A legendary finale

Victor Duran

At the peak of dawn on May 7th, track and field athletes competed in the Division 1 League Finals in a struggle to qualify for CIF at their rivalry school, Warren High School.

In the varsity division, Paramount High School took first place in league, Warren took second, and Downey took third. However, in the sophomore division, Downey lost their defending championship to Warren and took second. It was up to the Vikings to showcase their talents at the league finals and surprise the competiting schools.

The meet got off to a slow start as no school was allowed on the track until 4:00pm, followed by a strict policy of “spike checks.”

“I’m ready to get mine,” senior and hurdler Robert Duvanery said just before his event in the 300 hurdles. “I have the best hurdle coach in the division and I’m going to show it.”

Duvanery had previously been disqualified in the 100 high hurdles for a false start. He was a favorite to place in the event. Duvanery redeemed himself by taking second place in the 300 hurdles and finished with a CIF qualifying time of 40.80 seconds. Duvenary is ranked 29 in the 300 hurdles for the upcoming CIF prelims.

“Robert’s perseverance to get to this point, given that he hasn’t had many opportunities to run is remarkable,” hurdle coach Robert Nevarez said.

Duvanery won’t be representing his school alone. Sophomore and hurdler Steven Bovey had been “unfairly” disqualified in the 300 hurdles in an earlier meet against Warren, which deterred his chance of qualifying for CIF. Fortunately, Bovey was bumped up in the CIF qualifiers list due to a scratch in the 300 hurdles at league finals and will compete in the upcoming CIF meet at Trabuco Hills with teammate Robert Duvanery.

“I was really disappointed when the official disqualified me for such a bogus reason,” Bovey said. “But now I have a second chance to really prove myself in the 300 hurdles, and this time I’m going to make sure I don’t get disqualified.”

Senior Dillon Atchely gave another dominant performance in the pole vault. Atchley took first place with his new personal record of 13’3” and defended his league title in pole vault for the second year in a row, something never done before in Downey history. Atchley is the current sophomore record holder for the pole vault and a two-time CIF qualifier.

“In all of my 23 years of coaching at Downey High, I don’t recall anyone ever defending their title two consecutive years in a row,” pole vault coach Tim Meledy said.

“It’s really an amazing accomplishment for Dillon,” head track coach Robert Gleason said

Atchley valiantly tried to vault at a higher mark and break his new personal record in his last two attempts, but was unsuccessful.

“I’m happy with what I accomplished in league this season, and I’m looking forward to competiting with the best at CIF,” Atchley said.

Senior Steven Williams effortlessly took first place in the high jump with a finishing jump of 6’4”. Williams’ personal record is 6’8” and is currently a CIF qualifier. Williams is ranked top 10 in the state for the high jump and is aiming to break current record holder, Alex Black’s height of 6’10”. Senior Matthew Tickle is also a CIF qualifier, but not for his speed and agility, but for his technique and strength in the discus. Tickle is a first time CIF qualifier, who threw a distance of 151.3 ft. at league finals and took second place.

“I believe all of them have a legitimate chance of making CIF finals,” Gleason said.

Through much training and determination, each of these athletes has set the bar in their event. They are constantly striving to better themselves in the goal of being the best and to make their mark at Downey High School.