The high heat that had plagued the southland thankfully decided to be a no-show on Saturday, Oct. 3 as 55 teams with over 2500 runners from around Los Angeles and Ventura counties showed up in force. It was a good day to run.
The Crescenta Valley High School Falcons hosted the running of the 42nd annual Staub/Barnes Invitational cross country meet at Crescenta Valley Park. It was a day of redemption for some, a reward for all the hard work and training they had all put into their teams. The smell of Ben Gay and hard earned sweat drifted on the nearly still wind.
The chants from parents and coaches rang through the crowd. “Two more spots, Mike, you’re still in competition.”
On the uphill climb half mile from the finish, the chants grew noticeably louder. “Drop your arms, work the hill.”
On the downhill slope going into the finishing gate is where many of the racers really proved their mettle. After a grueling three mile run over hills, soft dirt and some concrete, this is where they made their race.
Host team CVHS took eighth place in the Division 1 boys varsity race with their 205 points, led by sophomore Mike Duncan who finished 12th place out of a field of 89 runners in 16:11.79.
“Mike ran his best race so far,” said CV head coach Mark Evans. “He was running against some of the top runners in the state and is getting better with each race.”
The race was won by Camarillo junior Heyden Wooff in the days fastest time of 15:30.78 which was also one of the fastest three mile times by a junior in meet history. Following Duncan for CV’s top five finishes was junior Cory Williams, sophomore Josh Carlos, junior Bob Anderson, and junior Jordan Miller with senior James Ossiff bringing in the teams number six spot. The Division 1 race was won by Camarillo with 75 points.
In the junior varsity boys race senior Carl Schroeder led the Falcon team members junior David Aguilar, sophomore David Owens, sophomore Simon Karlsson, junior Kamen Hristov, freshman Derek Sobol and junior Luis Reyes to a seventh place finish with 186 points in a field of 186 competitors. Canyon CC won the race with 49 points.
In the sophomore boys race, Tyler Bradshaw took 13th place overall, leading fellow Falcon teammates Brandon Baum, Adam Akopyan, Thomas Gustovich, Eduardo Herrera, Mike Jaramillo, Jacob Smith, Matt Williams, Josh Straschewski, Cody Heydenreich, Jonas Kemp and Tariq Soliman to a fourth place finish with 89 points in a field of 110 athletes. Burroughs (Burbank) won the race with 68 points. CV’s Baum and Akopyan battled with each other in the finish gate to take 21st and 22nd places, respectively, separated by only one and a half seconds in a thrilling finish.
“We’re a young team, mostly sophomores and juniors,” said Evans. “We’re building the team and improving with each race.”
One of the main building blocks is the freshman team. Aaron Esparza, member of the freshman squad took second place overall in his race and teammate Eduardo Menendez took sixth to help lead the rising stars of the frosh team to a fifth place finish with 131 points, behind the very tough Burbank (78 points) and Corona (97 points) teams who finished first and second respectively. Rounding out the front five frosh runners were Cooper Iven, Jooquin Peres and Brendan O’Rourke. Other frosh runners included Asbed Sarkissian, David Shahmanyan, Daniel Witt, Andriu Kavanagh, Bryan Ghoslin, Keeman Shur and Adam Sutphin.
Not to be outdone, the Falcon girls’ cross country teams also came to settle some scores.
“The girls are also a young team but getting more experienced with every run,” Evans said.
The varsity team’s junior Claudia Pham finished fifth in the race, closely followed by teammates sophomore Brooke Moultrie in seventh place and junior Anneke Kakebeen in tenth led their squad to a second place overall finish with 61 points, just behind West Ranch with 40 points. Arcadia was a distant third with 105 points. CVHS had three of the top ten finishers.
“It was great to beat Arcadia and renew the rivalry after they beat us in league,” Evans said.
The two teams will face off again on Oct. 15 in the second league meet of the season. “We’d like to get them back when it really means something then,” he said.
Rounding out the top five for the Falcons was freshman Cali King in 15th place and senior Eliza Collison at 24th place. Carli Opland, a senior, and junior Carli Lombardi filled CV’s sixth and seventh spots.
The junior varsity team finished fifth overall with 101 points in a race won by Arcadia’s 57 points. Senior Stacy Carlos finished fifth overall and was joined by teammates junior Beck in 19th place; senior Christina Galvan in 26th; senior Joyce Lee in 37th and senior Carley Wade at 40th place in a field of 87 runners. Additional members of the team included senior Roslyn Woods, senior Vanessa Fonseca, junior Laura Widholm and junior Corina Wolf.
Brenda Eivazian finished fourth overall and Monica Lyons finished ninth to take two of the top ten finishes in the girl’s sophomore race. CV took fourth place as a team with 108 points, behind Canyon CC in first place with 71 points, Arcadia with 87, and Corona with 104. Joining in the crowd of 70 runners were Falcons Kelly Backes, Krystal Tremain, Mikaela Tenner rounding out CV’s top five finishers as well as Kaylee Doeding and Arpy Barsemian in the sixth and seventh spots.
The girls frosh race held some spirited last second competition within CV’s own ranks. Hannah Benson finished in a sprint with teammate Amber Zadravecz to capture the eighth and ninth overall finishes respectively with only .73 separating them. Burroughs runner Ashley Velasco was less than a second behind them for 10th and CV’s Maddy Gabor four seconds behind her to capture the 11th place spot.
”Being that the (finish line) chute was on a downhill grade, that’s where a good race like this gets made,” Evans said.
Finishing up CV’s top five were Allison Potter and Erin Quiambao. Additional freshman laying the groundwork for the building team were Lia Leibman, Mithra Bhadha, Jenna Schroeder, Beth Anderson, Emily Alcorace, Amelia Palacios, Jessica Morena, Laura Lockhart and Krista Kim.
“It was a great day for running and a very successful meet’ said Evans. “There were lots of parents, we had the big pancake breakfast put on by the booster club who gave lots of support and there were lots of compliments from the other teams as to how well the meet was done.”