It’s been weeks since Burroughs High’s Christian Valles took part in the boys’ pole vault at the 99th CIF State Track and Field Championships.
Although the elite meet is behind him, Valles still carries something to remind him of the effort and dedication it took to earn a spot in the competition against the most talented vaulters in the state.
“I have a wristband from state meet,” Valles said “I am still wearing it on my left wrist and I don’t want to take it off because I want to have it there to remind me that I need to go back there next year and hopefully place in the top five. That serves as motivation for me.”
Although Valles advanced to the state preliminaries, he wasn’t able to earn a spot in the finals. Despite falling short of that goal, the junior turned in a successful season and became the latest in a line of successful Burroughs pole vaulters.
“I think what Christian was able to accomplish this season as a junior was pretty impressive,” Burroughs pole vault coach Mike McHorney said. “He is a very determined person and he worked very hard to accomplish what he was able to accomplish this season.
“He was hoping to move on to the finals at state, but things happen. He went in prepared and he did the best that he could.”
Valles captured his second straight Pacific League championship and successfully maneuvered his way through the CIF Southern Section preliminaries, the Southern Section Finals and the Masters Meet to earn a spot in state competition.
It is because of those accomplishments that Valles was selected the 2017 All-Area Boys’ Track and Field Athlete of the Year, as voted by the sportswriters of the La Cañada Valley Sun, Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press.
It was the third time in four years that an Indians pole vaulter was named athlete of the year, with Matthew Schwartz winning it on the boys’ side in 2014 and Sarah Prystupa capturing it on the girls’ side in 2016.
“That says a lot about our pole vault program at Burroughs,” said McHorney, who also vaulted for the Indians.
A long season and months of preparation led Valles to the state prelims June 2 at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High in Clovis. He needed to finish in the top 12 in Friday’s event to…