NORWALK — St. Francis High's James Knowles arrived at Cerritos College for Friday night's CIF Southern Section Track and Field Masters Meet brimming with great expectations.
He had earlier navigated his way through the ultra-competitive Mission League and straight through the CIF Division Finals to get to a point in the season where neither had previously ventured.
Knowles left the venue with mixed emotions after he didn't qualify for the CIF State Meet in Clovis.
Knowles clocked 38.71 seconds to finish eighth in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.
Knowles, the first Golden Knight to participate in the Masters Meet since Andrew Steben competed in the pole vault in 2006, needed a top-five mark or to meet the qualifying standard time of 38.26 to advance to the state meet.
Unfortunately for Knowles, it didn't occur.
Knowles, who won a Mission League championship in the 110- and 300-hurdles, said he had the quality start he had sought. However, the junior encountered difficulty near the halfway point of the race after successfully clearing the first five hurdles before running out of steam and consequently falling toward the back of the pack.
"This time, it was probably the greatest start that I had ever had," said Knowles, who was an alternate in the 110 high hurdles Friday. "The last 100-150 meters were the toughest for me.
"I was a bit nervous coming in, but I knew I was here for a good reason. It's a great experience for me competing in my biggest meet.
"I see a lot of potential for me leading into next year. This meet has allowed me to progress."
Jonathan Cabral of Agoura clocked 36.19 to win the event, followed by Mater Dei's Charles Michinock (37.66).