Local track and field competitors look to shine at CIF Southern Section Division Finals

Qualifying to Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Track and Field Divisional Championships at Mt. San Antonio College required the local entrants who earned such advancement to turn in very good results at last weekend’s divisional prelims all over Southern California.

This weekend, however, the bar will be raised from very good to exceptional.

Of course, that’s to be expected as divisional championships and CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet berths are on the line with the trip to Cerritos College available for the top 12 finishers in the 800-meter, 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs and top nine in every other event.

Maybe no area athlete enters with higher expectations and subsequently more pressure than does Glendale High senior sprinter Michael Davis.

The BYU-bound athlete is scheduled to run first in the Division I 100-meter dash at 3:35 p.m., followed by the 200 sprint at 4:20.

It’s been an interesting year for Davis, who has skipped some of the premiere track events, such as the Arcadia and Mt. San Antonio College invitationals, while some of his best marks have been hand times at Pacific League meets.

Yet, there’s confidence in Davis’ camp.

“He’s been up and down this season and maybe I would be worried if not for this week,” Nitros first-year Coach Andrew Dakopolos said. “But this week, he’s worked extremely hard and he’s been as focused this week as I’ve ever seen him. He’s ready.”

Davis, the Pacific League champ in both events, finished runner-up at last week’s divisional prelims at Trabuco Hills High to Upland sophomore Miles Valentine (10.36 seconds) in the 100 with a mark of 10.59. Miles (21.05) also topped a third-place Davis (21.41) in the 200.

Last year, Davis was the lone regional athlete to advance past the divisional championships, placing third in the 200 (21.40), but missing the cut with the 12th-best mark in the 100 (10.76).

While Davis constitutes the contingent of athletes from Glendale, he’ll be joined by a group of competitors from league rival Crescenta Valley.

The Falcons are bringing five runners, led by dual threats Kayleigh Carrillo and Megan Melnyk.

Carrillo is slated for the Division I 400-meter race at 2:55 and is coming off a third-place effort at the prelims in a mark of 56.95. As for Melnyk, she goes in the 800 at 3:50 after taking seventh (2:16.63) at prelims.

“I’m not as concerned with times this week as I am with staying with the pack,” Falcons Coach Mark Evans said. “If you’re able to stay with the pack, then you’re probably going to advance.”

Both Melnyk and Carrillo join Courtney Iannello and Emmie Walker in the girls’ 4x400 (6:05 p.m.), while junior Gabe Collison is scheduled for the 3,200-meter run at 5:35.

Flintridge Prep is the third of five schools to advance a participant to the divisional champions, as the Rebels are represented by Alan Yoho, West Nowotny, Barrett Weiss, Elias Ellison, Kate Evans and Miah Webb.

Yoho is both a qualifier in the Division IV 1,600 and 3,200 runs after finishing third (4:20.8) and sixth (9:35.58) in each event at last week’s prelims at Carpinteria.

“I know I’m a new guy, but I’ve been here for five years and I’ve never had someone qualify in both events,” Rebels Coach Nick Ponticello said. “It’s exciting to have such a big group going.”

Weiss advanced in the pole vault with a mark of 12 feet and will likely have to surpass 12-9 to advance in the 10:30 a.m. event, Ponticello said.

Nowotny is entered in the shot put, while Evans will compete in the 1,600-meter run at 1:35, Webb will run in the 400 at 2:55 and Ellison is set for the 800 at 4.

Flintridge Sacred Heart and St. Francis are also looking to excel at the divisional championships, as Golden Knights senior Caleb Smith is entered in both the Division III 110-meter hurdles (14.73) at 2:40 and the 300 hurdles (39.18) at 4:15 p.m.

The Tologs’ Kayla Montgomery will compete in the 400 (58.48) at 2:55, while Madzie McVaugh will take her chance in the high jump (5 feet) at 11 a.m. and will be joined by the 400-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams.

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