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Next budding dynasty looking to make its mark

Charles Rich

An embarrassment of riches are neatly stashed at Flintridge Prep.

The courses at Crescenta Valley Park, Mount San Antonio College

and Fresno’s Woodward Park might need to be repaired if it’s up to

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the Flintridge Prep boys’ cross-country team.

Flintridge Prep Coach Ingrid Herskind will have the luxury to pick

and choose who she’ll have run in the 10-plus meets that the Rebels

will compete in after finishing second in CIF Southern Section

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Division V competition and third in the state last season.

Herskind, who will begin her sixth season as coach, will have a

hodge-podge of veteran leadership to intertwine with youth that’s

expected to keep the Rebels’ success rate climbing.

“This will be one of the best mixes of talent we’ve had in some

time,” Herskind said.

“Anybody can fit in the mix and we have the luxury of additional

flexibility. We have about 10 freshmen coming in and I don’t know if

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they’ll be on the varsity team.”

Coaches at La Canada, Crescenta Valley, St. Francis, Hoover and

Glendale probably wish they could borrow some of Herskind’s excessive

talent. Hoover lost Coach Greg Switzer, who retired after 16 seasons

and shaped the Tornadoes into a force in CIF Division I competition.

CV will bring back some key athletes to help defend its Pacific

League championship. La Canada, St. Francis and Glendale will look to

turn the heat up on its league competitors and win league titles.

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The Falcons will return Chris Snyder and Ben Kessen and the

Spartans can turn to senior standout Michael Collins. Hoover will

rely on seniors Elmer Gomez and Jose Rodriguez. Glendale and St.

Francis will count on Justin McNeil and Pat Donovan, respectively.

Key meets like the Kenny Staub, Bell-Jeff and Mount SAC

invitationals and league will determine where each runner will stand

entering the CIF-State Cross-Country Championship on Nov. 30 at

Woodward Park.

Each squad will have less than three months to prepare for Nov.

30, the loftiest date on the cross-country calendar.

The Rebels are considered the odds-on favorite to win their 11th

consecutive Prep League championship. Flintridge Prep is the

preseason’s top-ranked team in the state in Division V by California

Track and Running News, the authority on high school cross-country

and track in California. Of the top 10 teams in the state --

according to Cal Track -- seven are from the Southern Section

including defending champion Riverside Woodcrest Christian and

Brentwood.

“Cross-Country is a pure sport and there’s no subjectivity because

you have to put in the work to improve,” Herskind said. “At

Flintridge Prep, it doesn’t matter what grade level you are in.

There’s no favoritism here and it’s you and the time you record on

the clock. It comes from the top down to generate enthusiasm.”

Enthusiasm has covered the Rebels, who have won two state titles

and earned two second-place finishes under Herskind.

The Rebels will rely on seniors Seth Horwitz and Prescott Gadd and

sophomores Tom McLean, Tony Myint and Gus Zoell.


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