First published in the Nov. 13 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
Coming off a dominant performance in the Pacific League finals, the Crescenta Valley High School cross-country boys’ and girls’ teams are looking to ride that momentum in the CIF Southern Section Division I preliminaries at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Saturday.
The Falcons claimed the league championship at every level last week, and the varsity boys — ranked No. 4 in Division I — enter the postseason as contenders for the CIF title.
“We’re excited because we feel like we have the best races ahead of us,” said CVHS cross-country coach Robert Evans. “We have a group of really hungry guys that have been training consistently, and we know the teams in front of us are really good.”
Paced by senior standout Rowan FitzGerald, Crescenta Valley had six runners placed among the top nine for a winning score of 25 points. Arcadia finished second with 54 points.
FitzGerald finished the 3-mile race at Crescenta Valley Park in 15 minutes, 36.1 seconds, which was good for second place, followed by junior teammate Parker Simmons (15:44.1). Max Ruiz crossed the finish line in 16:10.6 for fifth place, Luke Cheney was seventh in 16:17.2, Harrison Connors recorded 16:17.3 for eighth and Bryce Bitetti posted a time of 16:23.1, placing him ninth. Leo Bentivegna finished 11th in 16:29.3.
The CVHS girls were just as successful, winning with a score of 30 points and boasting seven runners among the top 11 en route to their second consecutive league crown.
For Evans and the girls, it was reassuring to bring home another title after Mia Barnett — who was one of the best high school runners in the state and is now running for the University of Virginia — graduated in the spring.
“It’s nice to see the title still there with us,” Evans said. “We got a young group of girls and veteran runners that kept us together during quarantine and practices [last season] and they love to compete. The league final was the icing on the cake and cherry on top because they saw the hard work they put in pay off.”
Senior Rebecca Doherty led the Falcons with a time of 20:21.4, which was good for fourth place, and junior Annabelle Tanner finished in 20:23.5 for fifth. Seniors Reese Sion (20:35.6) and Taili Sherwood-Kong (20:36.5) were seventh and eighth, respectively, junior Emma Haworth (20:36.8) placed ninth, and sophomores Ava Martin (20:57.0) and Paloma Elfassi (21:07.2) finished 10th and 11th.
Hoover Boys, Girls Place 6th
The Hoover High boys’ and girls’ cross-country varsity squads capped their seasons placing sixth in the Pacific League finals.
Emma Canal paced the Tornados with a time of 24:22.8, which was good for 28th place, and teammates Alexa Asadooran (28:40.7), Sophie Akopyan (28:47.1), Arlet Gonzalez (28:55.2), Isabel Maghaguian (28:58.2) and Helene Dimidjian (29:42.1) finished 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th and 39th, respectively.
In the boys’ race, Emil Minasian led Hoover by placing 33rd with a time of 20:36.7 and teammates Daniel Baneham (22:13.8), Kervin Garcia (22:23.4), Isaiah Alvarado (22:24.7), Raymond Bagramyan (22:28.1) and Cedric Lynum (26:48.3) finished 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th and 40th, respectively.
Though Glendale High School did not have a varsity cross-country team to compete in the league finals, two Nitros made their way to Crescenta Valley Park to participate in the race.
Junior Lilit Arakelyan turned in a solid effort, finishing the 3-mile run in 22:19.8 and finishing in 19th place among the girls, and fellow classmate Edward Dartinian posted a time of 27:02.8 for 41st place in the boys’ race.