Making Masters proves tall hurdle

St. Francis High’s James Knowles participates in the 110-meter hurdles at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Saturday.
(Raul Roa, Glendale News Press)

WALNUT — An approximate distance from the city of La Cañada to Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, site of Saturday’s CIF Southern Section track and field Divisional Finals, is 36 miles.

The distance, however, between La Cañada and Cerritos College, the venue for Friday’s Masters Meet, proved certainly much farther.

Of a total of eight local athletes who ventured out to the divisional finals, not one advanced to the following week’s Masters Meet, the elite track and field competition within the Southern Section.

Saturday was indeed an elimination fest, impacting even some of the area’s top athletes.


St. Francis High senior James Knowles, who dreamed about earning a double qualification to Masters, survived in neither his 110- or 300-meter hurdles competition.

The day started off with some difficulties for Knowles, who entered with the fourth-best seeded time of 14.55 seconds in the Division III 110 hurdles, but struggled to a seventh-place finish in 15.11 and finished outside the final nine who moved onto Masters.

“I hit that first hurdle and I just had trouble getting back,” a disappointed Knowles said. “There was a little bit of a tail wind, but this is frustrating because you work hard to get here and then this happens.”

Knowles was unable to recover in the 300 hurdles, where he finished off his seeded time of 38.12 with a mark of 38.16, which also missed the nine-person cut.


Despite the setback, there was some good local news in Division IV, where the brothers duo of Gareth and Barrett Weiss both broke personal bests in tying for a championship with vaults of 12 feet 9 inches.

“Any time you win, it’s special,” said Barrett, who entered with a personal-best mark of 12-6.

“I still can’t really believe it, we were just trying to do our best and I didn’t expect this,” said Gareth, whose best prior to Saturday was 12 feet.

Unfortunately, the mark of 12-9 did not qualify the duo to the Masters Meet.

Rebels junior West Nowotny continued a small, but strong day for the Flintridge Prep boys.

A week after hitting a personal-best throw of 48-11 at the Division IV prelims, Nowotny followed up with a respectable third-place toss of 47-10.

Flintridge Prep senior James Bradley was also sixth in the Division IV 800, running in a time of 1:59.10.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy’s Caroline Treinen capped her senior season with a fifth-place finish in the Division IV pole vault with a leap of 9 feet, slightly behind her prelims effort of 9-6.


Saturday also marked the end of the road for Tologs’ junior Noelle Niederhaus, who finished sixth (2:18.10) in the Division IV 800.

Flintridge Prep’s Kate Kennedy entered her Division III 300-meter hurdles event with the third-best time and finished fifth in the event in 45.64.

No team results were available at time of publication.