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Boys’ Athlete of the Year: Crescenta Valley’s Dylan Wilbur paced himself to track, cross-country success

Photo Gallery: Pacific League cross country finals at Crescenta Valley Community Regional Park
Crescenta Valley’s Dylan Wilbur advanced to state competition in cross-country and track and field during the 2018-19 campaign.
(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

Dylan Wilbur’s tenacity at the end of distance races proved to be a difference-maker time and time again.

The Crescenta Valley junior’s timing and patience showed in cross-country championship races, and his stamina played a huge part in track and field events during the season.

That is what helped Wilbur play a major role in the Falcons repeating as Pacific League champions in cross-country and aided him in advancing to state competition. In addition, he earned his first appearance at the CIF State Track and Field Championships, where he won a CIF Southern Section Division I crown to go along with a pair of league titles.

Arguably one of Crescenta Valley High’s finest athletes can now add the title of 2018-19 Glendale News-Press Boys’ Athlete of the Year to his accolades, as a result of his efforts in track and field and cross-country during a memorable junior campaign.

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Wilbur’s success started in the fall at the Pacific League final in cross-country. The junior finished second behind teammate and league champion Manan Vats to help the Falcons clinch their second consecutive league championship.

Wilbur clocked 15 minutes, 37.8 seconds and Vats finished in 15:27.8, as the Falcons bested Arcadia, 27-48, to capture the league title.

The duo followed with a berth for Crescenta Valley in the CIF Southern Section Division I Cross-Country Championships, where Wilbur was Crescenta Valley’s top finisher with a 12th-place time of 14:51.6 seconds.

What followed was a stellar track and field season for Wilbur. At the Pacific League finals, he defended his 800-meter title with a personal-best finish of 1:54.73, to go along with a victory in the 1,600 in 4:21.94.

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Wilbur then rewired his mind to focus on the CIF Southern Section Division I Championships, where the junior was the lone athlete to represent Crescenta Valley at El Camino College. He made use of his time there and clocked a 4:12.31 in the 1,600 win the Division I title.

In the race, He drifted away from the pack of runners in the final two laps of the event to win his first division championship and qualify for the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet.

“I knew that I had the leg speed,” said Wilbur after the Division I race. “I knew that as long as I was in it with 400 to go, I’ll have it. I just knew I could the last 400. I’m glad I did.”

In the Masters Meet, Wilbur placed fourth in the 1,600 in 4:12.78 to qualify for the 101st CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High’s Veterans Memorial Stadium. The junior put up a fine effort in the final lap to move up one spot from fifth place and qualify for his first-ever state competition.

Wilbur followed his Masters Meet effort a week later and became the first Crescenta Valley male athlete to score in the 1,600 at the CIF State Track and Field Championships since the distance converted to the mile in 1980. He placed eighth in 4:14.56.

“I’m very proud because I feel like I accomplished what I wanted to this track season, which was to put my name on the map as somebody to look out for,” said Wilbur after his race at the CIF State Track and Field Championships. “I feel like anybody can have a cross-country season like I did, but I feel like it’s a different story to be able to replicate that in track, and it’s my full intention to continue doing that.”

Wilbur sped past three runners in the final 300 meters to grab the last scoring position and finish as one of six Southern Section athletes to place in the top 10 runners in state.

“I tried to put it all on the line, and now looking back, there’s obviously some things I would have done differently, given the fact that I would have liked to have placed better, but at the same time, I have to be happy with how I did,” Wilbur said following the race.


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