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Monroy runs to victory

LOS ANGELES — Both portions of the first Pacific League cross-country meet of the season had something to offer Thursday afternoon at Griffith Park.

When their respective races concluded, both the Crescenta Valley High girls’ and Burbank boys’ teams left the venue encouraged after challenging Arcadia’s powerhouse squads.

Burbank Coach Trevor Marca said he couldn’t have asked for a better effort from his team, which was fended off, 27-28, by an Arcadia squad ranked No. 1 in the Division I poll.

“We ran hard and we looked forward to this race,” said Marca, whose team is ranked 10th. “It’s our only home-course meet and we wanted to make the most of it.

“We want this to be a confidence boost for us.”

“I thought we ran great,” Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Evans said after the Falcons girls were edged by fifth-ranked Arcadia, 25-30. “I’m impressed.”

Individually, there was also a changing of the guard, as Anthony Monroy, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Cross-Country Runner of the Year, had no problem winning his race. The senior clocked 15 minutes 24 seconds to turn back Arcadia’s Sergio Gonzalez (15:38). In the process, Monroy became the first non-Arcadia runner to win a boys’ league race since CV’s Zack Torres in 2008.

Monroy took to the three-mile course with a quick start and maintained a lengthy lead while entering the final mile.

Monroy said he also excelled during the portions of the race that involved hills.

“I didn’t have any strategy because it’s the first league meet,” Monroy said. “I just tried to keep it steady on the hills, especially going down hill.

“I prefer hills because it brings out the best in the competition.”

Seven area runners turned in top-10 marks in the boys’ meet. Isaiah Amos of Burbank was third in 15:43, followed by Sergio Fraire (fifth, 15:47) of Burbank, Crescenta Valley’s Mike Duncan (sixth, 15:48), Jeremy Zadoorian (seventh, 15:54) of Hoover, Bernie Corea (ninth, 16:13) of Burbank and Glendale’s Chris Canlas (10th, 16:13).

Duncan said he was satisfied with his place and time.

“I’m absolutely happy,” Duncan said. “Our team showed it can run well when you get a race like this.

“I tried to stay with the guys because I know they are quick. I stayed close all the way to the end.”

Also finishing for Crescenta Valley in the field of 41 was Gabe Collison (11th, 16:20) and Aaron Esparza (15th, 16:27). Jonathan Stoll of Burbank was 12th (16:21) and Burroughs’ Brandon Andrade placed 13th (16:23). The meet, which is conducted in dual-meet scoring, saw Burbank finished in front of Burroughs, Crescenta Valley, Hoover and Glendale in that order.

In the girls’ meet, Arcadia’s Veronica Yamane took first in 18:46, followed by teammate Laura Guidolin (second, 18:46).

Cali King of Crescenta Valley was third in 19:07, followed by teammate Ali Johnson (fourth, 19:14). Five Crescenta Valley runners turned in top-10 marks, including Megan Melnyk (sixth, 19:25), Hannah Ruby (ninth, 19:57) and Haley Witzeman (10th, 19:57). Brooke Moultrie of Crescenta Valley was 13th (20:27).

King said she came into the race looking to see how she could match up with some of the top runners.

“I’m happy taking third because it tells me where I need to be to get better,” King said. “Now, I want to try to get closer [in the next league meet].”

Gracia Innocentia of Burroughs finished ninth in 19:36. She was the lone Burbank-area athlete to secure a top-10 mark.

Innocentia said racing against Arcadia and Crescenta Valley ignited her.

“That motivated me, because it’s always a challenge for the team and I going against Crescenta Valley and Arcadia,” Innocentia said. “They’ve both been up there for a long time.”

Glendale’s top runner was Leana Setian, who took 11th (19:59). Hoover’s Renee Lawson finished 16th (20:42) in the field of 36.

Burbank was led by Arlette Moresyan, who turned in a mark of 20:33 for 14th place. However, Burbank had the third-best day, besting rival Burroughs, 21-36. Burroughs finished ahead of Glendale, while Hoover did not field a full team.

The next league meet will be held Oct. 13 at Crescenta Valley Park.