Burroughs gunning for CIF

Jeff Tully

At this time last year, the Burbank High boys' and girls'

cross-country teams were on their way to securing top-three finishes

in the Foothill League, and automatic postseason berths.

The Bulldog boys' team placed second in league in 2003, and the

girls finished third, earning spots in the CIF Southern Section

Division I preliminaries.

However, this season, the power among the area schools has

shifted, and it's the Burroughs squads that are in the running for

CIF spots.

In Thursday's second league meet of the season at Griffith Park,

the Indian boys placed second and the Indian girls held down the

third-place spot.

The Burroughs teams bettered their finishes from the first league

meet Sept. 23, when the boys placed third and the girls were fourth.

If both teams finish among the top three in the league finals Nov.

4, they will secure places in the CIF preliminaries.

"We knew this is what the boys' team is capable of doing," said

Burroughs Coach John Peebles, whose squad finished ahead of Hart

Thursday, a team that placed second in the first league meet.

"We just have to keep up the effort and continue to work hard for

the league finals."

In the dual-meet scoring, Canyon (5-0) won its second straight

contest. It was followed by Burroughs (4-1), Hart (3-2), Valencia

(2-3), Burbank (1-4) and Saugus (0-5).

The boys' race was won by the Cowboys' Adam McDonald, who ran the

three-mile course in 16 minutes 41 seconds.

Burroughs' Daniel Anderson had a strong outing, placing third in


"Since he ran well in the Kenny Staub [Invitational on Oct. 2],

Daniel's confidence has been on the rise," Peebles said. "I think he

now realizes he has the ability to run good races."

Indian Adrian Harrison also ran well, coming in fifth place in

17:09. Teammates Morgan Walker (11th; 17:48), Kyle Hazlewood (12th;

17:55) and Josh Bentancourt (22nd; 18:11) also scored for Burroughs.

Also running for the team was Kent Melendez (25th; 18:18) and Alex

Sandoval (35th; 19:02).

Burbank was paced by Ryan Christoffersen, who was fourth in 17:02.

Also scoring for the Bulldogs was Kevin Christoffersen (16th; 18:01),

Eric Christoffersen (24th; 18:16), Matthew Carey (31st; 18:29) and

Wyatt Kessler (33rd; 18:51). Andrew Harris (39th; 19:48) also


On the girls' side, Burbank and Burroughs received their share of

gutsy performances.

The top female runner in the area -- Indian senior Katie Vahoviak

-- was questionable for the race. Vahoviak strained a ligament in her

right foot last week and missed four days of training, as she

experienced a considerable amount of pain.

After a pain-free warmup, Vahoviak -- who has qualified for CIF

prelims as an individual three straight years -- decided to run. The

decision paid off for Burroughs, as she finished second in 19:43.

Although Vahoviak could have sat out the race and concentrated on

qualifying for the postseason individually at the league finals, she

said she wanted to compete to help her team stay in the running for a

CIF spot.

"I really don't care about making it as an individual," said the

2003 All-Area standout. "It means more to me that we make it a team.

I want the other girls to be able to experience what it's like to run

in CIF."

Shannon Murakami of Saugus won the girls' race in 19:12.

Canyon (5-0) -- ranked No. 7 in Division I -- won the meet,

finishing ahead of Saugus (4-1), Burroughs (3-2), Hart (2-3), Burbank

(1-4) and Valencia (0-5).

One of the keys to Burroughs' success was the effort turned in by

junior Brenda Santana, who came in 27th in 22:44 to account for the

Indians' fifth runner.

"Brenda ran the race of her life," Peebles said.

Burroughs' Adriana Powers (10th; 20:38), Sadee Martinez (14th;

21:02) and Michelle Martinez (15th; 21:02) also scored. Teammate

Kerry Hodgins (38th; 25:04) and Kimmi White (42nd; 28:13) also


It was a tough day for Burbank, as the Bulldog girls were fighting

to stay in CIFcontention after finishing third in the first league


However, with runners Kiran Jolly and Michelle Horgan hobbled by

injuries, the Bulldogs just weren't able to compete.

"Those two girls [Jolly and Horgan] haven't worked out for

two-and-a-half weeks, and you could tell they were still hurting from

their injuries," Burbank girls' Coach Darin Wolf said.

"Injuries affect a team like ours more than a team that has more

depth. It's just unfortunate it had to turn out like this.

"But I'll say one thing. T

Bulldogs' chances of making it to the prelims.

Amanda Browne (19th; 21:49) led Burbank. She was followed by

Natasha Christoffersen (20th; 21:49), Allison Ivie (22nd; 22:14),

Clair Bent (33rd; 23:31), Emily Ambrose (35th; 24:18), Jolly (37th;

24:46) and Horgan (39th; 25:20).

"It's a really bad break for the girls' team because we had so

many expectations this season," boys' Coach Bob Shaw said. "But you

can't do anything about injuries. Sometimes injuries just happen."

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