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Burbank all-comers cross-country race attracts variety of runners

LOS ANGELES — Some ran for the competition and a way to prep for the upcoming cross-country season.

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Some ran for the camaraderie and a chance to be alongside former teammates.

Some ran just for the fun of it.

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A group of more than 130 athletes tackled the hills of Griffith Park Tuesday evening in an all-comers cross-country race orchestrated by Burbank High.

The race also served as a run-through in preparation for the inaugural Jeff Nelson Invitational that will take place Sept. 1 at the same venue.

“We are trying to work out the kinks the best the we can to be prepared for the invitational,” said Burbank co-coach Kathryn Nelson, wife of Jeff Nelson, a local running legend who graduated from Burbank and attended Glendale Community College. “We also wanted to show that we are able to run a meet here because we want this to be our home course so we can hold a Pacific League meet here. We really want to be able to hold a league meet on our home course, like we used to.”

Among the contingent of runners, that included a large group of Bulldogs, was a group from Glendale High. In addition, a big group of current and former Glendale Community College athletes took part.

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“We just wanted them to use this as a workout and hopefully they can use it to get better with the season starting pretty soon,” Glendale High coach Bob Bailey said. “Today I told them it really wasn’t about their time or placement, but just to get in a good workout.”

The winner of the race on the 2.95-mile course was former Glendale college runner Alejandro Ambrosio, who competes for Cal Poly Pomona. He finished in 15 minutes, 45.50 seconds.

“I was running with some other guys and it just gave us a chance to see where we’re at,” Ambrosio said. “It was just a fun race.

“The course was pretty good and I think I was able to get a good workout. It was challenging, so I liked that … I was just concentrating on what I needed to do.”

The first female to cross the finish line was Fabiola Naranjo (44th; 20:09.30), another former Vaqueros runner who is now at San Francisco State.

“Just to be able to run with some of my former GCC teammates really made it great for me,” Naranjo said. “I really love them and it was nice to be back with them again.”

The first two Burbank High finishers came across the line together, junior Victor Goli and sophomore Andres Leon (14th, 17:50.43).

“This is probably one of the most challenging courses, other than Mt. SAC,” Leon said. “We wanted to try and help some of our other runners stay in a pack and we wanted to finish as a pack to get those points when we have races for the season.”

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Finishing first among high school girls’ runners was Burbank’s Shalom Mejia (53rd, 20:59.03).

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