With the Division 1 varsity girls' race too close to call between the Crescenta Valley High and San Clemente cross-country teams at the Clovis Invitational at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday, race officials looked to the order of finish of both teams' sixth runners to decide a winner.
That didn't make it much easier to break a 103-103 tie between the Falcons and Tritons, as CV's Hayley Witzeman and San Clemente's Sara Kebede both crossed the finish line in 20 minutes 9 seconds. In the end, the edge in the photo finish went to Witzeman and to the Tritons in the race.
"They just outleaned us," said Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Evans, whose team is ranked eighth in CIF Southern Section Division I, where San Clemente holds the No. 2 spot.
But any disappointment the team had in narrowly missing a win in the prestigious event soon turned to elation at just how well the Falcons, led by Cali King's 13th-place finish in 19:13, performed when stacked up against some of the top programs in the state.
"We came out and ran really well in a really solid team race," said Evans, whose scoring five was rounded out by Megan Melnyk (14th, 19:14), Ali Johnson (23rd, 19:24), Brooke Moultrie (29th, 19:40) and Hannah Ruby (34th, 19:48). "[The Tritons] are a very good team, so any time we can be that close to San Clemente, we're really happy.
"We accomplished everything we wanted to accomplish coming here."
Crescenta Valley also competed in the Division 1 boys' race, where Mike Duncan's ninth-place finish in 16:04 paved the way for a third-place team finish (179) behind Davis (137) and El Rancho (172) and just ahead of Ventura, which is ranked eighth in Division I.
Gabe Collison finished 23rd in 16:29 for CV, followed by Brandon Baum (47th, 16:55), Dylan Devens (49th, 16:59) and Aaron Esparza (51st, 17:01).
"That [race] was exciting," Evans said. "We felt going in that we could do pretty well in that race and [we got] a great pack effort by the team.
"[Our gap] wasn't too bad. The front ran low 16s and then those next guys came in really close together."
Flintridge Prep also competed in the Division 4 boys' race, won by Miramonte (83), taking sixth (182) behind Casey Thompson's 16th-place finish in 16:21. The Rebels, who are ranked fourth in Division V, finished 10 spots ahead of Woodcrest Christian (408), the third-ranked team from Division V.
Prep was rounded out by Jake Johnson (37th, 16:53), Aaron Sugimoto (41st, 16:56), Elias Ellison (50th, 17:07) and Alan Yoho (51st, 17:08).
"We feel like we're pretty deep and we're really coming along nicely," Rebels Coach Ingrid Herskind said.