By Leonard COUTIN
The first Pacific League cross-country meet of the season was held Thursday on the Arcadia Apaches’ home course. The athletes ran a course that is flat overall with several loops running throughout the parks. All top boys varsity contenders huddled together throughout the first mile including Dynamiter Paulo Vasquez, who took the lead, followed by Falcon Phillip Thomas.
The Falcons worked hard in preparation of the meet with the goal of making a significant impact against the two highly rated teams – the Arcadia Apaches and the Burroughs Indians. Falcon Thomas advanced his position during the second loop of the course to gain the lead. State champion Phillip Rocha of Arcadia held back during the first mile and a half, but at the second mile amped up his speed. Rocha, confident of his ability, advanced with ease.
Falcon Colin FitzGerald kept close to pack leaders Alexander Hirsch of Burroughs and Apache Chris Lee, focusing on the importance of team-standing points. FitzGerald also never forgot that he was running with a state champion.
“I could feel the presence of Rocha throughout the course,” said FitzGerald.
Rocha sprinted out the last 600 yards to claim the title (14:59.06) followed by Hirsch (15:03.06), FitzGerald (15:11.97) and Lee (15:13.88). CV’s teammates followed up with a strong last minute effort. Other strong Falcon finishers were Thomas who took sixth (15:16.59) and Kyle Dickinson in seventh (15:19. 59).
Boys’ varsity scores: Arcadia 26 – CV 29; CV 26 – Burroughs 29; CV 16 – Burbank 43; CV 16 – Glendale 47; CV 15 – Hoover 50.
Team overall League standing: Arcadia, CV, Burroughs, Burbank, Glendale and Hoover.
Reviewing the race, Coach Evans said, “I am very pleased with how we ran as a team. I was glad to see the pack go out controlled. I told the team to stay in the pack and make sure they were around the Arcadia and Burroughs teams. That is what we did.”
The Apaches girls, who had a great amount of success in their pre-season invitational meets, scored a team first place spot. Individually their lead runners Holly Lung placed third (18:02.41) and Jasmine He took fifth (18:07.28). Burbank star, state champion Candela Fernandez, who nursed an injury, was competing and regaining her strength. Fernandez worked the course with Burroughs lead runner Emily Virtue who, according to her Coach John Peebles, has been showing great promise. Maintaining her position at the shoulder of Fernandez, Virture was able to relax and let Fernandez do most of the work. This allowed her to reserve some of her energy then use it to pass Fernandez in the last 100 meters of the course to win (17:11.25) with Fernandez taking second (17:16.84).
Fernandez didn’t seem fazed by the second place position.
“I’m not worried about the win,” she said. “[I’m] just trying to get back on top of things. It was a good race though.”
Falcon Grace McAuley, who has taken on the responsibility of leading her squad each race, looked for support from teammate Annie Meyers. (Unfortunately teammate Rebecca Mencia was not able to run this meet.) Facing so many talented runners, McAuley did her best to carve out a spot in the top 10 running 18:45.53. Teammate Meyers took 17th (20:08.56).
Coach Evans said he thought the girls ran well next to some of the state’s best runners.
“The girls are working hard and they are improving,” he said.
Girls varsity scores: Arcadia 15 – CV 48; Burroughs 19 – CV 42; Burbank 24 – CV 31; CV 15 – Glendale 41; CV 15 – Hoover 41.
Team overall league standings: Arcadia, Burroughs, Burbank, CV and Glendale/Hoover tied for fifth.