From a historical standpoint, the Flintridge Prep cross-country program is on the cusp of something special heading into Saturday morning’s CIF Southern Section boys’ and girls’ cross-country championships at Mt. San Antonio College.The Rebels boys’ and girls’ teams lead a five-entry local contingent that consists of the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls’ team, the Crescenta Valley High boys’ squad and La Cañada High individual qualifier Anna Frederich, all of which are looking for team and individual titles, while also trying to advance to the following week’s season-ending CIF State Meet in Fresno.Yet, perhaps it’s fair to say Flintridge Prep stands alone, as the Rebels are preparing to become the first school in two years to win both boys’ and girls’ teams titles in the same season.“This is the most excited I’ve ever been. I think there’s a real possibility of that happening,” Flintridge Prep girls’ co-coach Mike Roffina said. “I told [co-coach] Jill [Riehl] that that would be a cool thing for this school and this city.”This possibility is partially due to the rise of the Flintridge Prep girls’ program, which finished fifth with 144 points at last year’s divisional finals.Roffina’s Rebels entered top-ranked and didn’t disappoint in finishing with the best team time (1 hour, 39 minutes and 9 seconds) of any divisional squad at last week’s divisional preliminaries. That feat was made more impressive given that it was accomplished without the services of No. 1 runner Sarah Yoho, who sat out due to soreness.Yet, Yoho’s health is only one potential problem as there’s a 30% chance of rain for Saturday, according to weather.com, which may force the use of the shorter and faster rain course.“Let me first say that Sarah will run on Saturday, so we can put that question to bed,” Roffina said. “As for the team, we’re focused and we’re ready to run on whatever course and despite whatever the weather is. We’re ready.”The Flintridge Prep girls compete in the Division V championship at 9:45 a.m.Exactly an hour later, the Rebel boys will try to secure the first sweep since Palos Verdes (Division III) in 2011 and first Division V double victory since Woodcrest Christian in 2007.“This year is a little different than previous years because some of the traditional teams like St. Margaret’s aren’t as strong as before,” Flintridge Prep boys’ Coach Ingrid Herskind said. “But we know we’ve got [third-ranked] Thacher and [second-ranked] Woodcrest Christian out there and we’re expecting a good race.”A team title may not be all that’s in store for the Rebels, as Herskind believes that senior Alan Yoho also stands a good chance of capturing an individual title.“Really, the next closest guy to him is our No. 2 runner Jack Van Scoter, who will push him,” Herskind said. “I definitely think this is Alan’s race.”Keeping within city limits, two-time defending Rio Hondo League champion Anna Frederich of La Cañada is hoping to punch her ticket to state for a second straight year.The individual qualifier takes her shot in the Division III finals at 9:05 a.m.While Southern Section teams need to place in the top seven to advance, individual runners must finish in the top five spots not occupied by a qualifying team.While Frederich and Flintridge Prep are all expecting to move on, Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Kirk Nishiyama has a simpler goal.“I’m just asking that my girls go out and do their best,” Nishiyama said. “Our goal this season was to get here to finals and we did that. Everything from now on is a bonus.”The Tologs, who are competing in the Division IV finals at 10:25 a.m., do benefit from a healthier Monica Collins, as the freshman is near fully healed after injuring her knee at the Mt. SAC Relays.No team will be up earlier come Saturday than the Crescenta Valley boys, who start off local activity in the Division I race at 8:25 a.m.“We think we have the ability to grab that last spot, that seventh spot,” Falcons Coach Mark Evans said. “It’s a spot that Burbank and a few other schools are also trying to get.”The Falcons are currently ranked ninth and would need to upset at least No. 8 Great Oak and No. 7 Fountain Valley to make it.
Editor's Note: Flintridge Prep senior cross-country runner Sarah Yoho will not run in Saturday's divisional final due to health issues. Team coaches confirmed the news late Friday after this article was published.