in surpassing four runners and taking 19th.

“I had a little kick at the end and I was going to do what I could to get to 11 minutes,” Fernandez said.

Burbank senior Arsen Mkrtchyan was the fourth and final local athlete and found himself in a competition with rival Nick Beatty of Crescenta Valley in the open 800-meter run.

Mkrtchyan finished 10th in his heat and 36th overall with a mark of 1:59.07.

The good news for Mkrtchyan is that he outlasted Beatty, who 14th in the same heat and 42nd overall (2:05.23).

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