HomePublicationGlendaleFalcons Soar to 7th Place in State Championships

Falcons Soar to 7th Place in State Championships

First published in the Dec. 4 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Competing in its fourth consecutive CIF State meet, the Crescenta Valley High School varsity boys’ cross-country team showed it deserved to be named among the top programs in California.
The squad placed seventh in the Division 1 race at Woodward Park in Fresno last week, bolstered by a stellar performance from junior Parker Simmons. The Falcons, who won the Pacific League championship and placed fourth in the CIF Southern Section finals, finished with 231 points and had four runners among the top 100 in one of the most competitive high school cross-country competitions. Combining all five divisions, Crescenta Valley finished 12th overall.
“To be able to have gone there four years in a row — and each team has had their own different personality and different makeup and a different path to get there — is just a testament to the hard work they’ve put in since June,” said CVHS Head Coach Robert Evans. “They gave it everything they got on race day, and it’s exciting and fulfilling and sad to see that journey come to an end. But to finish the way they did, to come together with such great effort and focus, was gratifying.”
Evans was most pleased with Simmons, who showed grit on the 5-kilometer course and finished in 15 minutes, 17.4 seconds to place 11th in the race. His stellar time was the 23rd best out of all the boys running at Woodward Park.
“He ran with such aggressiveness and confidence and a real fearlessness,” Evans said of Simmons. “That’s a daunting race to be in. He was there, shoulder-to-shoulder, toe-to-toe with some of the best guys in the nation and really got after it. There’s a really bright future for him. Eleventh place is phenomenal, and I’m sure he’s going to be hungrier next year. He works so hard and really cares for his team. He really earned it.”
Seniors Rowan FitzGerald (16:03.1) and Max Ruiz (16:04.2) capped their high school cross-country careers placing 55th and 56th, respectively. Bryce Bitetti (16:32.2) and Leo Bentivegna (16:49.1) also ran their final race as Falcons and finished 102nd and 130th, respectively. Junior Luke Cheney was 83rd with a time of 16:20.3 and Harrison Connors wasn’t far behind to finish in 16:28.6 for 94th.
Though some of the runners felt they could have recorded faster times, Evans said he was content with their performance in Fresno.
“I just think as a cross-country runner, you always feel like when you finish, you could have done better,” Evans said. “What we try to emphasize is, ‘Hey, that’s where we were on that day. On that day, we gave it everything we had, and we’ll accept that result.’”
After not having a season in 2020, Evans said he was glad to coach again and get out on the course, especially with his senior group.
“So much has been taken away from [the seniors in] the past 18 months with the pandemic and the shutting down of high school sports,” he said. “They lost a whole cross-country season, a track season and part of another track season. We’re just happy to get them in the state meet because they were sophomores the last time we were there. From their sophomore year to senior year, it’s amazing to see how they’ve grown as people and even changed as athletes. A lot of kids in other programs lost their connection to the sport during the pandemic and for them to keep doing that and make it to the ultimate race is really exciting.”
The CVHS coach shares the same enthusiasm for his younger runners and looks forward to seeing who steps up with four of his athletes moving on to college next year.
“We get to the end of every season — losing some real quality guys — and wonder: ‘How are we going to do it again?’” Evans said. “But each year, the athletes find a way to fill in those shoes and create their own path. I think that’s the best part of coaching, [seeing] how the next group steps into that and make it their own. That’s where we are and we got 12 months to figure that out, and we’re excited.”
And the journey for a fifth consecutive CIF State appearance begins for the Falcons.

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