Michael Davis, Megan Melnyk, Caleb Simmeth advance to Masters

WALNUT — While Saturday afternoon marked the conclusion of the season for the majority of local competitors, Glendale High’s Michael Davis, Crescenta Valley’s Megan Melnyk and St. Francis’ Caleb Simmeth proved themselves masters of advancing at the CIF Southern Section Divisional Track and Field Championships at Mt. San Antonio College.

All three competitors qualified to the following week’s Masters Meet at Cerritos College by posting a qualifying finish.

Maybe there was no surprise that Davis, a state qualifier, would advance in the 200-meter run.

The BYU-bound senior recovered from a disappointing effort in the 100 by finishing second in Division I in the 200 with a mark of 21.39 seconds.

“I just got a better start this time,” Davis said. “I got off the blocks really quick and was able to run.”

Davis bested his divisional time of 21.40 from last season and took runner-up to Upland sophomore Myles Valentine (21.06) in the division, while finishing fourth overall.

Davis had hoped to advance to Masters in two events, but had a rough start out of the block in the 100 and did not recover in taking fourth overall in 10.77, well off his seeded mark of 10.59.

“I didn’t start well,” Davis said of his 100. “There’s nothing really else to say.”

Perhaps it’s fair to say that both Melnyk’s and Simmeth’s advancements were pleasant surprises.

The Falcons’ sophomore shaved more than three seconds of her seeded mark in the Division I 800-meter run in finishing fourth with a personal-record mark of 2 minutes, 13.34 seconds.

“This is what I’ve wanted all season, this was the goal,” Melnyk said. “I’ve work hard to get down my personal record and to advance to Masters and I can’t believe I did.”

Melnyk was in seventh after the first turn, but overtook three competitors during the final 300 meters in finishing fourth overall.

“I knew I had to go with 300 meters left and was going to give it everything,” Melnyk added.

As for Simmeth, the Golden Knights’ hurdler was in limbo after finishing fourth in the Division III 110-meter hurdles in a personal record of 14.63 seconds.

“My PR is what I got last week, which was 14.73, so I’m really excited to set that record here,” Simmeth said. “I’m not sure if it’s good enough to move on, but I’ve really had some good runs in the 110 the last couple of weeks and I’m proud of this.”

It would nearly be an hour later until Simmeth knew he advanced as the last and final qualifier in taking ninth overall.

Simmeth was unable to double his pleasure in the 300 hurdles, though, taking seventh in Division III in 39.13.

Like Simmeth, Crescenta Valley’s Gabe Collison waited to hear his fate after finishing fifth in the Division I 3,200-meter run in 9:23.16.

Collison had run in the combo Division I and IV race with the likes of champion runners Juan Gonzalez of El Toro and Daniel De La Torre of La Salle.

Collison found himself in between both runners midway through the race before eventually finishing fifth.

“It was a slow race and those guys know how to run negative splits and that might have hurt me,” said Collison, who did not advance to Masters. “At least I gave it my all.”

Flintridge Prep’s Alan Yoho also took part in the 3,200 and capped an impressive day by taking third in Division IV in 9:33.54.

Previously, Yoho finished second in the Division IV 1,600 in 4:16.60, which was a personal record. Even though the reigning Prep League Field MVP didn’t advance to Masters, there wasn’t too much disappointment.

“I hit PRs in both my events, so I can’t be too disappointed,” Yoho said. “My next goal for next year is to make it to Masters.”

Flintridge Prep senior West Nowotny capped his high school career with a silver in the Division IV shot put with a mark of 49 feet, 11 1/2 inches. Nowotny was runner-up to Serra junior Jeremy Franklin (53-06 3/4).

Flintridge Prep sophomore Barrett Weiss concluded his season with a third-place effort in the boys’ Division IV pole vault in hitting 13 feet, while Flintridge Sacred Heart’s 1,600-meter relay team took home the bronze in the Division IV competition (3:57.92).

The Tologs’ 400-meter team finished fifth in the Division IV race (50.34), the Falcons’ 4x400-meter girls’ relay team notched sixth in the Division I competition (3:54.27), Crescenta Valley’s Kayleigh Carrillo took seventh in the Division I 400 (57.41), Flintridge Prep junior Kate Evans earned seventh in the Division IV 1,600 (5:25.67), Tologs senior Madzie MacVaugh finished tied for eighth in the Division IV high jump (4-11) and the duo of Flintridge Prep’s Elias Ellison (sixth, 1:59.62) and Tyler Fong (ninth, 2:02.52) capped the local action in the Division IV 800.

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