By Leonard COUTIN
For several months the Falcons’ cross-country team has trained diligently in preparation for the 2016-17 season. That training was put to the test in the first league meet on Sept. 22 hosted by the Falcons at CV Park.
The Falcons knew that they would have tough competition in the returning Burroughs boys’ team, who were last year’s league champions. Arcadia’s boys’ and girls’ teams were also expected to be tough competitors –the Apache girls were last year’s league champions and had several of their strongest runners returning this season.
Eyes would be also on Emily Virtue of Burroughs, now a junior, who always performed well. Virtue made has an impressive personal record: qualifying second at the CIF Finals, placing sixth in the CIF state meet and securing eighth at the Foot Locker West Regional Championship.
From the CV team, Colin FitzGerald concluded his year placing 11th at the CIF Finals (distinguishing himself as one of two sophomores placing in the top 11 spots), and also running 23rd at CIF state championship. Scoring an incredible victory just one week ago at the Cool Breeze Invitational, FitzGerald looked eager to confront his rivals.
It was FitzGerald who led the pack through first mile mark followed closely by Burroughs’ Alexander Hirsch. Burroughs, Arcadia and CV rallied for favorable positions on the backside of the course and, approaching the final loop, FitzGerald and Hirsch ran side-by-side. FitzGerald then moved to distance himself from Hirsch before crossing the bridge and the final loop of the race. FitzGerald commanded the lead to take the win (15:32.53), followed by Hirsch (15:43.69) and Arcadia’s Joseph Vasquez (15:49.69). Burroughs’ runners Jagdeep Chahal (15:50.43) and teammate Timothy Wells (15:58.78) grabbed the next two important positions. Apaches placed sixth and seventh, with Burroughs taking eighth. Falcon Manan Vats secured the second position for his team running a strong race to grab ninth (16:16.75).
Final team score: Burroughs 29, Arcadia 44, Crescenta Valley 48, Burbank 121, Pasadena 155, Glendale 172 and Hoover 201.
Not surprising, the girls’ varsity race was won by Burroughs’ Emily Virtue (18:18.18) who put a great deal of dust between her and the strong Apaches. The Apaches took the next six positions: Eryca Yamane placed second (19:30.15) followed by teammates Dani Rodriguez (19:32.41), Jasmine He (19:35.28), Joy Huang (19:36.62) and Holly Lung (19:37.40). Burbank’s Gabby Collins placed eighth (19:45.66) followed by Burroughs Heidi Eligio (20:02.47) and Falcon Naila Ortiz (20:24.75).
Final team score: Arcadia 20, Burbank 64, Burroughs 72, CV 85, Glendale 150, Hoover 163, Pasadena 208.
Leaders in the boys’ frosh/soph race were Arcadia’s Jack Ruan who won with a time of 17:39.34 followed by teammates Soichiro Nagao (17:39.72) and Eduardo Cruz (17:44.72). Falcon Ethan Sharp took fourth (17:45.84).
The girls’ frosh/soph race was won by Arcadia’s Kira Graves (21:29.78) followed by Burroughs’ Vanessa Reveles (21:34.22) and Cindy Chen of Arcadia (21:43.44). Falcon Ily Nelson placed fourth running (22:18.44) and setting a personal record (PR).
In the junior varsity race, CV’s Matt Brunner (16:55.53) and teammate Kevin Faeustle (16:56.97) grabbed the top two spots. The Arcadia Apaches snagged the next six places, followed by Burroughs. Falcon Henry Mencia took 10th (17:23.81).
Final scores: Arcadia 25, Crescenta Valley 38, Burroughs 79, Pasadena 129, Glendale 146, Burbank 169.
The Apache girls dominated the girls JV race securing the first four places followed by Burroughs who grabbed fifth then Arcadia rounded out the top ten spots.
Final scores: Arcadia 16, Crescenta Valley 62, Burroughs 85, Glendale 93, Pasadena 138.
The next cross-country meet for the Falcons will be the Staub/Barnes Invitational on Oct. 1 at CV Park.
For more photos by Leonard Coutin, visit www.cvweekly.com/SPORTS.