NORWALK — Under undesirably windy and cold conditions, Glendale High's Michael Davis accomplished a feat no Nitros athlete had matched in more than two decades.
The junior 200-meter runner became the first Nitros runner in 26 years to qualify to the CIF State Meet by finishing third in his event in a time of 21.61 seconds at Friday's CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College.
"This feels real good, I feel real good, I can't believe it," Davis said. "I hadn't run here in a while and hadn't ever run in Masters. This is great."
Davis needed to either finish in the top five or hit a state at-large mark of 21.60 to advance to the state preliminaries at Clovis High next Friday, followed by the state championships on Saturday.
Davis seemed a lock, given he finished second at last week's CIF-SS Division I championships and fifth overall out of any division with a mark of 21.40, which broke Glendale's previous school record of 21.45, set by Craig Harzmann in 1992.
Yet, a tail wind that ranged around 10 miles per hour and a temperature that was about 30 degrees cooler than last week's divisional finals at Mt. San Antonio College proved menacing.
Davis broke out of his block somewhat slow and was in seventh place through the first 50 meters before moving up two positions over the next 50 meters.
Finally, over the final 100 meters, Davis kicked and passed Eleanor Roosevelt's Elijah Mitchell (21.62) and Colony's Kyree King (21.64) in taking third.
"It felt great to run with the big boys," said Davis, who eclipsed his previous-best course mark of 22.01 set at last year's divisional championships. "I really felt like I belonged and I can't wait until next week."
One advantage for Davis is that he didn't have to run 100-meter dash as he had in previous weeks, a benefit he acknowledged.
"I could just focus everything I had in the 200," said Davis, who missed qualifying to the Masters Meet in the 100. "I didn't have to wait and prepare for two races."
While Davis surpassed Harzmann last weekend, he joins the likes of Olympian Dwight Stones and California high jump record holder Lee Balkan as Nitros who qualified to state.
Davis is the first Glendale athlete to qualify to state since Richard Erbes advanced in the 3,200-meter run in 1986 and is the city of Glendale's first public school participant since Hoover's David Lopez advanced in the 3,200 in 1996.
"I think this is a real boost, especially since he is a junior," Glendale Coach Bob Bailey said. "When he comes back next year, he'll have a lot of kids looking up to him and to what he accomplished today.
"He's set some high goals for all of us. This just doesn't happen here that often."Copyright © 2015, CT Now