By Leonard COUTIN
On Nov. 3, the Pacific League 2011 cross-country finals were held in Arcadia at the Santa Anita Park Cross Country Course. Proving to be exciting races for the spectators and the runners, the Crescenta Valley Falcon girls ran one of the best races to clinch the second position (31) behind the Arcadia Apache team (24), with the Burbank Bulldogs taking third (99).
From the start, Apache star runners sophomore Veronica Yamane (17.16.66) and senior Alejandra Quintero (17:27.38) nabbed the lead, taking full advantage of the knowledge of their home course and maintaining the top spot. Falcon junior Cali King took the lead position for her team, securing third (17:43.41) while teammate Ali Johnson ran fourth (17:49.31). Arcadia came back with a fifth place by Glindy Mancia (17:49.75) and CV followed with sixth by Megan Melnyk (17:56.94).
The next two runners had a head-to-head sprint the last 50 yards to the finish line. Arcadia Laura Guidolin (18:02.09) was awarded seventh, edging out Erika Johnson in eighth by the shoulders.
CV runners Brooke Moultrie placed 10th, with Haley Witzeman taking 11th and Hannah Ruby taking 12th.
“I thought the girls ran very well,” said Coach Mark Evans. “They ran the fifth fastest time ever on that course. It is just that Arcadia ran the fourth fastest time ever and beat us.
“I am really proud of our team and believe we will do well in CIF.”
The teams that qualified from the league meet are Arcadia, CV and Burbank. There are only three qualifiers since there were only five teams that competed in the meet.
CV girls competing will be Cali King, Ali Johnson, Erika Johnson, Megan Melnyk, Brooke Moultrie, Haley Witzeman and Hannah Ruby.
The national rated Apache boys won first place over all the competition with lead runner Sergio Gonzalez (14:26.41) taking the league championship race over Burroughs’ Anthony Monroy placing second (14:34.18). Ryan Vargas of Arcadia took third (14:49.59) while Burbank sophomore Isaiah Amos placed fourth just in front of teammate Sergio Fraire (14:51.41).
The Apache stronghold took the next four places to win the league title (25), Burbank came in second (59) and Burroughs third (78). The Falcons placed fourth (90) with Hoover fifth (144) and Glendale sixth (153).
“The boys ran a great race,” said Evans. “We have battled Burroughs all season and just could not get them at finals. This was our fastest race of the season but we just came up a bit short. The boys did a great job and have shown tremendous growth. I am also very proud of them and how they raced and trained this year.”
Lead runner for CV was Mike Duncan who placed 11th (15:09.02) with teammate Aaron Esparza placing 16th (15:18.84) and Gable Collison 17th (15:19.31).
Arcadia, Burbank and Burroughs qualified for the CIF prelims.