LA CRESCENTA — There was a red uniform in a sea of maroon in the boys’ race at Thursday’s Pacific League cross-country finals.
Running against a talented Arcadia High team, Burroughs’ Anthony Monroy did all he could to break up the Apaches pack at the event at Crescenta Valley Park.
In contrast to the ultra-close girls’ meet, was the boys’ meet, one in which Arcadia flexed its might at an alarming rate, taking five of the top six slots and seven of the first eight. The Apaches won with 18 points, while Burroughs took second with 59, followed by Crescenta Valley (87) edging Burbank (91) for third for the first time this season.
“They just keep improving every year,” said Burroughs’ Anthony Monroy, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Runner of the Year, who was the only non-Arcadia runner in the top eight, taking third in 15 minutes 32.05 seconds.
The Apaches, ranked second in the nation by ESPN RISE and first in CIF Southern Section Division I, were led by league champion Ammar Moussa (15:26.11), who cruised across the finish line right next to teammate Sergio Gonzalez (second; 15:26.32).
Monroy came in shortly thereafter, more than 25 seconds in front of the fourth-place finisher.
“I’m happy,” said Monroy of his performance. “I was just trying to keep it under control. It’s kinda hot today, I didn’t want to go out too fast.”
In the shadows of Arcadia’s dominance, Burroughs was once more impressive in firmly entrenching itself as the No. 2 team in league, with Charlie Camacho running an impressive race, taking 10th in 16:42.60. A pack of Indians soon followed with Alex Quispe (14th; 17:00.15) and Kamal Chahal (15th; 17:06.89) finishing just in front of CV’s Bob Anderson (16th; 17:10.77) before Burroughs’ scoring five was closed out by Alex Martinez (17th; 17:15.91).
“We’re doing really great,” said Monroy of the Indians, who are striving to advance as a team to the CIF finals after falling short a season ago. “We just keep improving. We just keep practicing and we’re hoping to make it even farther than we did last year.”
The Falcons and Bulldogs tied for third in the season standings on the strength of CV’s third-place finish on Thursday. It came a bit surprisingly as Burbank’s Sergio Fraire ran one of his most impressive races to date, finishing ninth in 16:37.98 with teammate Jacob Jun not far behind in 12th at 16:46.71. In contrast for CV, lead runner Mike Duncan (11th; 16:44.55) struggled by his standards, but Anderson and the rest of the Falcons’ scoring five came up large.
Andrew Wernstrum (22nd; 17:28.78), Jonathan Cisneros (23rd; 17:29.03) and Kevin Coronel (25th; 17:44.12) also scored for the Bulldogs.
With their backs against the wall and their string of Pacific League titles hanging in the balance, the members of the Crescenta Valley girls’ team came through in the clutch once more.
In a race decided by the slimmest of margins and the fleet feet of every Falcon from lead runner Claudia Pham to No. 6 runner Ali Johnson, Crescenta Valley nudged past archrival Arcadia, 31-32, thereby earning a share of its eighth straight league title in the process.
“We didn’t talk too much about the streak,” said Falcons Coach Mark Evans of his team’s focus entering the meet after having finished behind Arcadia in each of the first two league meets. “We talked about wanting to win league championships, beating Arcadia and running to our capabilities.”
Pham led the Falcons’ charge, finishing second in 18: 54.28 seconds behind league champion Catrina McAlister (18:52.59), but the race came down to the very end and then some, as Johnson’s 11th-place finish in 20:29.24 saw her cross the line in front of Arcadia’s No. 5 finisher at 12th. Had the roles been reversed, the teams would’ve tied at 31 and Arcadia would have won the title outright.
After the Falcons edged past the Apaches, Burbank, led by a fourth-place finish from McKenzie Paul (19:19.94) , took third with 71 points, with Burroughs a distant fourth with 119 points.
Traditionally, McAlister and the Apaches are known for taking out races fast and that didn’t really change this time around, but the Falcons matched their aggressiveness.
"[McAlister] got a good start,” Paul said. “After that, CV pretty much took over. I think it was who had more heart and guts because of the heat. I guess I could’ve dug down deeper.
“I guess it was a good end to the season. I just have to look forward to CIF.
“I can’t hold back from now on.”
Running one of her best races to date, Pham stayed close to McCalister throughout as she set the tone for the Falcons’ triumph.
After the first mile, aside from Paul, the top 10 runners were all Falcons and Apaches. With one mile left to go, the race was scored as a dead heat. It turned for good with the emergence of Johnson, as she moved up and into the 11th spot to secure the victory.
CV sophomore Hannah Ruby also ran well, taking 13th in 20:41.94, just in front of Burbank’s Christina Shamirian (14th; 20:53.60).
Other Burbank scorers were Kayla Martil (16th; 21:16.87), Griselda Pereya (17th; 21;19.41), and CJ Chua (20th; 21:42.07).
Scoring for Burroughs were Brice Edrington (18th; 21:30.58), Cracia Inocentia (19th; 21:31.20), Giovanna Carrasco (26th; 22:24.89), Kristen Burroughs (27th; 22:36.32) and Rita Murphy (29th; 23:08.23).
Next up for the top four finishers in league will be CIF prelims on Nov. 13 at Mount San Antonio College.