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Samvalian made her shot count

July 28, 2010|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com | Samvalian made her shot count

Though she had no direct experience in the art of shot putting, Melanie Samvalian didn't let it deter her from learning.

Coaxed into giving it a try two years ago, Samvalian stepped into the throwing circle for the first time and developed an immediate appreciation. It turned out Samvalian, a member of the Crescenta Valley High girls' track and field team, made the right choice.

"I took the ball for the first time and threw it," Samvalian said. "I didn't even know the fundamentals of it, but I learned real quick about how you have to throw it far.

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"I knew it would be for me."

Samvalian evolved into one of the top shot putters in the area and Southern California during the past two seasons. She turned in some masterful feats, starting by winning a pair of Pacific League championships and capped by a steady fourth-place finish in the CIF Southern Section Division I final at Cerritos College in May.

Samvalian more than held her own. Whether during a league meet, an invitation or at a CIF final, Samvalian proved she could rise to any challenge presented to her.

"I had a lot of confidence in myself that I could do well," said Samvalian, who put an exclamation point on her senior season with a personal-best and school-record mark of 38 feet 6 inches at the CIF Division I final on May 22 and is the 2010 All-Area Girls' Track and Field Athlete of the Year, as voted on by the sportswriters and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun. "I wanted to get past league and I knew that I had to work extra hard at the big meets and CIF and prove to people that I could get the job done.

"It's not an easy event because you have to have quickness and you have to get the technique down."

Samvalian, who earlier this year helped the school's girls' varsity team advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2001, spent extra time with Crescenta Valley track and field Coach Mark Evans and his assistants further comprehending the basics.

The additional time spent inside the circle paid major dividends. Samvalian won the league title in the shot put last season with a mark of 32-1 3/4 and maintained her grip on the crown with a mark of 37-10 1/2 at this season's league final on May 7 at Glendale High's Moyse Field.

"I always wanted to get better," Samvalian said. "It took a lot of practice with the coaches, and, if it weren't for them, I wouldn't have been able to get where I'm at."

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