By Leonard COUTIN
The CIF cross-country prelims were held Saturday in Walnut at Mount San Antonia College (Mt. Sac).
Due to the morning rains, the decision was made by officials to run the alternative concrete course rather than the traditional mountain dirt course. Keeping off the slippery dirt surfaces was an important decision and the 2.9-mile course turned from a hilly path to a flat course that circled the college twice and allowed runners the chance for an all out sprint the last 100 mm on the track in front of the crowds.
This was a particularly strong year for the Pacific League running programs. The caliber of runners coming out to participate in the cross-country competitions reflect the drive and dedication of these athletes who are willing to commit to long hours of conditioning needed to get in top shape. Five of the six Pacific League teams have now advanced to the finals, which will be held Saturday at Mt. Sac.
The CVHS Falcon girls in the Division 1 heat gave a strong performance, acknowledged by Coach Mark Evans.
“We ran a very good race at CIF prelims,” said Evans. “The girls really moved up well the last half of the race. Our grouping was great – only 30 seconds between our first and fifth runners. This grouping will help us in finals. It was a great team effort.”
As the runners started entering the track, the order of Falcon runners changed tremendously. Freshman Megan Melnyk advanced to lead runner for the Falcons running 17:30 and placing 12th.
“Megan has been running better each week and really showed what she is capable of doing,” Evans noted.
Erika Johnson headed for the finish with a sprint against a Poloma Valley competitor. She was the second Falcon runner and placed 15th (17:35). Senior Ali Johnson, running third, placed 17th (17:43), while junior Cali King placed 21st (17:49) and Junior Hannah Ruby place 28th (18:00).
CV scored third (83) behind Marina (58) and San Clemente (46).
Senior runner Brooke Moultrie was absent, nursing an injury. “Hopefully, Brooke will be feeling better and healthy enough to race next week,” said Evans.
The Arcadia girls ran a successful team race and will continue to move on to the finals. Burbank girls unfortunately were eliminated in the prelims.
In the boys race all three teams – Arcadia, Burroughs and Burbank –made it to the finals. The Arcadia boys, led by star Sergio Gonzalez, have an excellent chance to win not only the CIF finals but state as well.
The goal of Apache Coach Jim O’Brien during the prelims was to have his team run close together throughout the race, which is what they did.
Lead Burroughs runner Anthony Monroy is expected to place in the top 10 individual rankings along with Burbank Bulldog lead runner Isaiah Amos and teammate Sergio Fraire.
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