BURBABK — Burbank High senior McKenzie Paul looks to be on track to accomplish an impressive triple.
The past two seasons, Paul — the 2010 All-Area Female Cross-Country Runner of the Year — has captured back-to-back Pacific League championships in the girls' 800 meters. She will get a chance to pull off the trifecta at the league finals at 5 p.m. Friday at Arcadia High.
In the league preliminaries last Friday at Arcadia, Paul earned the top qualifying spot in the 800 and bested the second-place finisher by more than four seconds. Paul turned in a time of 2 minutes 17.72 seconds to finish in front of Apachies' sophomore Glindyll Mancia (2:22.24).
Paul also ran to a first-place qualifying mark in the 1,600, finishing first by more than six seconds. Paul (5:16.66) placed ahead of Crescenta Valley sophomore Cali King (5:23.18).
"She is definitely going to run both events and she is hoping for a three-peat in the 800," Burbank Coach Darin Wolf said of Paul. "McKenzie will be going against a pair of Arcadia runners who are going to be fresh in the 800. Those runners also qualified in the 400 but they will just run the 800."
Paul won't be the only athlete from Burbank and Burroughs in action at the finals, as both schools had their share of qualifiers in the prelims.
Teammate Haley Pirruccello qualified in three individual events. Not only did she have the top qualifying mark in the 100 hurdles (16.77), but the junior also qualified in the 300 hurdles (third; 50.62) and the 100 (third; 12.90).
Paul and Pirruccello were the only locals to earn No. 1 seedings in the prelims.
In the 100, Burroughs' Shannon Kermah (fourth; 12.75) qualified, as did teammate Nohely Romero (ninth; 13.27). Indians Paris Vaughn (fourth; 27.00), Romero (seventh; 27.48) and Sofija Stojkovic (ninth; 27.65) advanced in the 200.
Another pair of Indians, Gabby Pinerio (seventh; 1:04.02) and Kristen Burroughs (ninth; 1:05.12), made it through in the 400. Teammate Gracia Innocentia (seventh; 2:28.85) qualified in the 800 and Bulldogs' Christina Shamirian (seventh; 5:34.52) made it in the 1,600.
Indians' Amoni Alexander (fourth; 16.79) and Burbank's Hannah Barlow (eighth; 18.42) both made it in the 100 hurdles and Barlow (sixth; 50.66), along with Burroughs' Tessa Chandler (ninth; 52.56), qualified in the 300 hurdles.
On the boys' side, three athletes had runner-up efforts in the prelims: Burbank's Isaiah Amos-Nshimba (2:00.47) in the 800, Burroughs' Devin Rosas (50.76) in the 400 and teammate Alejandro Rosas (16.14) in the 110 hurdles.
Devin Rosas (seventh; 23.35) also qualified in the 200, Alejandro Rosas (fourth; 42.04) pushed through in the 300 hurdles, Brandon Andrade (third; 2:03.07) also qualified in the 800, Burbank's Ryan Slater made it in the 110 hurdles (sixth; 17.09) and the 300 hurdles (fifth; 42.55). Also making it in the 300 hurdles was Burroughs athletes Timmy Johnson (seventh; 44.60) and Brandon Bu (ninth; 45.36).
Relay races, the 3,200 and field events were not contested at the prelims, as league champions will be determined at the finals.
One of the top athletes in those events is Burroughs senior Anthony Monroy. Monroy, a two time All-Area Male Cross-Country Runner of the Year, advanced to last season's Masters Meet in the boys' 3,200.