JOHNNY CARSON PARK — Anthony Monroy hurriedly jogged away to the finish line Thursday afternoon after winning the boys' portion of the 21st Burbank All-City Cross-Country Meet at Johnny Carson Park.
The Burroughs senior had just won the race in record time, capturing his third straight city championship. But instead of heading out on his cool-down, Monroy made his way to the front of the finish chute. There he cheered on his teammates, often bending over trying to recover from his run. He stayed until every Indian runner finished.
As a senior, Monroy feels he has to be a leader on his team, as he helped pace the Indians to the CIF Southern Section finals for the first time in 30 years in 2010.
"It's my last year, so I definitely have to set an example for the other guys," said Monroy, who navigated the relatively flat 2.6-mile course in 12 minutes 50 seconds, breaking the old course record of 12:59 set in 2007 by Western Nelson of Burroughs. "That's something that I've got to do."
Although Monroy won the boys' portion of the meet — which also featured Providence and Bellarmine-Jefferson — it was a Burbank sweep, as the Bulldogs captured both portions of the team competition.
Burbank's Christina Shamirian won the girls' race in 16:28.
Monroy, who qualified for the CIF-State Cross-Country Championships last season, has been nursing a foot injury that plagued him during his junior track and field season. He is hoping that he is able to stay healthy and be the first Burroughs runner since Nelson in 2006-07 to qualify for state competition two consecutive years.
"I felt pretty good today," said Monroy, the 2009 and 2010 All-Area Boys' Cross-Country Runner of the Year. "I'm just trying to get over the injury. It's been pretty frustrating, not being able to run for a few weeks because of it. But I just have to take care of it and take every precaution that I can."
Burbank placed first with a score of 26, just edging out Burroughs (30). The Guards (91) were third, followed by the Pioneers (108).
Behind Monroy, Bulldogs runners were able to capture four of the next five slots. The runner-up was Burbank's Sergio Fraire (13:13). He was followed by teammates Isaiah Amos (third; 13:18), Bernie Corea (fourth; 13:22), Jonathan Stoll (sixth; 13:30) and Marco Neskovic (11th; 13:49).
"We just told the guys to forget about Monroy," Burbank Coach Trevor Marca said. "We just wanted to have a strong pack, two through seven, and we did pretty well with that."
Burroughs' top-five finishers also included Kamal Chahal (fifth; 13:34), Charlie Camacho (seventh; 13:32), Brandon Andrade (ninth; 13:43) and Ryan Johnson (ninth; 13:43).
Bell-Jeff's top finisher was Gabe Ellman, who placed 24th in 15:11. He was followed by Charles Solomon (26th; 15:11), Anthony Zapata (29th; 16:37), Christian Calvo (35th; 17:32) and Fernando DeLaPena (36th; 17:37).
The Pioneers' scorers were Aaron Zeigler (30th; 17:07), Marcus LoVett (33rd; 17:14), Andrew Carrillo (34th; 17:18), Robert Tolentino (39th; 18:38) and Eddie Lopez (40th; 18:39).
Shamirian had a tough battle in her race, as Burroughs' Gracia Innocentia led for most of the competition. But Shamirian waited and made her move with only a few hundred yards remaining in the race, edging out Innocentia (16:29) my a mere second.
"I was hoping that she was going to slow down, but I figured that I would just have to go for it," Shamirian said. "I was just able to have a kick at the end."
Shamirian helped the Bulldogs (27) to a slim victory against the Indians (31). The Guards (85) placed third and the Pioneers didn't have enough runners to score.
After the Indians placed a wedge between Shamirian and the other Bulldogs runners, taking the second through fourth spots, Burbank captured the next five spots, as Kristen Fregoso (fifth; 16:58), Kayla Martil (sixth; 17:06), Arlette Movesyan (seventh; 17:07) and Daisy Ignacio (eighth; 17:10) came through the chute.
The remainder of the top five for Burroughs consisted of Brice Edrington (third; 16:36), Giovanna Larrasco (fourth; 16:54), Alondra Santeliz (10th; 17:16) and Miranda Acosta (13th; 17:37).
The Bell-Jeff scorers were Mackenzie Dowling (27th; 18:49), Sarah Alas-Viana (37th; 19:40), Sarah Poblano (52nd; 21:34), Jessica Pereyra (53rd; 21:38) and Krystal Ordonez (60th; 26:22).
The Providence finishers were Kelly Castillo (34th; 19:36), Jaii Jiang (47th; 20:16), Samantha Granados (57th; 23:17) and Aleyandra Garcia (59th; 23:51).