Track: McClain, Price highlight tonight’s Masters

MASTERS RESULTS: For up to the minute results of tonight’s Masters, click here.

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
he difference in track and field practices around the San Gabriel Valley this week has been a matter of numbers. Two weeks ago, high school facilities were filled with hundreds of athletes training in earnest. That number was down to 20 this week and will dwindle to probably no more than a handful after tonight, when athletes who had top-nine running times or top-12 field-event marks in last weekend’s CIF-SS Finals will compete in the Masters Meet at Cerritos College. Field events are scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m., with running events beginning at 5:30. In addition to the top five finishers in each event, those who better a preset standard in their event will also earn a berth in next weekend’s two-day CIF State meet, to be held at Buchanan High in Clovis, just northeast of Fresno. (To continue click thread)

Five area athletes – Zibby Boyer of Pasadena Poly, Remontay McClain of Covina High School, Ammar Moussa of Arcadia, and Sam Pons and Kylie Price of Bishop Amat – are seeking to make return trips to the state meet. McClain won the 100- and 200-meter titles last year, and Pons won the 3,200 title.

Nearly all involved said that despite having fewer people to train with this week, their daily workouts remained unchanged.

“I will practice the same as I have every other week,” said the UCLA-bound Boyer, the state’s co-leader in the high jump at 5 feet, 8 inches. “That’s heavy jumping the first two days and then lighter the last two days.”

Amat’s Price will be the busiest athlete tonight. She’s entered in three events: the 100, 200 and long jump. Last year, she was second in the state in the long jump and sixth in the 100.

The UCLA-bound senior has the state’s fastest wind-legal time in the 100, 11.75. She ran a 24.31 in the CIF-SS finals in the 200 for the sixth seed. She’s the No. 4 seed in the long jump, with a season-best jump of a wind-aided 19-10

McClain, Pons, La Salle’s Itohan Aikhionbare, San Marino’s Ohmunique Browne, St. Francis’ James Knowles and San Dimas’ Katherine Salcido could compete in two events. Pons, however, said he won’t run in the 1,600, concentrating instead on the 3,200. Browne is running in the 300 hurdles and is an alternate in the 100. Knowles is scheduled to run in the 300 hurdles and is an alternate in the 110 high hurdles.

McClain has the nation’s second-fastest wind-legal time in the 100, 10.31. He has the nation’s top time in the 200 – 20.68. At last year’s state meet, the Azusa Pacific-bound senior had the nation’s fastest time in the 100, winning in 10.45, and one of fastest times in the nation in the 200, 20.85.

“I keep saying over and over again to get out of my blocks,” said McClain, who wants to run a 10.1. “This year my block start is better and that is the key. It is my big concern.”

McClain will face longtime rival and friend Beejay Lee of West Covina in the 200. Lee qualified fifth and has a season-best time of 21.00.

For the third consecutive year, Pons and Moussa will be trying to successfully advance in the 3,200. Both won division titles last week. This season, Moussa, who’s going to Colorado, has run a state-best time of 8:49.59. Pons has yet to break 9:00, running a 9:02.42 last weekend. The Princeton-bound senior won the state meet last year in a school-record time of 8:55.40. Moussa was third in that race.

“I haven’t run a good 2-mile yet, but I still have two races to go,” said Pons, who went under 9 minutes four times last year. “Clearly, I can run much faster; I did a 4:10 (1,600 in the CIF-SS Finals) and did not even go all out.”

The Valley will also be well-represented in hurdles races. Six area athletes are in the four races, and there are two alternates.

UCLA-bound Salcido is the fourth seed in the 100 hurdles, having run a 14.08, the fifth-fastest time in the state. She’s also the 10th seed in the long jump, having gone 18-10 this season.

Maranatha freshman Ebony Crear is also in the 100 hurdles, qualifying eighth with a personal-best time of 14.71. San Marino junior Browne is the eighth seed in the 300 hurdles with a season best of 43.53. She’s the No. 2 alternate in the 100.

Bonita’s Toure McCully is seeded eighth in the 110 high hurdles with a time of 14.55, and St. Francis’ Knowles is the first alternate. Muir senior Daityvon McFadden has the fourth-fastest time in the state in the 300 hurdles with a 47.75. He’ll be joined by Diamond Ranch’s Andrew Fischer, who’s run a 37.79, sixth- fastest in the state, and Knowles, who’s seeded ninth with a time of 38.38. Alhambra’s James Martin is the second alternate.

West Covina’s Taylor Bernard will compete in the pole vault; she went 11-3 last week. Temple City’s Phillipe Ueng is the alternate in the boys competition. Joining Boyer in the high jump will be South Pasadena’s Claire Kiefer-Wright, who went a season-best 5-4 last week.

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