LOS ANGELES — The nearly three-mile, hilly cross-country course at Los Angeles Pierce College can be unforgiving.
With little breathing room on the straightaways, teams, which included Flintridge Prep and Providence, looking to be successful on the course need to be strategic.
For runners at the Prep League finals on Saturday morning, it was Flintridge Prep that maintained its stride throughout the course, as the Rebels claimed both the girls’ and boys’ league titles.
The Flintridge Prep girls’ team, ranked No. 2 in ciF Southern Section Division V, continued its intense rivalry with Mayfield.
The two teams won five of the last six league titles, and it was the Rebels who came out on top, narrowly edging out Mayfield, 41-43, to claim their title second title in three years.
“We’ve been inconsistent in our running, but we’ve been excellent in our practice — just a difficult time executing in races,” Flintridge Prep girls coach Jill Henry said. “Today, it was all about putting the competition aside and focusing on us — focusing on form, focusing on pace, focusing on competing — but, really, just focusing on times we know we’re capable of running.”
Mayfield bested Flintridge Prep last season.
Mayfield sophomore Audrey Suarez retained her league-title crown with a first-place finish in 18 minutes, 38.18 seconds.
Suarez topped the Flintridge Prep senior pair of Haley Allen (18:47.01) and Sasha Codiga (19:06.96), who placed second and third, respectively.
“It was a really exciting day for us,” Allen said. “We feel like it really gave us momentum coming into postseason.”
Allen set an 11-second personal record in her final league race.
“Today was just like a team race — a strategy race — more than time, anyway,” Allen said. “I was just going with the pack and being strategic about the placing.”
Pasadena Poly placed third with 67 points and was followed by Chadwick (70), Westridge (140) and Providence (157).
Rebels junior Liana Morrissey placed eighth (19:45.41) and senior Hope Codiga rounded out the top 10 with a 20:06.92 10th-place finish. Senior Caroline Wreszin (18th; 21:10.77) rounded out the Rebels scorers.
“I think today gives us a fresh start,” Henry said. “We’re really excited to move on to postseason with a new confidence and they proved a lot to themselves about what they’re capable of, which is a great way to go into postseason.”
Providence junior Carissa Guardado led the Pioneers with a 12th-place finish in 20:16.62. It was the Pioneers first season in the Prep League after making the jump from the Liberty League.
Other Pioneers scorers included senior Megan Marquez (33rd; 23:28.60), sophomore Sandra Vargas (35th; 23:53.69) and seniors Mary Kate Pasco (38th; 26:24.93) and Stella Murphy (39th; 29:39.34)
The Rebels’ boys’ team, under the direction of first-year coach Scott Jung, comfortably won another title placing five runners in the top 10 to finish with 26 points.
“I’m familiar with the program, with the tradition that the boys’ program has, so I’m just happy to continue that.” said Jung, whose No. 3-ranked Division V boys’ team earned its 21st title in 22 years.
Chadwick placed second with 44 points and was followed by Pasadena Poly (77) and Providence (94).
““All the boys had goals of what they wanted to accomplish today, and we’re looking for at a bigger picture with CIF and then state, so we did want them to perform well today, and defend our league title,” Jung said. “It was business, and they took care of it.”
Rebels senior Carson Hasbrouck was named the finals most valuable runner for his first-place finish in 15:57.28.
“I thought I had a really good kick towards the end, and that’s what I thought separated me from everyone else,” said Hasbrouck, who claimed third last year.
The top-three finishers were separated by a narrow margion, as Chadwick senior Frank Glantz claimed second (16:00.90) and Providence senior Nick Montijo finished third (16:01.61).
“We’re still going strong,” Hasbrouck said. “[We’re] just trying to stay [ready] for CIF, so [training is] a force of habit, really.”
Montijo, who transferred to Providence from Bellarmine-Jefferson after the school closed, used his early league meets as a learning experience for Saturday’s race to lead the Pioneers.
“It was something unexpected,” Montijo said. “I could’ve pushed more, but the hills were tough. At least I got [my time] in a hilly course. It’s something I’ve been trying to do, but it is what it is.”
Flintridge Prep sophomore runners Bennett Oakes (fourth; 16:18.09), Hudson Billock (sixth; 17:04.48), senior Ethan Moutes (seventh; 17:26.33) and junior Grady Morrissey (eighth; 17:34.85) followed Hasbrouck to help the Rebels comfortably claim the league title.
Fellow Providence senior Conrad Davis finished 16th (18:28.31) and was followed by senior Carl Menke (24th; 19:49.03), freshman Connor Flynn (25th; 19:52.92) and Kieran Gehan (26th; 20:27.19).