RIVERSIDE — No teams were able to earn titles Saturday at the CIF Southern Section finals at the Riverside Cross-Country Course.
However, two squads earned second-place finishes in their respective divisions, while another team kept its season alive and four individuals earned spots in next Saturday’s CIF State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno.
The Crescenta Valley High boys qualified for state competition for the second straight year, while the Flintridge Prep boys’ and girls’ teams also earned spots in Fresno with runner-up efforts.
La Cañada will send a sophomore girls’ individual to state and the Spartans will have their first boys’ runner since 1999, while Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy will see junior Lauren Nettels compete this week. In addition, Holy Family will be represented with an individual at state.
Crescenta Valley, fresh off winning a second straight Pacific League championship, placed two runners in the top 15 for a fifth-place finish with 83 points.
“I think we’re closer to teams like Long Beach Poly and West Ranch than we’ve been in the last couple of races where we’ve seen them, so we’re making progress there,” Crescenta Valley coach Mark Evans said. “We’re really happy. We felt like we could get a good, solid race in and we could finish in the top seven.
“We were getting a little greedy, hoping to get fourth and beat somebody for a third, but we’re happy with where we are.”
Junior Dylan Wilbur spearheaded the Falcons with a 12th-place finish in 14 minutes, 51.6 seconds over the three-mile course.
“This course is definitely a lot different than [Mount San Antonio College],” Wilbur said. “It’s a lot flatter so there’s nothing out there that’s going to slow you down, so coming in to that last stretch, it’s really all about who can have that resilience in that last part of the race to seal the deal. It was interesting to put that together today.”
Falcons senior Mann Vats placed 14th in 14:52.7, right behind Wilbur to help solidify the Crescenta Valley state qualification.
“It sets us up really well because going into the state meet as fifth in Southern Section Division I is a really great [feeling],” said Vats, who won the league’s individual title. “It’s even better than what we ran here last year. We were not too far behind fourth place today, so we can set goals for Saturday to maintain our place or even run better than we did today.”
Crescenta Valley senior Grant Lauterback (42nd; 15:20.2), junior Erik Faeustle (61st; 15:28.5) and senior Evan Doloszyci (76th; 15:40.0) rounded out the Falcons top five.
La Cañada, Flintridge Sacred Heart and Holy Family all have individuals running in next Saturday’s meet, while St. Francis sees making it to its first CIF finals in eight years as a sign of growth.
The Flintridge Prep boys’ and girls’ teams placed second in their Division V races, both behind top-seed St. Margarets.
The Rebels boys’ team scored 111 points, while the girls’ squad had 89.
“We’ve known St. Margarets was a threat since the first meet of the season,” Flintridge Prep girls’ coach Jill Henry said. “They’re a solid team.
“What I liked about our squad today was that our third and fourth runners were able to get in there and broke up their powerful pack and that’s not something we’ve been able to do yet. So there’s a lot to be excited for. All of them are thinking of how better they can execute for next weekend. It’s kind of nice to be the underdog.”
Rebels senior Haley Allen finished sixth in 18:37.2, followed by senior Sasha Codiga (10th; 19:00.3), junior Lian Morrissey (23rd; 19:31.7), senior Hope Codiga (24th; 19:32.3) and senior Caroline Wreszin (43rd; 20:27.4).
Both teams had four top-25 finishers.
“We’ve been trying to get healthy, sharpening up and focusing on these next two meets [the CIF finals and state],” Flintridge Prep boys’ coach Scott Jung said. “St. Margarets is a very tough team. We’re just happy with the teams we beat today, because there were some strong teams that had beaten us a couple of weeks ago, so we’re happy and we have one more week to go.”
Prep League champion Carson Hasbrouck led the Rebels squad in 13th with a 16:01.6. Sophomore Bennett Oakes (16th; 16:10.9), with senior Sebastian Evans (23rd; 16:31.3), sophomore Hudson Billock (25th; 16:32.4) and junior Grady Morrissey (59th; 17:07.2) trickling in after.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy paced 12th and scored 320 in the Division IV race.
Tologs junior Nettels qualified for the state competition with her 10th-place finish in 18:10.6.
“The hardest race is over, now I’m just really excited that there’s really not going to be a ton of pressure at state,” Nettels said. “I think that will help me do better and I’ll have the whole team to support me.”
Sophomore Alex Christodoulou (58th; 19:20.7) and seniors Samantha Covey (63rd; 19:28.2), Megan Koehler (79th; 19:43.5) and Eria Wei (126th; 21:04.7) rounded out the Tologs contingent.
“Everybody ran well,” Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy coach Kirk Nishiyama said. “Our weakness has been that five all year, but I’m really proud of our girls. They ran their best.
“Lauren, that was a really great race for her. She’s been one of our top runners all year, and we’ve been trying to get her to believe she can do it and she did it.”
The La Cañada girls’ team raced alongside the Tologs and came in 15th with 364 points, led by sophomore Rio Hondo League champion Ellaney Matarese (13th; 18:24.3).
“I’m really happy to be able to qualify for state, and I think that each race has propelled me further into a great postseason,” Matarese said. “It’s a little more nerve-wracking since I don’t have the whole team there with me.”
Senior Owen Serricchio’s 14th place finish in 15:34.5 made him the first La Cañada boys’ individual runner since Ryan Burnett in 1999.
“The runners were different,” Serricchio said. “They went out really fast and just had to make up a lot of space.”
The Spartans as a team placed 22nd and scored 542 with juniors Sheldon Watanabe (129th; 17:28.7), Max Fan (134th; 17:42.2) and Max Bohan Apfeldorf (18:07.2) and sophomore Jaden Milbrodt (138th; 17:46.5).
St. Francis, placed ahead of La Cañada in the Division IV boys’ race, finishing 21st with 504 points.
“We came in ranked essentially 24th out of 24 and we finished 21st as a team,” St. Francis coach Pat Donovan said. “With the exception of one senior that ran today that did not run last week, everybody’s returning next year, so we were really happy to be here.
Golden Knights junior Stuart Serventi led the team in 65th place in 16:32.8, and was followed by junior Jason Suh (100th; 16:56.4), sophomores Brady McNulty (112nd; 17:08.1) and Lars Martin (125th; 17:24.3), freshman Timothy Parisi (126th; 17:25.3) and senior Nico Ciranna (132nd; 17:38.8).
“We’re using this as experience and we’re looking to turn some heads next year,” Donovan said. “It’s been an uphill battle to get back to the CIF finals in the last eight years, and we come back and race well at prelims to make it to finals and today was icing on the cake.”.
Holy Family junior Brianna Cindrich also qualified for state as she claimed the final berth with a 19:09.6 time, good for 11th place, in the Division V girls’ race.
La Crescenta resident Mia Barnett of Village Christian defended her Division V individual crown as the sophomore ran to a first-place finish in 17:55.1.