Locals eager for first gun

GLENDALE — From sprints to relays and jumps to vaults, the five local boys' track and field teams appear to have their bases covered.

With the first starter's pistol set to go off Thursday, the athletes are ready to step to the starting line and hunt down a league championship and qualify for the CIF division finals.

To get there, they must first get through an assortment of nonleague and league meets and invitationals.

Each team will soon find out where they stand.

At Crescenta Valley, the Falcons appear to once again have a balanced team with sprinter/jumpers Parker Averill, a junior, and senior Bryan Yaung in the mix. Also back are junior James Maturan in the 400-meter event, junior distance runner Michael Duncan, senior Levi Walker in jumps and relays and senior high jumper Andrew Roide.

Roide, a senior, won his second Pacific League championship in a row last season with a mark of 6 feet 6.

With many upperclassmen on the team, Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Evans would like for them to provide leadership.

"I think we can have a solid group," Evans said. "We want our returners to set an example for the younger guys who have had success at the lower levels."

Glendale lost some key athletes to graduation. However, the Nitros don't expect to be short on talent and will return sophomore sprinter Mike Davis.

Davis won a Pacific League title in the 200 (22.16) after placing second in the 100 (10.80).

Joining Davis will be sprinters Paul Archer, a senior, and junior Jeffrey Massin. The distance runners are junior Chris Canlas and senior Eric Amezquita. The field events will be led by jumpers Justin Belen, a senior, and junior Hrair Oganesian.

"We took a bit of a hit in the distances due to graduation, but we are improving over last year in other areas," Glendale Coach Bob Bailey said. "We return our top scoring sprinters of Davis, Archer, and Massin with the goal of keeping them healthy unlike late last year.

"They have put in a lot of work in the offseason and I cannot wait to see what they do this year."

Flintridge Prep should again have a talented cast of distance runners. Most of them helped the boys' cross-country team recapture the Prep League championship before finishing third at the CIF Southern Section Division V finals and fourth at the CIF State Meet at Woodward Park in Fresno in November.

Among the distance runners expected to lead the way are senior Jason Bunn and junior Eli Weinstein. The Rebels figure to be a bit deeper in other events, including junior Tyler Shum in the sprints and jumps, senior Jesse Redding in the 400 and 800 and senior Sam Cook in the discus and shot put.

"We have a small team in terms of numbers, but we will have good performances," Flintridge Prep Coach Nick Ponticello said.

St. Francis will again be a part of the ultra-competitive Mission League.

The Golden Knights will return several key athletes, including senior distance runner Kyle Palazzolo, senior hurdler TJ Tree and junior jumper/sprinter James Knowles.

St. Francis Coach Pat Donovan will look to further shape the team's identity with a few additional athletes. Among those are sprinters Scott Mele, a senior, and junior Marshall Tush.

"We are trying to base how we do off what we did last season," Donovan said. "We hope that we are strong in our first meet [against Harvard-Westlake].

"The Mission League will be as tough as ever. I'd be happy if we went 3-3, and I'd be elated if we can go 4-2."

Hoover should have a good mix of experienced athletes, especially in sprints. The main sprinters figure to be seniors Alex Mikhailpoor and Asher Landau and junior Cory Trevino.

They will be joined by junior distance runners Paul Ingram and Sasha Mikhailpoor and sophomore Jeremy Zadoorian.

"Our distance runners are very determined," said Hoover Coach Jack Sallakian.

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