Plenty on the line for locals

After enjoying big performances at the CIF Southern Section track and field division prelims, a handful of local athletes will converge on Mount San Antonio College to participate in the division finals.

There will be plenty at stake for each contestant, beginning with trying to record qualifying marks today at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut to advance to the Masters Meet.

Field events will begin at 11 a.m. and running events will kick off at 1 p.m.

James Knowles of St. Francis High will take part in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles in the Division III race. Knowles, the reigning All-Area Boys' Track and Field Athlete of the Year and the reigning Mission League champion in each race, enters today's competition fresh off winning his heat in the 300 hurdles with a personal-record time of 38.12 seconds, which was third-fastest across the board, at the prelims on May 12. He also advanced in the 110 hurdles, placing second in his heat with the fourth-best time of the day (14.55).

"The division will be tough, based on the times from last week," St. Francis Coach Pat Donovan said. "He will have to have the races of his life to win both events.

"The goal is to get him to Masters and then to state."

Knowles advanced to the Masters Meet in the 300 last season and was an alternate in the 110.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Flintridge Prep will have plenty of representation in the Division IV competition.

Flintridge Sacred Heart will have a pair of individuals and a relay team compete.

Noëlle Niederhaus will take part in the 800 after finishing fifth in the prelims (2:18.42). She will be joined by Caroline Treinen, who tied for seventh in the pole vault (9 feet 6 inches). The Tologs' 4x400 relay team of Stephanie Vargas, Drew Washington, Daelyn Moon and Kayla Montgomery will also participate after placing fourth in the prelims in 4:05.92.

"We are keeping our fingers crossed that we can get some people to Masters," Sacred Heart Coach Eddie Gorton said. "We are trying to finish up strong."

Flintridge Prep will feature a lineup that includes Gareth Weiss, Barrett Weiss, James Bradley and West Nowotny.

Gareth Weiss tied for the top qualifying mark of 12 feet in the pole vault at the prelims, while Barrett Weiss grabbed the ninth and final qualifying spot (11-6). Bradley was third in his heat and seventh fastest to earn qualification in the 800 (2:00.74). Nowotny registered a personal-best mark of 48-11 to place third in the shot put.

The Rebels will have one girls participant in Kate Kennedy, who took eighth in the prelims in the 300 hurdles (46.08). Kennedy qualified in the division finals last season in the race, finishing fourth (45.39).

"For Kate, it's going to be about her going for a major time in trying to get under 44 seconds," Flintridge Prep Coach Nick Ponticello said. "It will probably be a tight race.

"With the boys, they've been doing better with each meet. I think they can continue to show great improvement."

The top nine finishers from each race except the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 advance to the Masters Meet on May 25 at Cerritos College regardless of division. The top 12 from the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 qualify for the Masters Meet. The top 12 from the field events also move on to the Masters Meet.

Glendale and Crescenta Valley will have one male athlete apiece take part in the Division I final. Michael Davis of Glendale will participate in the 100 and 200 and Crescenta Valley's Josh Strachewski will participate in the 110 hurdles.

At the prelims, Davis, the reigning Pacific League champion in both races, took first in the 100 (10.67) and fourth in the 200 (21.58). Strachewski qualified for the finals with an eighth-place finish in the 110 hurdles (14.89).

Glendale Coach Bob Bailey said Davis has an opportunity to reach the Masters Meet in the 100.

"He's been working on his starts," Bailey said. "I think he's got a pretty good shot at advancing in the 100, but the 200 might be tight based on being in Division I.

"It's about getting over this hurdle and getting to Masters."

Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Evans said Strachewski, who won Pacific League titles in the 110 and 300 hurdles, will look to reduce his mark.

"In the prelims, that was his first time under 15 seconds," Evans said. "That's huge and he's peaking.

"He's got a shot to go a little faster and finish higher. The goal will be a top-five finish. You never know what can happen after that."

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