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Burbank sending both its teams to CIF competition

Jeff Tully

Burbank High boys’ cross-country Coach Bob Shaw had no worries at the

Foothill League final.

With his team almost assured of a trip to the CIF Southern Section


Division I preliminaries, Shaw was the personification of calmness.

However, for Bulldog girls’ Coach Darin Wolf, he admitted he was

probably more nervous than his runners Thursday at the Griffith Park

meet, as his team was fighting for a postseason berth.


Turns out Wolf had nothing to worry about, as his Bulldogs stepped

up and turned back Hart to place third in league and earn their

second straight trip to the prelims.

The prelims will be held Nov. 15 at Mount San Antonio College in


“I guess I can take a deep breath and relax now,” said a relieved

Wolf after he figured out his team’s score. “All the pieces of the

puzzle fit together today.


“Coming in, we knew the boys’ team really had nothing to worry

about. It was just a matter of if they would finish second or third.

“But for the girls’ team, we had to finish ahead of Hart to make

it to CIF. That was our goal for this meet.”

On the three-mile course, Burbank did what it had to do to qualify

-- and more. The Bulldogs placed all seven of their runners -- only

the first five score -- before Hart’s No. 4 runner.

In the invitational-scoring format, where dual-meet results are


combined with the league final results, Canyon -- ranked No 4 in

Division I -- finished first with 20 points, and was followed by

Saugus (15), Burbank (11), Hart (10), Valencia (3) and Burroughs (1).

The Bulldogs were paced by freshman Michelle Horgan, who finished

ninth in 19 minutes 53 seconds. Teammates Nellie Shamirian (14th;

20:53), Amanda Browne (16th; 21:04), Melissa Edwards (18th; 21:16)

and Allison Ivie (22nd; 21:46) rounded out the Burbank scoring.

With a week to prepare for the prelims, Wolf said his team is

going to have to keep improving if it hopes to qualify for the finals

for the first time since 1978.

“We have been improving and getting faster every week,” Wolf said.

“But we are going to have to get faster for another week.”

Hart freshman Brooke Russell won the race in 18:37.

Although her team didn’t qualify for the prelims, Burroughs junior

Katie Vahoviak earned a berth in CIF competition by finishing fourth

in 19:18. It is Vahoviak’s third straight trip to the prelims.

Vahoviak also earns all-league honors.

With no chance of placing in the varsity race, Burroughs Coach

John Peebles dropped some of his younger runners down to the

sophomore-freshman race, where they could hopefully get higher


Sophomore Adriana Powers, who ran varsity all of last season,

placed second in the soph-frosh race in 20:32.

“I think it was better for me to run in this race, with runners

closer to my ability,” Powers said. “If I ran in the varsity race, I

probably wouldn’t have finished in the top 20.

“I’m happy that I was able to finish second in a race, even if it

was the soph-frosh race.

In the boys’ race, Burbank also finished ahead of Hart to nail

down second place in league. Canyon -- ranked seventh in Division I

-- placed first (20 points), followed by the Bulldogs (14), Hart

(14), Valencia (5), Saugus (4) and Burroughs (3).

The Bulldogs received another fine performance from senior Preston

Richardson, who finished second in 16:22.

Richardson shaved 17 seconds of his time from the first league

meet Sept. 25.

However, Canyon’s Jace Getskow -- who was first in 16:17 --

whittled 30 seconds off his time from the first league meet.

“Preston really wanted to win that race,” Shaw said. “Our strategy

was for him to be at least 40 yards in front of Jace at about the

two-mile mark.

“Preston was ahead at two miles, but it was only 20 yards, not 40.

And that’s just not enough with a runner like him. So he was able to

catch Preston and win the race,”

Bulldog Ryan Christoffersen also had a good race, as he placed

eighth in 16:55. Also scoring were Kevin Christoffersen (18th;

17:42), Rick Bennett (19th; 17:53) and Eric Christoffersen (20th;


Aram Setaghian, who is usually among the Bulldogs’ top five

runners, placed 26th in 18:20.

Burbank -- which moves up from Division II to Division I -- is

making its fourth trip to the prelims in five seasons. The Bulldogs

also qualified for the state final in 2000 and 2002.

Daniel Anderson (13th; 17:24) was the Indians’ top finisher.