Cross Country Opens Season On Top

Sophomore Paloma Elfassi
Photos by Justin HAGER

By Justin HAGER

The Crescenta Valley High School boys cross country team held onto its preseason No. 6 spot in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 rankings after an impressive showing last week at the Cool Breeze Invitational at Brookside Country Club at the Rose Bowl. The Falcon boys’ varsity team finished third overall with juniors Harrison Connors and Luke Cheney and senior Max Ruiz all finishing their three-mile run in under 16 minutes and in the top-20 finishers. The ranking marks the boys’ fifth consecutive year appearing in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 Top Ten poll and bodes well for a return trip to the state meet.

Junior Josh Santiago

The future of the boys’ program also appears set up for success as the sophomore runners took No. 1 top honors with Eddie Sion finishing fifth and just seven seconds shy of a sub-17 minute run, and Cameron Cheney, Arlo Gagnon, Ater Prather, Nathan Lee and Joshua Chambers all running sub 19 minutes and finishing in the top 30. Other impressive runs from the boys’ team include junior Josh Santiago’s 19th place sub-18-minute run in the boys’ JV race and freshman Liam Zadoorian’s 17th place sub-19-minute run in the freshman three-mile race.

The girls’ cross-country squad also had a highly successful day but despite knocking on the door of top three, it fell just short of podium honors enjoyed by the boys.

The girls sophomore squad looked poised to finish in the top three after Paloma Elfassi ran an impressive 21:39.9 and finished 12th, just a few seconds off the third place pace. The girls’ varsity team finished seventh with Rebecca Doherty placing in the top 25. She was joined by Emma Haworth and Annabelle Tanner in running sub-20-minute times. The girls’ JV squad finished 14th, led by Eliana Chong’s 24-minute run. And the freshman team finished 11th, but with tremendous optimism moving forward as both Kaitlin Kenney and Emilia Greenway were just seconds off of sub-21-minute runs.

The Cool Breeze invitational is a massive event with more than 130 high schools participating. For many of those teams, including Crescenta Valley, it was the first race back from COVID.

“There are no disappointing results today,” said CVHS Cross Country Coach Rob Evans. “Half of the kids have never run a race before, so they are excited, nervous, and happy to be able to race and run.”