Usuals shine at rainy Mt. SAC

While the forecast called for rain and the use of Mt. San Antonio College's lengthened, but flattened course, the elements and conditions did little to slow the majority of local cross-country teams from advancing out of Saturday's preliminaries to the following week's divisional finals.

Burbank High and Burroughs will be joined at the hip again, at least for another week, as the Pacific League city archrival boys' teams both advanced out of the Division I first heat.

The Bulldogs, ranked eighth in Division I, finished second to top-ranked Rancho Cucamonga, 49-74, while unranked Burroughs took the fourth and final qualifying spot with 124 points, just outlasting Santa Fe, which finished with 126 points.

Once again, Burbank's one-two punch of sophomore Isaiah Amos and junior Sergio Fraire were impressive, as the duo tied for sixth with a mark of 14 minutes, 43 seconds.

Scoring teammates Jonathan Stoll (17th, 15:15), Bernie Corea (19th, 15:18) and Arsen Mkrtchyan (25th, 15:24) followed and all finished in the top 25.

"We sort of viewed this race as more a nuisance because of the conditions. We knew we had to say focused to qualify," Burbank Coach Trevor Marca said. "But we accomplished what we had to and even enjoyed running with Burroughs.

"We've had a nice, healthy rivalry and part of the reason both programs are flourishing is because of this cross-town competition."

Pacific League runner-up Anthony Monroy of Burroughs posted the fastest area time, finishing third in 14:35.

The Indians' second runner, senior Brandon Andrade, finished 21st in 15:24.

"We knew we had a chance of getting in. We pretty much knew Rancho, Burbank and [Eleanor] Roosevelt were going to finish one through three," Burroughs Coach John Peebles said. "We knew we had a shot to grab fourth."

Perhaps the most hotly-contested local race happened at 9:33 a.m., in the girls' Division IV second heat, where Mission League third-place team Flintridge Sacred Heart, ranked 11th, upset Prep League champion and second-ranked Mayfield, 51-55.

"I'm pretty sure Mayfield was hiding some runners, but that didn't take away from the fact we ran well," Tologs Coach Kirk Nishiyama said. "This is really big for our confidence heading into next week."

Tologs' senior Stephanie Vargas was the top local finisher in the race, taking third in 18 minutes, 7 seconds, pacing scoring teammates Paulina Antaplyan (eighth, 18:50), Riley Gilmartin (12th, 19:06) and Hanna Armendariz (19:21) and Maddie Peterson (19:21), who both tied for 16th.

The Flintridge Prep boys registered the final team victory, as the Rebels tied Xavier Prep at 52 points for a co-victory in the Division V third heat with a scoring five of Aaron Sugimoto (ninth, 15:34), Jake Johnson (10th, 15:56), Casey Thompson (11th, 15:57), Alan Yoho (12th, 16:01) and Eli Weinstein (20th, 16:26).

"Basically, we were pleased we ran a nice and relaxed race," Rebels Coach Ingrid Herskind said. "If we would have finished one, two or three that would have been fine as long as we advanced. This was a nice little bonus."

The Flintridge Prep girls also fared well as they were runner-up in the Division V first heat, trailing only Xavier Prep, 41-96, as Sarah Yoho (fifth, 18:13) and Kate Evans (eighth, 18:24) were the Rebels' lone top-25 runners.

The Crescenta Valley girls, the Pacific League runner-up, also advanced out of the third heat of Division I by taking third with 83 points as San Clemente captured the victory with 46 points.

In a bit of a surprise, freshman Megan Melnyk, the Falcons' third-best runner at league finals, led the way by finishing 12th (17:30).

Erika Johnson proved the Falcons' second runner, taking 15th (17:35) ahead of Ali Johnson (17th, 17:43) and Cali King (21st, 17:49).

The Burbank girls did not qualify in the first heat of the Division I race, taking 10th with 284 points as Christina Shamirian (40th, 18:21) and Griselda Pereyra (42nd, 18:23) finished as the Bulldogs' top two placers.

The Providence girls also missed advancing by a pair of spots as the Pioneers ended eighth in the Division V second heat with 189 points. Jaii Jiang led her squad by finishing 15th in 20:08.

The season also concluded for the Bell-Jeff boys, who finished 11th in the Division V first heat with 285 points. The Guards' Gabriel Ellman paced his side (31st, 16:46).

Holy Family's Alejandra Hernandez was 37th (21:20) in the Division V second heat, while Bell-Jeff's Mackenzie Dowling placed 54th (21:45) in the third heat of Division V. Both girls ran as individual qualifiers.

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