CIF Cross-Country Finals in Sight for Falcons

Photos by Chuck UTASH
Sophia Atin from CVHS placed ninth and was the first person on the Falcon team.

By Leonard COUTIN

Working tenaciously, and after traveling 80 miles, the Crescenta Valley High School Falcons cross-country runners were determined to step up their game on Nov. 15 to get through the stiff competition of the CIF prelims in Riverside.

Twenty-four teams in each division will advance to finals. Division 1 had three heats in prelims and the first eight teams in each heat qualified for finals, explained CV head coach Mark Evans.

“Anyone on a non-qualifying team who finished in the first 10 of the race qualified as individuals,” he added.

Dylan Wilbur kept a comfortable pace ensuring a place at the CIF finals.

The Falcon girls ran first in Race No. 5 at 10 a.m. on the flat and dusty course that once served as a golf course. Each of the Falcons knew to run as fast as they needed in order to qualify. With runners from some of the top division teams, like Great Oak and San Clemente, made the race more challenging. CV seniors Sophia Atin and Natalie Bitetti kept close contact throughout the entire race. Atin scored ninth running 18:13.00 and Bitetti claimed 11th running 18:19.7.

Fellow senior Samantha Moore seemed a little off her game as she ran with the second pack but nevertheless scored well for the team finishing 26th (18:52.2). Senior Ily Nelson ran a strong race to place 51st (19:27.4). Sophomore Taili Sherwood-Kong placed 54th with a time of 19:35.2 to score as the fifth person for the Falcons. The last two runners have been continuously helping the team all season. Kelly Helton scored 68th (19:53.5) and junior Juliana Cheney placed 75th (21:01.2).

Junior Nolan Brown had an excellent time of 15.42.1.

“The girls ran a good race,” said Evans adding the goal was only to qualify for finals. “The girls had to run a little harder but had a good race.  Sophia ran well in the front with Natalie Bitetti right behind her and Samantha Moore just back a little. Taili Sherwood Kong was able to race in place of Sarah Benitez who had been sick during the week. Taili also gained great experience in a varsity CIF race.”

In Race No. 5, the girls’ top 10 team scores were San Clemente 65, Great Oak 73, Tesoro 107, Ayala145, CV 151, Upland 208, Santa Ana 240, Redondo Union 259, Valencia 269 and Roosevelt 274.

The Falcon boys took to the course at 11 a.m. in Race No. 9. Despite near-palpable nerves, the boys knew what they had to do to grab their spot at finals. 

CV senior Dylan Wilbur relied on his training and held his own against the lead runners. Wilbur scored ninth running 15:35.5 while teammate Nolan Brown, a junior, scored 13th with an excellent time of 15.42.1. Mark Ruiz placed 17th (15:48.7) with teammates Erik Faeustle placing 28th (15:57.2) and Jack Myers, the CV fifth person, scoring 29th also running 15:57.2. Juniors Max Burton placed 30th (15:57.3) and Chris Cubias 31st (15:57.4).

Ily Nelson placed 51st.

“We are pleased with how we ran. The boys had Max Ruiz and Nolan Brown race, giving Rowan FitzGerald and Bryce Bitetti a chance to have a day off. Nolan and Max ran very well with Dylan for the first two miles before he pulled away,” said Evans. “They had very good times and finished in the top 20. They gained a lot of experience on the CIF course. Max Burton, Chris Cubias, Erik Faeustle and Jack Myers ran together in about 30th place with the goal being to qualify. We are ready for a good race next week at CIF finals.”

In Race No. 9, the boys’ team top scores were Poly (Long Beach) 84, CV 96, King 112, Vista Murrieta 125, Rancho Cucamonga 156, Chaparral 167, Highland 193, Valencia 219, Santa Monica 228 and Rio Mesa 252.

CIF Southern Section
CIF Southern Section