LA CRESCENTA — Pacific League cross-country prospects certainly opened up thanks to a wild day at Thursday afternoon's second league meet at Crescenta Valley Park.
Host Crescenta Valley High's girls' team, ranked sixth in the latest CIF Southern Section Division I poll, thrust itself back into the league-title chase with a pivotal 25-33 triumph over fifth-ranked Arcadia.
The Falcons' victory tied them with the Apaches, who won the first league meet, 25-30, at Griffith Park on Sept. 22.
The winner-take-all league finals are set for Nov. 3 at Arcadia County Park.
"It was really encouraging to see our team be strong again," Falcons' senior Ali Johnson said as she finished second in a time of 19 minutes and 21.57 seconds. "We haven't been that close together in a long time and we're hopeful."
Johnson and teammate Brooke Moultrie led through the first mile ahead of Arcadia's power twosome of Veronica Yamane and Alejandra Quintero.
Yet, Yamane and Quintero (third, 19:27.09) bounced ahead through the rocky gravel portion of the race about a mile and a half through and maintained their lead for another mile.
At the two-and-half-mile marker, Johnson wedged in between both girls and eventually finished runner-up to Yamane, who won in 18:58.83.
"We always try to keep the pack together and stay as close as possible," Falcons junior Cali King said. "I've never had this awesome type of pack for an entire race."
The Apaches and Falcons dominated the race, occupying the top nine spots through the first mile and eventually taking the first seven positions.
Crescenta Valley's winning team consisted of Johnson, Moultrie (fourth, 19:30.05), Erika Johnson (fifth, 19:34.33), King (sixth, 19:35.67) and Hannah Ruby (ninth, 19:54.27).
Crescenta Valley's next biggest challenge after Arcadia came from Burroughs, which it defeated, 47-16.
The Indians' Gracia Innocentia was the lone non-Apache or Falcon to finish in the top 10, taking eighth in 19:48.62.
The Burroughs' scoring squad of Brice Edrington (16th, 20:43.62), Miranda Acosta (21st, 21:16.70), Ashley Velasco (26th, 21:59.24) and Dayanna Yanez (27th, 22:15.55) did best archrival Burbank, 27-28.
Sophomore Arlette Movsesyan led the Bulldogs, taking 18th in 20:58.24, and was followed by her scoring squad of Griselda Pereyra (21st, 21:01.70), Katherine Mustafa (22nd, 21:20.40), Kayla Martil (23rd, 21:25.11) and Myriam Gonzalez (25th, 21:34).
There was no intracity battle between Glendale and Hoover, as the Tornadoes did not field a team and were represented by senior Renee Lawson (17th, 20:44.94).
Fabiola Naranjo (24th, 21:28), Lauren Hanson (28th, 22:17.12) and Carolina Cubero (29th, 22:17.12) finished first through third for the Nitros.
On the boys' side, Arcadia clinched a share of the league crown by virtue of a 23-33 victory over upstart Burbank.
It was the Bulldogs who nearly caused panic with their 27-28 defeat to Arcadia in the first league meet. The other headline from that competition was made by Burrough's Anthony Monroy, who won the individual race.
On Thursday, the Apaches restored order individually, as well, as senior Sergio Gonzalez jumped out of the shadows with a victory in 15:34.77.
"I learned a lot running with [former Apaches' top runner] Ammar [Moussa] and wanted to get the win," Gonzalez said.
A somewhat disappointed Monroy fell behind after a mile and never retook the lead in earning second in 15:43.55.
"[Sergio] went out after that first mile, took the lead and he really got me," Monroy said. "I tried keeping up with him, but he was just too fast."
The most exciting finish came from Burbank's Isaiah Amos, who took third (15:55.27) and held off a late charge from Arcadia's Mitchell Pratt (fourth, 15:56.08) as the duo sprinted the last 50 yards.
"My friends always tell me I have the best kick of anyone," Amos said. "I saw that guy coming in the corner of my eye and just ran."
Other than Amos, Burbank's second-place squad consisted of Sergio Fraire (fifth, 16:02.82), Bernie Corea (10th, 16:20.45), Jonathan Stoll (12th, 16:30.15) and Zach Solomon (19th, 17:00.94).
On the flip side, Burbank defeated Burroughs, 20-35.
The Indians suffered a significant drop off after Monroy, as Zach Beimford (22nd, 17:12.56) was the team's second runner and led a scoring bunch of Alec Villapando (24th, 17:15.58), Charlie Camacho (25th, 17:17.84) and Jonathan Wijesooriya (26th, 17:32.91).
Hoover's Jeremy Zadoorian turned in a solid effort, taking sixth (16:11.31) ahead of teammates Kenneth Trejo (27th, 17:35) and Paul Ingram (33rd, 18:07.03).
Glendale's Joshua Carlos (14th, 16:38.28) and Chris Canlas (15th, 16:10.85) finished in order and set the pace for fellow Nitros Joey Clingerman (30th, 17:45) and Brian Shieh (31st, 17:47.49).
Crescenta Valley's Mike Duncan was his squad's highest finisher, taking ninth (16:15.49) while the scoring squad of Gabe Collison (16th, 16:43.33), Aaron Esparza (17th, 16:44.05), Dylan Devens (17:00.08) and Brandon Baum (20th, 17:07.75) weren't far behind.
While the Falcons were defeated by Arcadia and Burbank, they did top Burroughs, 20-38.