Flintridge Prep cross-country wears two crowns at CIF Cross-Country: Rebels capture both Division V titles, while La Cañada's Anna Frederich, Crescenta Valley boys advance.

WALNUT — Given the circumstances and distractions that surrounded the Flintridge Prep boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams before and during the CIF Southern Section divisional championships at Mount San Antonio College, Saturday morning could have very well been disastrous.PHOTOS: Locals in CIF Southern Section cross country finals Yet, instead of collapsing or falling short, Flintridge Prep may have turned in the finest hour in the program’s history as both the boys and girls captured divisional championships and earned CIF State Finals berths all while senior Alan Yoho captured an individual crown on an afternoon that produced memorable results for the Crescenta Valley boys, La Cañada’s High’s Anna Frederich and the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls.“We had a lot of things happen today that perhaps we weren’t quite ready for and to still win is amazing,” said Rebels Coach Ingrid Herskind, whose team claimed its fifth Southern Section title and first since 2004. “I mean this is great because we got these mistakes out of the way and now we’ll be ready for next week.”The Rebels entered top-ranked in Division V and rolled to a 56-79 victory over third-ranked Ojai Thacher in a race that began with two false starts and included one Rebels runner vomiting midway through, while another fell toward the back end.Those incidents, though, didn’t stop the one-two punch of Yoho and sophomore Jack Van Scoter, who at times appeared on their own island in finishing first and second in 15 minutes, 10 seconds and 15:19, respectively.The next closest finisher was 20 seconds away in Brentwood’s Cosmo Brossy.“We’ve been training together a lot and this went exactly as planned,” Van Scoter said.Yoho, the Rebels’ first-ever boys’ individual Southern Section champion, appeared on cruise control.“I wanted to help out Jack the first two miles, so I paced him,” Yoho said. “The last mile, I put the hammer down.”Flintridge Prep’s championship squad also included sophomore Nikhil Poole (13th, 16:26), senior Tyler Fong (14th, 16:26), freshman Riley Coan (30th, 17:05) and sophomores Rab Moran (48th, 17:21) and Sham Patel (54th, 17:30).Yoho was the only member of his family to run Saturday as his sister, Sarah Yoho, was a late scratch for the girls’ team in the Division V race, which preceded the boys’ competition by an hour.In somewhat shocking fashion, Flintridge Prep was just fine without her as the Rebels romped to a 52-117 victory over Woodcrest Christian.“This group has really, really come together as a team,” said Flintridge Prep’s Mike Roffina, who shares the girls’ co-coaching duties with Jill Riehl. “This is a real special moment.”The Rebels, who won their second-ever Southern Section crown, were amazing in crossing four runners through the first 10 spots, with freshman Natalie O’Brien (fourth, 19:04) leading the charge.“We wanted to take this. This is going to be a great springboard for state,” said Rebels junior Ashley Lara, who finished fifth in 19:11. “We’re really excited.”Added O’Brien: “We wanted to show that this wasn’t just a one-girl team.”Joining O’Brien and Lara in the winner’s circle were freshman Maia Cohen (ninth, 19:28), junior Lacy Coan (10th, 19:29), senior Kate Evans (32nd, 20:39) and freshmen Marissa Langley (59th, 21:48) and Ali Sivilotti (75th, 22:20).Flintridge Prep became the first time school since Palos Verdes to sweep the boys’ and girls’ team titles in 2011 and first Division V squad since Woodcrest Christian in 2007.The Rebels weren’t alone in saving their best race for finals, as La Cañada High senior Anna Frederich finally hit her long-standing goal of running under 18 minutes at Mt. SAC.The two-time Rio Hondo League individual champion took third in a new personal-best mark of 17:57 and punched her ticket to next week’s state finals at Fresno’s Woodward Park.“I am like, ‘Oh my God, I am so happy.’ This is all I wanted the entire week and I was super nervous,” said Frederich, who passed five runners during the last 500 meters.Frederich, who is advancing to state for a second straight year, turned in the fastest mark of any area girls’ runner on Saturday.“She really wanted to go sub-18 and she missed it at the Mt. SAC Invitational and at [prelims], but she’s just phenomenal,” Spartans Coach Jenn Strople said.Frederich and Flintridge Prep will be accompanied at state by the upstart Crescenta Valley boys, who shocked themselves in qualifying to state by taking fifth with 166 points in an upset in a race won by Warren (69).“This is just exciting. I really can’t believe it,” said Falcons Coach Mark Evans, who advanced his first boys’ team since 2007. “I was hoping we could squeak in and get seventh and to get fifth in that, I still can’t comprehend.”In advancing to state, ninth-ranked Crescenta Valley upset fifth-ranked El Toro (166 points), eighth-ranked Great Oak (181), seventh-ranked Fountain Valley (185) and sixth-ranked Pacific League rival Burbank (219).The Falcons’ push was fueled by seniors Gabe Collison (13th, 15:09) and Nick Beatty (17th, 15:11), but included the effort of senior Matt Manalo (31st, 15:27), senior Matt Owens (54th, 15:46) and junior Manav Vats (63rd, 15:55).“The race pace never goes the way you want, otherwise I’d be in front,” Collison quipped. “I’m glad it was a fast race because I fell behind, but was able to catch up.”Mission League third-place finisher Flintridge Sacred Heart capped a solid year by finishing 14th in its Division IV race with 312 points.Junior Kayla Grahn paced the Tologs by taking 31st in 19:34, while senior Maddie Peterson (64th, 20:40) was second for the Tologs.“It was awesome in making it this far and to be part of a playoff volleyball team and cross-country team, I can’t really believe it,” said Peterson, also a member of the Tologs’ semifinal volleyball squad. “It’s always special to run at the divisional finals. Those who have been here know that.”

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