And for the likes of Hoover, Glendale and Holy Family, the quest continues to establish themselves as CIF qualifiers.
In Crescenta Valley’s case, Coach Mark Evans once again finds himself looking to replace his top two runners, but once more fields a squad that’s success will be dictated by pack running rather than standouts at the front.
“We don’t have a lot of big names,” said Evans, whose squad last year, led by Michelle Callister and Carlotta Pham replacing standouts Claire Collison and Rachel Lange, took sixth at the CIF-State Division I meet. “It’s gonna be a good team like last year, it’s gonna be similar.
“We’re gonna have to be a team. We’re gonna have to run as a team. ...We can’t have big time gaps.”
The likely candidates to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Collison and Callister in challenging for an individual Pacific League title are juniors Claudia Pham and Anneke Kakebeen and sophomore Brooke Moultrie.
Kakebeen and Pham are both returning All-Area selections who helped the Falcons to their sixth straight league title a season ago and a third-place finish in the CIF Southern Section Division I finals.
Aside from senior Eliza Collison, though, Evans fields quite a young squad, even possessing some freshmen that he’s excited about.
“It is really a young group,” he said. “The one good thing going for us is several of these girls have run in the CIF finals and state. They’ve got some good experience, but age-wise, it’s a young group.”
Young or not, Evans and his Falcons still hope for and expect continued success in a Pacific League in which their likely top competitor will be Arcadia and, likewise, are intending to find themselves in Fresno for the fifth straight season for the state meet.