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Crescenta Valley picks up pair of bronze efforts at Arcadia Invitational

Track and field: Falcons finish third in two events, while St. Francis and Flintridge Sacred Heart also compete at 46th annual track meet.

April 06, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • Crescenta Valley High's Megan Melnyk, center, and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's Noelle Neiderhaus, right, compete in the 800-meter race at the Arcadia Invitational.
Crescenta Valley High's Megan Melnyk, center,… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

ARCADIA — While there were no local victories to boast of at Saturday’s 46th annual Arcadia Track and Field Invitational, there were still a few standout efforts.

Crescenta Valley High led the way, as the Falcons picked up a couple of bronze medals in different relay competitions.

The Falcons boys’ distance medley squad picked up the program’s first third-place finish in the race that begins with a 1,200-meter run, followed by 400- and 800-meter legs, and concluding with a 1,600-meter distance run.

Crescenta Valley’s order began with junior Nick Beatty, followed by senior Alex Damla and juniors Matt Manalo and Gabe Collison.

“Arcadia is pretty insane. I came into this not knowing what it was going to be like,” Manalo said. “One friend told me this was one of the fastest meets in the U.S. and it was.”

Once in fifth place, the Falcons moved up to second by the time Manalo handed off to Collison before taking third in 10 minutes, 35.29 seconds.

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“Sometimes sprinters and distance runners are at odds. So, I love this race because it brings us together. It’s a real team-building race,” said Collison, who took sixth in the rated 3,200 race Friday night in 9:18.99.

As for teams, the Falcons girls’ 1,600-meter relay squad of Megan Melnyk, Courtney Iannello, Emmie Walker and Kayleigh Carrillo ran in the final local race with one goal in mind.

“We just wanted to get under four minutes,” Iannello said. “That’s all we were thinking about.”

The Falcons quarter did just that, racing to a third-place finish in the second heat with a time of 3:59.26, which was good for ninth overall out of 34 participants.

Of the foursome, Melnyk and Carrillo put in extra work as Carrillo finished eighth in her heat of the 200-meter dash (26.08) and Melnyk finished seventh in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:16.26, which was good for eighth overall.

“I just tried to stay hydrated before my races and run my hardest,” Melnyk said.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy’s Noelle Niederhaus was 13th in that same 800 competition in finishing in 2:18.68.

If it weren’t for St. Francis junior Eric Knowles, the Glendale area would have been devoid of field competitors.

Knowles took part in the second flight of the boys’ open triple jump and finished fifth in 43 feet, 3.5 inches.

That distance was good for fifth in his bracket and 12th overall.

Knowles was one three Golden Knights who competed Saturday.

St. Francis’ duo of David Polchow and Ross Niederhaus, who both qualified to Arcadia via Friday’s Tiger Invite, finished eighth (11.42) and ninth (11.57), respectively, in the first heat of the open 100-meter dash.

“The Arcadia Invitational is unbelievable,” Ross Niederhaus said. “I stumbled out of the blocks to start, but this was a great experience and I’ll still have chances at other meets coming up.”

Previous to running in the distance medley, Beatty competed individually in the 800 and took 11th in his heat in 1:59.26.

Beatty was part of Crescenta Valley’s 4x1,600 relay team that competed Friday night and finished eighth in 18:13.73.

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