Crescenta Valley girls' track ready for run to success

Kayleigh Carrillo enjoyed a banner season last season while competing in the sprinting events for the Crescenta Valley High girls' track and field team.

Carrillo stormed to the forefront, winning Pacific League championships in the 200- and 400-meter races last season at Arcadia High. It also likely signaled the that Carrillo would be the Falcons’ go-to athlete to set the stage the next two seasons.

Carrillo, a junior, will also be ready to help the Falcons defend their league championship in the 4x400 relay.

“Kayleigh will be one of the anchors for us again,” Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Evans said. “She’s going to be counted on to score a lot of points for us.

“We think she can be even better. She had such a great season last year and now she’s got even more experience.”

The Falcons, who finished fourth in league last season, will have a strong foundation with a core of experienced distance runners returning. Among those expected to be back are Cali King, Hannah Ruby, Erika Johnson and Megan Melnyk.

Noel Wong will handle the 100 responsibilities. The Falcons also figure to be stronger in the field events, led by Emmie Walker and Emily Beglarian. Walker won a league championship in the high jump last season.

“We should be strong in the distance events,” Evans said. “I think we will be stronger in the field events, too.”

Like Crescenta Valley, Flintridge Prep will have plenty of depth in the distance races. The Rebels lacked in depth last season, something they hope to rectify this season under coach Nick Ponticello.

Leading the charge will be distance runners Kaitlyn Kelleher, Kate Evans and Ashley Lara. The trio will participate in the 1,600- and 3,200 races.

Miah Webb and Samantha Davies will be the main sprinters for the Rebels, who will also feature Cassie Redding in the hurdles.

“I think we have developed more interest and getting more of a turnout in terms of numbers,” Ponticello said. “In order for us to do well, it will depend on some of the new blood.”

Andrew Dakopolos takes over the head-coaching position from Bob Bailey at Glendale.

Dakopolos, who participated in track and field at Occidental College, said he’s been searching for depth across the board and it might take part of the season to be able to fill in some of the spots where the Nitros might have a dearth in talent.

Glendale should feature an array of talent in the distance and sprints.

“We do have some versatile athletes, so that should help speed up the process,” Dakopolos said. “We have some good all-around athletes and we are very excited about our group of middle-distance runners.”

Leading the way for the Nitros will be sprinter Lauren Hansen in the 400 and 800 and Leana Setian in the 1,600 and 3,200. Kenya Gaskin will participate in the 100 and 200. Cecile Le Duff is expected to take part in the 400, 800 and the 300 low hurdles.

At Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, the Tologs will feature a quartet of prominent athletes.

Returning for Flintridge Sacred Heart will be Noëlle Niederhaus in the 800 and 1,600, Hailey James in the hurdles and Daelyn Moon and Kayla Montgomery in the 400 and relays.

Gorton said the Tologs will aim for a top-three finish in the Mission league.

“We have a little larger team than we’ve had in the last few years,” Gorton said. “It’s going to be about trying to fill some spots and seeing where we are able to go from there. With Noëlle, we’ve set some lofty goals. One of them is to get her to state.”

Hoover is seeking to add some depth to a lineup that will include a talented trio of distance runners in Lucik Minassian, Samantha Bernardo and Megan Mirkhanian. Each will participate in the 1,600- and 3,200 races.

Tyra Williams will be the Tornadoes’ top sprinter for coach Jack Sallakian.

“We have a little bit more turnout,” Sallakian said. “Some of them have never run track before, so it will be interesting to see how they learn and then perform.

“We want them to gain experience and try to build a foundation.”

Hoover will not host any meets this season because the track and football field are undergoing major renovations.

Ernest Siy will be the new coach at Holy Family. The Gaels’ top three athletes are sprinter Natalia Neris, Angelica Rodriguez in the 800 and 1,600 and Erica Serrano in the shot put.

“It’s my first year, so it’s a learning process,” said Siy, who also serves as the school’s cross-country basketball coach and athletic director. “We are learning together and trying to be competitive.

“Natalia is a super athlete. We see her as a good role model for our younger athletes. On paper, she’s in contention for a league title in one or two events.”

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