By Leonard COUTIN
The CV Falcons girls cross country team ran an impressive race to qualify ninth in the Division 1 CIF State Cross Country Championship Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.
As expected, Cali King and Ali Johnson settled in with the first 25 top runners as they hit the first mile marker. Junior Buchanan Reedy Hagen and senior Laura Hollander of Marina set the pace for the pack to follow.
“We came into the meet hoping for a top 10 finish,” said Coach Mark Evans. “Ninth is good. Only 34 points separated places six through 11, so there were a lot of times [that were] very close. It is great to be back at the state meet. We have a young group and they all competed really well. I am happy to see them not get overwhelmed by the whole state meet atmosphere.”
The first Falcon runner out was freshman Megan Melnyk. Melnyk had a strong third mile and continued to fight for every position right up to the finish line, ending 38th with 18:59. Senior Ali Johnson placed 45th (19:05) with teammate Erika Johnson, who provided her team with balance and strength this season, placing 59th (19:12).
The Arcadia Apaches, who finished first both in the Pacific League and CIF, took second place at Fresno. Trabuco nabbed the championship.
Sergio Gonzalez of Arcadia won first place in the Division 1 race running 15:05 and Rancho Cucamonga’s Luis Gutierez placed second with 15:12 and Knight Bryan Guijarro took third with 15:14.
Burbank High’s team, which placed seventh at CIF finals, took 11th as a team with Sergio Fraire leading the team running 30th (15:49). Arcadia’s individual girl runner Veronica Yamane placed 20th (18:34)
On a personal note, Coach Evans witnessed a victory for his sons Rob and Chris who coach Golden Valley High School. Golden Valley grabbed the first place championship in Division 2 boys race.
“It is great to see the progress Rob and Chris have made at Golden Valley,” said Evans of his sons. “Their kids have worked hard and we are happy for their success. It is a great accomplishment to win a CIF championship, state championship and then get an invitation to NXN. It is really wonderful.”