Katie Vahoviak stood adjacent to the finish chute at Mount San
Antonio College, hands on her hips, eyes looking at the ground in
Even though the Burroughs High junior cross-country standout was
being consoled by members of her family and Indian Coach John Peebles
following her race at the CIF Southern Section Division II
preliminaries, Vahoviak’s body language served as a symbol for what
the majority of the local distance runners were feeling at some point
After a breakout season that included a fourth-place finish at the
Foothill League final, Vahoviak joined a list of local talents who
fell short in their quest to reach their respective division final,
as she took 34th in her heat in 20 minutes 9 seconds, a mark 39
seconds behind her time at the 56th annual Mount SAC Invitational on
Following a long day of 27 boys’ and girls’ heats spread over five
divisions, only the Bellarmine-Jefferson girls’ squad survived to
race again on the 2.91-mile course Saturday in the Division V final.
The Guards -- led by Pharrin Lewis’ fourth-place effort in 20:39
-- took sixth in their heat to qualify 13th overall in the division
entering Saturday’s race at 9:45 a.m. The Guards would have to move
up six spots to qualify for the CIF-State Cross-Country Championships
on Nov. 29 at Fresno’s Woodward Park.
Amber Herkey (30th; 22:30), Erin Madrid (32nd; 22:37), Cynthia
Hajj (52nd; 23:49) and Shenandoah Fasano (62nd; 24:16) rounded out
the quintet of scoring runners for Jim Couch’s squad.
Aside from Bell-Jeff’s success, the best effort of the day might
have come from an individual who didn’t qualify for Saturday’s
Burbank’s Michelle Horgan continued her late-season surge,
clocking 19:05 to take 11th in the last of four Division I heats,
leading the Bulldogs to a seventh-place effort. Unfortunately for the
freshman, only individuals finishing in the top six from
non-qualifying teams advanced to Saturday’s final.
Melissa Edwards (40th; 20:20), Amanda Browne (42nd; 20:23), Nelly
Shamirian (43rd; 20:25), Allison Ivie (53rd; 20:50), Kiran Jolly
(54th; 20:52), and Emily Ambrose (81st; 22:17) rounded out the
Bulldogs’ effort, which produced a team time that was around 90
seconds faster than at the Mount SAC Invitational.
After reaching the state meet two of the past three years in
Division II, the Burbank boys found their debut at the Division I
prelims to be a tough one, as the Bulldogs took ninth in their heat.
Senior Preston Richardson finished 15th in 15:59, which was 16
seconds behind his time at the Mount SAC Invitational. Ryan
Christoffersen (23rd; 16:09), Kevin Christoffersen (59th; 16:46),
Aram Sahagian (68th; 17:07) and Eric Christoffersen (81st; 17:32)
completed the list of scoring runners for Bob Shaw’s squad.
With usual front-runner Gerad Herkey slowed by a hip injury --
resulting in a 32nd-place finish in 17:37 -- the Bell-Jeff boys only
managed to take 11th in their Division V heat, led by Jeff Pang’s
16th-place finish in 17:01.
Joshua Lepe (69th; 18:59), John Zeithlian (114th; 24:06) and Jeff
Grubb (115th; 24:24) rounded out the scoring runners for the Guards.
Providence’s Nadia Simon took 33rd in her Division IV heat,