FRESNO — While the circumstances were different for the local entrants at Saturday's CIF State Cross-Country Championships at Fresno's Woodward Park, each enjoyed some success.
The Crescenta Valley High girls, who seemingly battled a new injury every week, put together one of their stronger races of the season and took ninth overall in the Division I finals with 234 points.
"I think we ran really well," said Falcons Coach Mark Evans, whose team qualified to state for the first time in three years. "We had Megan [Melnyk] finish in the top 40 and the other girls weren't too far behind.
"It's been a slow race and a fight to get better on a weekly basis. But we had a decent pack today and I'm satisfied. I'm not sure how many people thought we'd be here at the beginning of the year."
The Falcons also received a glimpse into the future as Melnyk, a freshman, led the squad by finishing 38th in 18:59.
"I really want to thank God for a great race. I'm just happy to have this experience," Melnyk said. "We had a really great finish to the season."
Melynk was followed by her teammates, senior Ali Johnson (45th, 19:05), sophomore Erika Johnson (59th, 19:12), senior Brooke Moultrie (89th, 19:31), the last link to the Falcons' 2008 state team, and junior Cali King (108th, 19:50).
The Burbank boys capped a magical season with an 11th-place effort (293 points) in the Division I finals.
Bulldogs' junior Sergio Fraire, the team's usual No. 2 runner, paced his squad by placing 30th in 15:49.
Fraire finished ahead of senior Jonathan Stoll (66th, 16:16), sophomore Isiah Amos (78th, 16:25), junior Bernie Corea (79th, 16:25) and sophomore Arden Mkrtchyan (115th, 16:45).
Amos, the team's top runner all season, was bothered by illness and tried to fight through the complications.
"I like this course, but I've been feeling sick the past week and I just started feeling bad this morning," Amos said. "This was the last race for state and I wasn't going to punk out. We had a strong year and we were going to finish strong."
Burroughs senior Anthony Monroy concluded his high school career by finishing 31st in the Division I final in a time of 15:50.
“I knew it was going to be really good competition today, but I think I did pretty well,” Monroy said. “I really tried my best and I’m really happy with my time and my place. It’s always great to run at the state finals.”
The Flintridge Prep boys were anything but saddened by their finish, even though they were dressed for a funeral.
The Rebels, draped in all black, ran to a fourth-place finish in the boys' Division V championships with 108 points.
"We were just trying to get in the [competition's] heads and get our heads in the right place," Rebels Coach Ingrid Herskind said when asked why the team raced in black.
Senior Jake Johnson led the Rebels and finished 26th in 16:46.
Flintridge Prep's quartet of Eli Weinstein (28th, 16:49), Alan Yoho (30th, 16:54), Casey Thompson (31st, 15:54) and Aaron Sugimoto (32nd, 16:55) all finished nearby.
"We wanted to fly under the radar and sneak up on everybody," Thompson said. "I think it worked because I didn't hear us announced in the race."
In a bit of a surprise, the Flintridge Prep girls cracked the top 10 by earning ninth with 232 points in the Division V finals.
The Rebels, who finished fourth in the Prep League, beat out league third-place Pasadena Poly (11th, 271).
"We had our best team race of the season and are very happy we finished as strong as we did," Rebels Coach Michael Roffina said.
Rebels' sophomore Kate Evans, usually the second fist in Prep's one-two punch, finished 19th overall in 19:32 in leading Prep.
"[Sarah] Yoho really ran a great race, but this is the type of race that I want to run," Kate Evans said. "Luckily, I started out slow and then closed strong in the last two miles."
Yoho (32nd, 19:55), Grace Broyles (69th, 21:04), Ashley Lara (88th, 21:28) and Audrey Levy (113rd, 22:06) composed the Rebels' scoring squad.
The Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls took part in the Division IV finals, which started at 8:30 a.m. to 46-degree weather, and capped their season by taking seventh with 224 points.
Tologs senior Stephanie Vargas proved the fastest local in the race, finishing 27th in 19:10.
"It was so cold," Vargas said. "But this was fun, this whole season was fun. It was my honor to lead this team."
Teammates Paulina Antaplyan and Riley Gilmartin tied with the 52nd-best time of 19:47 while Maddie Peterson (76th, 20:15) and Hanna Armendariz (102nd, 20:43) rounded out the Tologs' scorers.
While Mark Evans was certainly proud of the Crescenta Valley girls, he also came out a winner when the Golden Valley High of Santa Clarita boys' team won the Division II championship.
The squad, coached by Evans' sons Chris and Rob, outlasted Southern Section power Loyola, 86-111.