LA CRESCENTA — Just three miles separated the Crescenta Valley High boys’ and Burbank girls’ cross-country teams from achieving a major goal.
Crescenta Valley and Burbank came into the Pacific League finals on Thursday at Crescenta Valley Park looking to win outright league championships after having clinched at least a share of the title.
Knowing what was up for grabs, the Falcons and Bulldogs squads got the job done by winning their respective races and quickly ending any suspense on a warm afternoon on the three-mile course.
Crescenta Valley had five top-14 finishers to earn 27 points and complete a sweep of the three league races en route to repeating as league champion.
Burbank also swept all three meets, finishing with 32 points by virtue of five top-11 efforts to win its first league crown since splitting it with Crescenta Valley and Arcadia in 2014.
Falcons’ Manan Vats won the league’s individual championship with a first-place effort in 15 minutes 27.8 seconds. Joyce Wu of Arcadia captured the girls’ individual title in 18:31.5.
Crescenta Valley, Arcadia, Burbank and Glendale finished in the top four to advance to the CIF Southern Section prelims on the boys’ side and Burbank, Burroughs, Crescenta Valley and Arcadia accomplished the feat in the girls’ portion of the meet. All eight teams will compete Nov. 9-10 in Riverside.
Dylan Wilbur took second in 15:37.8 and Grant Lauterback was third (15:47) for the Falcons. Also scoring for Crescenta Valley was Erik Faeustle (seventh, 16:04/8) and Evan Doloszycki (14th, 16:27/9).
“The guys have been putting in the work since the summer,” said Crescenta Valley coach Mark Evans, whose team is ranked fifth in CIF Southern Section Division I. “We lost a lot of great runners to graduation, but the returners wanted to keep it going and the new guys bought into what we were teaching them.
“We’re very pleased and we ran a great race.”
Said Vats: “Dylan and I have been running 1-2 all season in league. I really wanted to come out and win an individual championship. It’s great to do that, but it’s awesome to win league again. We want to keep going at CIF.”
Arcadia, tied for sixth with La Serna in Division I, took second with 49 points and was followed by Burbank (85 points), Glendale (104), Burroughs (110), Pasadena (166) and Hoover (205).
Burbank continued its dominance in league in the girls’ pprtion of the meet. The Bulldogs won their first outright league crown since winning the Foothill League championship in 1978.
Burbank received an impressive effort from Sol Fernandez, who took second in 19:12.5. Shalom Mejia clocked 19:36.6 to take third for the Bulldogs, who got a seventh-place effort from Jamie Levin (19:54.8), a ninth-place finish from Megan LaCamer (20:02.9) and an 11th-place performance from Mckynzee Kelley (20:06.2).
“It took a lot of hard work and they wanted it,” Burbank coach Kathryn Nelson said. “We knew we could be a [league] champion, but you’ve got to show up and race.
“This is no slouch of a league. Having confidence was a main thing and we got back to running in a pack mentality.”
Fernandez said she wanted to pave the way for the Bulldogs.
“It was a real good day for me,” Fernandez said. “I broke through and there are some hills on the course and you test your toughness.
“It’s a huge success [to win league] and we’re building a foundation.”
Burroughs finished second with 59 points, Crescenta Valley was third with 62, whch was followed by Arcadia (80), Glendale (161), Hoover (165) and Pasadena (179).
In the boys’ race, Burbank’s scorers were Andrea Leon (eighth, 16:12.4), Victor Goli (12th, 16:23.9), Tadeh Shanazari (15th, 16:37), Steven Wright (24th, 17:23.5) and Dayne Ellis (26th, 17:29).
Glendale captured fourth place and punched its ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2005. The Nitros finished fifth in the first two league meets and needed a victory against Burroughs to climb over the Indians and extend their season.
Arvin Sales led Glendale with a ninth-place finish in 16:15.9 and was followed by Chadi Saklaway (11th, 16:17.2), Kirollos Jacob (27th, 17:51.7), Askanaz Sahakyan (28th, 17:32.5) and Colm Daly (29th, 17:37.1).
“It’s just beyond what we could imagine,” Glendale coach Bob Bailey said. “They went out there and put in a great effort. It can happen when you put in the work.”
Burroughs competed without standout Raymond Berrellez, who is recovering from an injury. The Indians’ top scorer was Robert McGraham, who took 18th in 16:52.1. Also scoring for Burroughs was Carlos Ponce (19th, 16:52.6), Trevor Villagran (20th, 16:55.8), Jimmy Nealis (23rd, 17:12.7) and Johnny Padungyothee (30th, 17:38.6).
Hoover’s top scorer was Omer Abdelrahim, who finished 31st in 17:38.8.
Pasadena and Hoover took sixth and seventh, respectively, in league.
In the girls’ race, Jordan Guzman lifted Burroughs with a sixth-place effort in 19:53.2). Also scoring for the Indians were Ceci Whitney (eighth, 19:58.6), Sophia Navarro (10th, 20:05.8), Lakrely Nealis (15th, 20:14) and Julianna Navarro (20th, 20:37.5).
“They are continuing to learn and there are still things that need to be done,” Burroughs coach John Peebles said. “They know how to go out there and compete.”
Crescenta Valley had five runners finish in the top 23, led by Samantha Moore (fourth, 19:41). Also scoring for the Falcons were Gabriela Borraez (fifth, 19:43.2), Ily Nelson (12th, 20:10.1), Reese Sion (18th, 20:34.4) and Sarah Benitez (23rd, 20:52.8).
Glendale’s top scorer was Vanneza Venzor ((28th, 22:37.6) and Hoover was led by Lia Yaghisae (28th, 21:51.8).