Though CVHS didn’t find a place on the podium, Flintridge Prep has good showing.
By Leonard COUTIN
The Crescenta Valley Falcons, which had earned second place at the Pacific League finals and fifth at the CIF finals, were hoping to rally for a placement in the state CIF cross-country championship Division 1 race held last weekend in Fresno. The annual event takes place on the Woodward Park course. Despite a strong start from Falcon senior Gabe Collison, Torrey Pines and Arcadia were too tough to beat.
Collison quickly claimed the lead alongside Torrey Pines’ Tai Braude and Stockdale’s Bake Haney. At the first mile, Collison was in top form with the Arcadia Apaches first runners Estevan De La Rosa and Phillip Rocha alongside. But when the pace shifted during the second half of the course, Collison’s ability to hold his position faltered. It was at the rounding of the last circle of the course when De La Rosa made his final move on the grass runway, narrowing the distance between him and leader Braude. But Braude claimed the win with a stride lead (15:02) and Apache De La Rosa placed second (15:03) with Stockdale’s Haney taking third (15:09). Collison finished 21st (15:44).
“It was good for us to go to state, so I’m happy for the team,” Collison said. “The state meet was and still is an important goal for Crescenta Valley cross-country. It has been our goal to make it as a team this whole season, so it was special for us to actually make it.”
“The boys had a great season,” said CV Head Coach Mark Evans. “The only CV team to run faster on the Woodward Park course was our 2007 team that finished fourth in the state meet. It was a tough, competitive race. We certainly wanted a top 10 finish and thought we could be in the top six to eight. That did not happen but it was a great season.”
“We have a good group coming back and will have the experience to do even better next year,” Evans added.
Other local teams of note were Flintridge Prep boys and girls teams that made their mark in Division 5. Lead runner Alan Yoho and teammate Jack Van Scoter, who have successfully teamed up all year, scored top points for their team. Yoho outdistanced the competition in the second half of the course to win first place (15:11). Scoter took third (14:41) with teammates Poole placing 19th (16:38), Fong placing 55th (17:18) and Orloff 111th (18:11) and Coan 120th (18:21). The boys’ team claimed a fourth state CIF title.
Flintridge girls won the third place state title with lead runner Lacy Coan placing 18th (19:40). Teammates Ashley Lara placed 26th (19:48), Natalie O’Brien placed 27th (19:49), Mara Cohen placed 33rd (20:12) and Kate Evan placed 42nd (20:27).
Anna Frederich of La Cañada, who qualified as an individual, won the seventh place position in Division 3 running 18:17.
Simi Valley’s Sarah Baxter made her permanent mark in the record books as one of the all time best runners in California history. Setting her sights on winning her personal fourth state title championship in Division 2, Baxter led her team to its first team title. Beating rival Saugus Centurions, which had claimed more than seven first place wins and two dual second place wins, was tough, but as Coach Roger Evans said, “You gotta have faith in your program.” Team standings were Simi Valley 97 with Saugus placing second 102.