GLENDALE — The Woodbridge Invitational was such in name only this season, as the classic cross-country meet was shifted to nearby Estancia High due to construction at Woodbridge High.
That was essentially the only departure, though, as the meet still provided five teams from four local high schools with the same high-caliber competition it always does and a valuable chance to get a strong test early in the season.
"I don't think it affected the team scoring or anything," said Crescenta Valley High Coach Mark Evans of the switch to the grassier course at Estancia. "The course might be a little slower than it has been in the past, but it was hard to tell. They were just competitive races and everybody ran fast.".
Evans' girls' team placed seventh in the prestigious Girls Sweepstakes race in 1 hour 31 minutes 56 seconds with 218 points behind top-30 finishes from seniors Anneke Kakebeen (28th, 17:48) and Claudia Pham (30th, 17:54).
Sophomore Cali King was 52nd for the Falcons in 18:25, junior Brooke Moultrie was 62nd in 18:37 and freshman Erika Johsnon finished 88th in 19:12.
The race was won by Great Oak (1:26:34; 41 points).
The Falcons boys took 23rd (1:21:33; 507) in the Boys Varsity Rated race, which was won by Brea Olinda (1:17:13; 126), behind a 13th-place finish from junior Michael Duncan. Senior Jordan Miller was CV's next highest finisher in 112th in 16:27.
"I thought we raced real well," Evans said. "I was really pleased with the girls and with the guys, too. They all ran really fast times and ran well in a really tough race and they're really stepping up. The girls ran really well in a tough race and were very competitive."
Hours before the Falcons ran their high profile events under the lights, St. Francis, Flintridge Prep, Glendale and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy all competed in various White Division races.
The Golden Knights finished third in the Senior Boys race with 132 points in 1:24:19, followed by the Rebels in sixth (1:28:43; 240) and Glendale in 16th (1:34:50; 367).
Kyle Palazzolo led St. Francis with a fifth-place individual finish in 15:57 with a strong kick over the back half.
"He was focusing more on picking guys off," St. Francis Coach Pat Donovan said. "He came through the first mile in 15-20th place and just started rocking from there.
"He had probably the strongest kick I've seen him with. He picked off a couple guys in the last quarter mile and it's a testament to how strong he is."
St. Francis' scoring five was rounded out by Tyler Kawachi (25th, 16:43), Danny Veladao (40th, 16:59), Edward Kronfli (53rd, 17:14) and Joseph Chang (64th, 17:26).
Prep was led in the Senior race by Jason Bunn in 12th place in 16:13. He was followed by Jesse Redding in 33rd in 16:55, Tyler Beith in 48th in 17:10 and Jigar Patel in 96th in 18:11.
"Our senior race went very well," Prep Coach Ingrid Herskind said. "[Bunn] ran very well today.
"As a coach, I liked [the flat course]. I was able to see a lot of parts of the race."
Glendale received a 24th-place finish from Eric Amezquita (16:41), but had its best individual performances in the Junior Boys event, where it did not register a team score, but saw Joshua Carlos finish fourth in 15:53 and Chris Canlas take 10th in 16:07.
Prep was 14th (1:30:18) in that race behind Casey Thompson (74th, 17:37) and St. Francis took 16th (1:31:31) behind Collin Peterson (eighth, 16:02).
In the White Division Varsity Girls race, junior Paulina Antaplyan led Sacred Heart to a 17th-place finish (1:45:29; 433) by taking 10th in 18:47.