While goals vary from race to race, the unifying objective for Saturday's CIF Southern Section cross-country preliminaries at Mt. San Antonio College was to advance to the following week's CIF Southern Section Finals.
It was a goal that local squads Crescenta Valley, Flintridge Sacred Heart and Flintridge Prep met with little trouble as all three now head into the biggest week of the season.
“The good thing for us is that we're in Division V and so we can relax a bit at prelims and not have to worry like the teams in Division I,” Flintridge Prep boys Coach Ingrid Herskind said. “Other than advancing, the only other thing we wanted do was cut down on our gap.”
The Rebels, who won a Mt. SAC Invitational championship the last time they were on the course, coasted to second place in the Division V second heat with 40 points and posted an amazing spread of one second.
Junior Alan Yoho paced the Rebels by taking seventh in 16 minutes, 53 seconds and was followed seemingly without a space by Ellias Ellison (eighth, 16:53), Aaron Sugimoto (ninth, 16:53), Tyler Fong (10th, 16:54) and Jack Van Scoter (11th, 16:54).
While the Flintridge girls weren't quite as efficient, they still took third with 78 points in the Division V second heat with 78 points, with a top four consisted of Sarah Yoho (eighth, 19:49), Ashley Lara (12th, 20:08), Lacy Coan (13th, 20:09) and Kate Evans (14th, 20:22).
Crescenta Valley turned in a couple of third-place efforts, leading with the girls, as they scored 108 points in the Division I third heat.
As expected, sophomore Megan Melnyk led the way in racing to ninth in
Melnyk had three teammates finish in the top 40 in Hannah Ruby (18:56), Erika Johnson (20th, 19:12) and Haley Witzeman (26th, 19:26).
The boys finished with 78 points in the Division I second heat, paced by junior Gabe Collison, who posted the best time of any local with a fourth-place mark of 15:24.
Like the girls, the boys also placed an additional three in the top 40 in Nick Beatty (ninth, 15:45), Aaron Esparza (11th, 15:52) and Matt Manalo (17th,
Also advancing to next week was Flintridge Sacred Heart, which took seventh in the Division V first heat with 172 points.
Sophomore Kayla Grahm paced the Tologs by finishing 23rd in 20:10, while teammates Jacquie Scherrer (28th, 20:27), Maddie Peterson (32nd, 20:34) and Gabby Fitzpatrick (34th, 20:35) all finished in the top 50.
Unfortunately, Glendale's Leana Setian had her season conclude as she finished 25th (19:36) in the Division I first heat and was unable to advance as an individual qualifier.
Hoover's Jeremy Zadoorian just missed the cut, as well, in his Division III third heat, taking 15th in 15:58.