Locals punch tickets to CIF division finals

GLENDALE — After getting through the first hurdle of competing for league supremacy, a slew of local track and field athletes took to the next stage.

More than 30 area athletes took part in the CIF Southern Section prelims from Orange to Santa Barbara counties to try to qualify for the CIF Finals on Saturday.

Fourteen made the cut to advance to the CIF finals, which will take place Saturday at Cerritos College in Norwalk.

Flintridge Sacred Heart will have five athletes scheduled to participate in the Division IV finals. The Tologs started their day in style at Carpinteria High, as Stephanie Vargas, Noëlle Niederhaus, Daelyn Moon and Drew Washington set a school record in the 4x100-meter relay in 49.85 seconds for an overall finish of seventh place. Vargas won her heat in the 400-meter race with the fifth-fastest time of 58.35 seconds. Washington placed eighth overall in the 400 (59.73). Freshman Rebecca Armstrong clocked 2 minutes 25.06 seconds to take ninth overall in the 800.

"That started the day off real well setting the school record," Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Mario Aguilar said. "Everybody, in all of our events, ran to their potential and we are moving on as a group."

Glendale saw standout sophomore sprinter Mike Davis qualify in a pair of Division I individual events at Trabuco Hills High, as well as helping the Nitros' 4x400 relay team advance. Davis won his heat (fourth overall) in the 200 with a personal-best mark of 21.65, which is the third fastest in school history. He took eighth overall in the 100 (10.92).

In addition, Davis teamed with Paul Archer, Dillon Fuller and Jeffrey Massin for a personal-best mark of 3:22.93 in the 4x400 relay, good for eighth overall.

"Mike looked real good in the 200," Glendale Coach Bob Bailey said. "We expected a close race, but he won fairly easy."

From Burroughs, Austin Allen and Justice Shank qualified in Division I. Allen had a mark of 14 feet 3 inches in the pole vault. He was one of nine vaulters who cleared 14-3 to move on.

Shank had a leap of 5-3 in the high jump. Shank was one of six who cleared 5-1 on her first attempt to advance.

"I was talking to [Burroughs sprinting coach] Mike Ortega and he said that was the most focused and confident he had seen Austin," Burroughs Coach John Peebles said. "He went out there and did his work and showed what perseverance can do.

"With Justice, she did good. She didn't go as high as she wanted to. Hopefully at CIF, she can thrive with the competition."

In the Division III prelims at Estancia High, St. Francis' James Knowles excelled in the 110 and 300 hurdles. Knowles won both of his heats, finishing third overall in the 110 with a personal-best time of 14.64. He clocked 39.91 in the 300.

"He had a solid start in the 110 and turned it on in the second half of that race," St. Francis Coach Pat Donovan said. "In the 300, he struggled with the first hurdle before finishing strong."

Burbank's McKenzie Paul qualified in Division I. In the 800, she ran 2:14.30 for third in her heat and eighth overall. In the 1,600, she ran 5:05.51 for third in her heat and 11th overall. She is the second alternate in the 1,600.

Flintridge Prep's Kate Kennedy, a freshman, was the lone Rebel to qualify in the Division IV competition. Kennedy clocked a personal-best time of 46.32 to take fifth overall in the 300 hurdles.

No Crescenta Valley or Holy Family athletes qualified for the Division I and IV finals, respectively.

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