There was just one more race on the horizon for the Crescenta Valley High cross-country teams, and for the first time in more than a decade, both the boys and girls teams got the opportunity to compete against the best in the state.
The teams secured top-10 team finishes at the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 25 to cap one of the most successful postseason runs in years, according to Crescenta Valley cross-country coach Mark Evans.
“There’s a lot of pressure there,” Evans said. “The state meet is just hard in that whole atmosphere. They really reacted well to that and they did a great job.”
The Crescenta Valley boys finished sixth in the Division I race, scoring 171 points and a team time of 1 hour, 18 minutes, 31 seconds. The Falcons girls finished their Division I race in ninth in a total team time of 1:36:04, a result Evans said “shocked” the team in their first trip back to the state meet since 2013.
“They just believed in themselves and knew that we believed in them,” Evans said. “It just carried them through. They were just excited to be up there and excited to have this opportunity.”
The Crescenta Valley boys’ team secured a berth at the CIF State meet for the fifth year in a row following a seventh-place finish at the CIF Southern Section Cross Country Championships at Mt. San Antonio College on Nov. 18. The Falcons girls qualified for state with finishing sixth at the Mt. SAC meet.
Falcons senior Eddie Sion was the first to cross the finish line for Crescenta Valley, coming in fifth at 15:04.5. It is one of the fastest times a Falcons runner has recorded on the Woodward Park course, according to Evans. Sion was the 14th fastest runner on the day.
“We went into it not knowing, not counting on anybody to be a single-digit scorer for us and Eddie just explodes,” said Evans of Sion.
Crescenta Valley senior Arlo Gagnon followed, coming in 48th at 15:44.9, with senior Ryan Becker (50th; 15:45.9), junior Liam Zadoorian (56th; 15:50.7) and junior Ayaan Hasan (83rd; 16:04.8) finishing as scoring runners. Evans noted that Sion and Zadoorian were the only two athletes from the team to participate in consecutive state meets.
San Clemente won the state crown with 46 points in a team total time of 1:16:28. Millikan senior Jason Parra won the individual title in 14:56.8.
Leading the way for the Crescenta Valley girls was Falcons junior Emilia Greenway who finished 13th at 18:00.1. Evans said the junior’s finish at the 3-mile course ranked her as the third best in school history. She was also the 28th fastest runner of the day.
“The girls have a bright future,” Evans said.
Falcons junior Kaitlin Kenney followed in 49th in 18:54.1, senior Elizabeth Corrigan at 53rd in 18:57.9, sophomore Brooklyn Oka in 118th at 19:58.9 and freshman Naiya Rothermund at 126th 20:12.5.
Santiago Corona, the reigning CIF Southern Section Division I champion, concluded its title-winning season with a CIF State crown, scoring 57 points to hold off Central Section representative Buchanan. Santiago Corona junior Rylee Blade won the individual race in 16:48.5, adding to her Southern Section title won the week before.
Crescenta Valley swept the Pacific League finals this year, as the boys’ team won their sixth straight league title and the girls captured their fourth consecutive crown.
“They did a great job,” Evans added. “I think that we’re set up. We’ve got a good group next year and we’re ready to go.”
First published in the December 2 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.