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Granada Hills' Sofia Abrego caps freshman season with City Section cross-country title

Running up the final hill of the race on Saturday morning before disappearing from sight, freshman Sofia Abrego of Granada Hills and sophomore Miranda Schriver of Palisades were running side by side and exchanging the lead in an exciting duel at the City Section cross-country championships at Pierce College.

The next time they were seen, the 14-year-old Abrego had broken away and crossed the finish line first with a time of 17:33.81, establishing herself as the latest young running star in City Section Division I. Schriver, last year’s City champion as a freshman, finished second in 17:40.39.

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“She’s fast,” Abrego said of Schriver. “She’s a good competitor.”

All winter, the word had been out about Abrego, but this was her big test. Schriver was heading toward peak form, and Abrego was ready. From the start, she took the lead and fought back every challenge from Schriver.

“I was just trying to get the first mile fast and the second mile a little slower to conserve a little for the third, but I just had to run,” Abrego said.

Said Granada Hills coach Gina Kurowski: “She’s a wunderkind. She’s just a ridiculously talented kid.”

Abrego will move on to compete at next week’s state championships in Fresno.

Granada Hills edged Palisades to win the Division I girls’ team title and also won the boys’ title. Granada Hills’ Sean Larbaoui won the boys Division I race in 15:34.24.

At the Southern Section finals in Riverside, Temecula Great Oak won the Division 1 boys’ and girls’ team titles. Nico Young of Newbury Park set a course record in winning the Division 2 boys’ race in 14:34.2.

Football finals schedule: The schedule has been finalized for next weekend’s Southern Section football championships.

The Division 1 final between Bellflower St. John Bosco and Santa Ana Mater Dei will be played at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cerritos College. The Division 2 final between Upland and Moreno Valley Rancho Verde will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Rancho Verde.

It was a near-miracle comeback for Moreno Valley Rancho Verde on Friday night in a 41-38 win over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. Rancho Verde trailed by 10 points with just over a minute left.

The Mustangs scored a touchdown, then recovered an onside kick. Quarterback AJ Duffy, a freshman and the son of head coach Pete Duffy, threw the winning 54-yard touchdown pass to Jamar Simpson. Then Notre Dame missed a potential tying field goal at the end.

Duffy, who was injured in the game, passed for 356 yards and three touchdowns.

Pete Duffy said he was in “coach mode” Friday. On Saturday, he was in father mode. “I’m just really proud,” he said.

Good news for East L.A. fans: The City Section is celebrating because its attendance should be helped by the fact that Garfield and Roosevelt will be in championship games on Friday night at El Camino College. They have been known to send thousands of fans when playing in the East L.A. Classic.

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Garfield will face Harbor City Narbonne in the Open Division final at 7 p.m.. Roosevelt will take on Locke in the Division 2 final at 3 p.m. But will the two rival schools root for each other?

“I think they will,” Garfield coach Lorenzo Hernandez said. “The kids are from the same community. They’ve gone to the same middle schools. I know I will.”

Freshman from Granada Hills wins City Section Division I title
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