LA CRESCENTA – A return of two familiar faces highlighted a big effort for the La Cañada High girls’ and boys’ cross-country teams at Wednesday afternoon’s second Rio Hondo League meet at Crescenta Valley Park.
Girls’ coach Nick LaCapria was back as well as former league champion Katie Scoville as the Spartans romped to victory a race after the boys enjoyed a bounce-back performance in placing second.
“Nothing can beat this and I really missed being out here,” said LaCapria, who was absent for the first league meet at Lacy Park on Sept. 21 recovering from the ill effects of a car collision during the summer. “That’s all I thought about as I was out.
“These girls are something else and you can see how serious they take it. They came to run and I was happy to see it.”
The CIF Southern Section Division IV No. 8-ranked La Cañada girls picked up their second league victory in as many tries with a 24-59 victory over South Pasadena.
Freshman sensation Kayley Bond led the way for La Cañada for a second straight league meet, though, she was more dominant Wednesday.
While Bond won the league’s first meet by six seconds, this time around she was a blur. The freshman raced to victory in 18 minutes, 34.50 seconds.
The triumph was over a minute faster than teammate and runner-up in sophomore Sarah Auther (19:37.79).
“I was a little nervous at the beginning of the race because last time I had stronger competition,” Bond said. “This time I wasn’t sure how I would do. I was a little nervous I would go slower, but that didn’t happen.”
La Cañada competed without No. 2 runner Adena Dipaolo, who was out because of a cold.
In her place, the Spartans received a strong effort from Scoville, who was making her season debut.
The former two-time league champion suffered a series of debilitating injuries the last two years and was just cleared to compete after recovering from a concussion.
Scoville’s first competition saw her finish third for her team and fourth overall in 19:57.02.
“It feels great to be out here,” Scoville said. “I’m not totally back to normal following the concussion, but I’m happy to be out here with the girls and to be a teammate.”
Spartans freshman Ellaney Matarese was the fourth Spartan to place in the top five, taking fifth in 20:04.89. Senior Kallie Rushing finished out the scoring by taking 12th in 20:59.37.
On the boys’ side, the Spartans finished fourth in the league’s first meet at Lacy Park a season after placing second at league finals.
On Wednesday, the Spartans rounded back into form in taking silver behind South Pasadena, 23-60.
La Cañada’s one-two punch of Owen Serricchio and Ryan Van Slooten set the squad’s pace as the runners finished fourth (17:04.60) and fifth (17:06.07), respectively.
“Our goal was to move up in this league meet,” Van Slooten said. “We lost the last league meet to Temple City and we just wanted to get them this time.”
La Cañada did that as Temple City finished third with 72 points and Monrovia was fourth with 81 points.
“This was a tough course, but fun,” Serricchio said. “The good thing is that we ran this course before, so no one got lost.”
As in the first league meet, the Spartans crossed two more runners within the top 20 as sophomore Sheldon Watanabe finished 13th (18:00.51) and senior Shaan Sandu took 15th (18:08.07).