Crescenta Valley High track and field opens Pacific League cluster meet with wins over Burbank, Hoover

LA CRESCENTA — In a Pacific League track and field cluster meet that was more rust-shaker than showdown, host Crescenta Valley High showed off its depth and may have signaled its intent for a title run after sweeping Burbank and Hoover on Thursday afternoon.

PHOTOS: Dual track meet between Crescenta Valley, Burbank, and Hoover

The Falcons’ boys defeated runner-up Burbank, 72-64, while the girls’ fended off the Bulldogs, 78-71. Both squads handled Hoover by 100-plus point margins.

“Our goal is to win a league championship, but today, at least for me, it was about just getting back to running,” said Falcons junior Megan Melnyk, who competed in the 1,600-meter run, 800 and 1,600-meter relay. “I don’t want to put pressure on myself to match my best times from last year right now because that will only mess me up.”

Melnyk, a CIF Southern Section Masters qualifier in the 800, took home a pair of individual victories in the 800, in 2 minutes, 23 seconds, and in the 1,600 (5:17.5), as she held off cross-country rival Candela Fernandez (5:20.5) of Burbank.

While Melnyk didn’t receive as strong a challenge in the 800, she was back and forth with the Bulldogs’ sophomore in the 1,600, as each was at the other’s hip through the first 2 1/2 laps before Melnyk started to separate.

Melnyk’s victory in the both the 800 and 1,600 weren’t a surprise nor was the all-around dominant effort from Burbank football standout James Williams.

The junior won three events and had a fourth victory taken away when his 400-relay team lost due to a violation.

Nonetheless, the setback hardly stopped Williams, who drew the oohs and ahhs from the crowd when he won the 100-meter dash in 11.22.

“My goal today was just to get first in everything,” said Williams, who then quietly won both the long jump (19 feet, 8 inches) and the triple jump (40-8). “By the end of the season, I’d love to beat both the triple jump and long jump school records and think I can do it.”

Williams was one of a few multiple-event winners for the Bulldogs and was joined by senior Andy Hurtado and sophomore Josh Cantong.

Hurtado was in a class all his own, as the thrower cruised to victories in the shot put (42-9) and discus (156-11), while Cantong used Thursday’s meet as a league-coming-out party, as the sprinter won both the 200 (22.62) and 400 (50.65).

Perhaps the most boisterous victory came from the pole vault pit, as Bulldogs senior Chris Miranda outlasted teammate Andres Pulgarin, 13-6 to 13.

“I went 14-3 [at the CIF Southern Section Division I preliminaries last season] and my ultimate goal is to take down the school record,” said Miranda, who howled after clearing the bar on his final attempt at 13-6. “The record is 14-9 and it was set in 1982 before I was born, so that would be great to break.”

Maybe no one on the girls’ side proved as versatile Thursday as was Crescenta Valley senior Kayleigh Carrillo, who competed in four events.

Carrillo took home wins in the 200 (25.34), 400 (58.59) and was the anchor in the Falcons’ victorious 1,600-meter relay squad (4:05.9).

“It was good here and the wind was beautiful,” Carrillo said. “Overall, it was about getting out fast today and we did that.”

Burbank’s Julia Newton was also a dual victor Thursday in taking home a track and field event by clinching the 100 (12.10) and the pole vault (8-6).

Other girls’ winners were Crescenta Valley’s Sarah Lapides in the 100 hurdles (17.16), Grace Keller in the 300 hurdles (49.31), Emmie Walker in the high jump (5-2) and Claire Schlueter in the long jump (14-10) along with Burbank’s Fernandez in the 3,200 (11:50.3), Elizabeth Sanchez in the triple jump (29-4), Kynlee Vuncannon in the shot put (30-11) and Yaneli Medina in the discus (82-4), while the Burbank 400 relay squad won in 49.4.

As for the guys, Crescenta Valley’s Gabe Collison clinched the 1,600 (4:28), Matt Manalo claimed the 800 (1:58.9) and the Falcons’ 400-relay team was victorious in 46.22.

Burbank’s boys delivered additional wins, as Dev Patel won the 110 hurdles (15.91), Jonathan Afzali won the 300 hurdles (42.25), Gabriel Ellman took home the 3,200 (9:40), Trevor Stang clinched the high jump (5-10) and the Bulldogs’ 1,600-meter relay team was triumphant in 3:29.81.

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