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Flintridge Prep girls' team leads way for cross-country group at state meet

FRESNO — One of the most impressive streaks in Division V girls’ cross-country history continued Saturday for Flintridge Prep at the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park.

Another might just be beginning for Village Christian sophomore Mia Barnett in the same division.

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Although Flintridge Prep wasn’t able to capture a fifth consecutive title and break a tie with San Francisco University — which won four in a row from 2009-12 — for the all-time division record, the Rebels still secured a spot on the podium for the sixth straight season by placing third with 166 points.

Only Flintridge Prep and Great Oak, which captured a seventh consecutive Division I title Saturday, have made the podium the past six years in any girls’ division.

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Lick-Wilmerding captured its first Division V title in program history besting St. Margaret’s, 97-103.

Barnett, a La Crescenta resident, placed second by covering the 5-kilometer course in a personal-best time of 18 minutes, 19.7 seconds, with Healdsburg senior Gabrielle Peterson winning the title in 17:44.3.

“My goal for the season was to win state, but Gabrielle Peterson really had a great race and she was super strong,” said Barnett, who improved 39 seconds from her 12th-place finish last year.

“She got me a little bit on the hill and it was hard to recover, but I’m happy with my time. It’s an improvement from the other two times I’ve run here. I definitely know the things I need to work on for next year and hopefully I can come back with the win. But I improved, so I’m happy.”

Despite returning only three athletes — Haley Allen, Hope Codiga and Sasha Codiga — who contributed to help the team win its fourth consecutive state championship last year, Flintridge Prep still managed to place second Nov. 17 to St. Margaret’s at the CIF Southern Section finals, before adding to its legacy Saturday at Woodward Park.

“It’s been an amazing day and an amazing season,” said Allen, who finished 24th in 19:44.5.

“I don’t think I’ve been surrounded by a harder-working team than this one, so even though we may not have gotten first today, this has been one of the most meaningful podium experiences for me.”

Flintridge Prep joined Great Oak, Saugus and San Francisco University last season as the only girls’ teams in state history to win four consecutive championships in any division. But just like the podium streak started in 2013 with a hard-fought, third-place finish, it continued with another determined performance to cap the careers of the Rebels’ four seniors in impressive fashion.

“It makes me so proud to be part of this team. We knew it was going to be a battle from the beginning, but I’ve never seen us work this hard in our whole four seasons together,” said Hope Codiga, who placed 46th in 20:21.6.

“It means the world to me that everyone gave everything they had today and that we got on the podium again. I’m so thankful to have this team and these coaches and the past four years have been incredible.”

Junior Liana Morrissey finished 35th in 20:05.1, followed by senior Sasha Codiga taking 36th in 20:08. Senior Caroline Wreszin was 94th in 21:29.9, with sophomores Katie Bennett (23:27.5) and Genevieve Harvey (23:44.7) finishing 158th and 168th, respectively.

“Our coaches told us for six months that whatever twists and turns the season takes, and we definitely had our ups and downs, that when we crossed that line, we made sure we knew we had given every last single bit of energy, heart, guts, grit, everything we had,” Sasha Codiga said. “Having that pay off on the podium again and us being here all together means everything.”

Holy Family junior Brianna Cindrich finished 61st in her Division V state finals debut in 20:47.6.

Flintridge Prep’s boys were looking to return to the podium following a fourth-place effort in Division V last year, but despite five athletes boasting previous state finals experience, the Rebels finished sixth with 211 points.

Carson Hasbrouck placed 16th in 16:26.6 and Bennett Oakes took 20th in 16:38.4 for Flintridge Prep, which was trying to add to its all-time state record with a 17th podium finish.

Hudson Billick secured 53rd in 17:20.7, Ethan Moutes was 73rd in 17:35.1, Grady Morrissey finished 122nd in 18:10.6, Daniel Kotlyar took 137th in 18:21.7 and Seb Evans rounded out the Rebels’ lineup in 159th, clocking 18:46.3.

Providence senior Nick Montijo, the first runner in school history to advance to the state cross country finals, placed 34th in Division V in 16:55. Montijo arrived at Providence following the closure of Bellarmine-Jefferson High and put together a memorable fall season, which included an eighth-place effort Nov. 17 at the CIF Southern Section finals.

“It’s an amazing feeling and it’s really an honor to represent Providence at this level, because it wasn’t just my first time here, it was the school’s first time as well,” Montijo said.

“It’s been crazy, especially with the transfer. I thought, at first, it might slow me down mentally because I didn’t have the people around me I was accustomed to training with. But it’s been great working with [Coach Michelle Boucher] and this was a good learning experience for me. It went out really fast, but I gave it my all.”

Crescenta Valley, which returned only Manan Vats and Dylan Wilbur from last year’s fifth-place lineup, finished eighth in Division I with 209 points.

Vats clocked 15:33.3 for 22nd place and Wilbur ran 15:39.9 for 26th.

“Before the season started, we weren’t even ranked top 40 (overall) in the state, so to be in the top 10 again in Division I and be able to run with the best teams in California is a big accomplishment,” Vats said.

“I was shooting for the top 10, individually, and I was working really hard to stay on the back end of that front pack for the first mile. But everyone in this division is so fast and so tough, that when they start to move, it’s really hard to keep up and even more difficult to try to pass them later in the race. I didn’t have as good a day as I wanted, but I know I’ll have it some day. I just have to keep working at it.”

Grant Lauterback finished 64th in 16:04.2, Erik Faeustle was 66th in 16:04.9 and Evan Doloszyci took 92nd in 16:20.2 for the Falcons, with Jack Myers (16:50.9) and Chris Cubias (17:10.2) placing 144th and 166th, respectively.

In Division IV, Flintridge Sacred Heart junior Lauren Nettels finished 36th in 19:17.1, with La Canada sophomore Elaney Matarese placing 57th in 19:39.1.

La Cañada senior Owen Serricchio, the Spartans’ first male qualifier for the state meet final since 1999, finished 32nd in 16:27.

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