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Antaplyan, Tologs take second

Cross-country: FSHA, St. Francis open league season with 2nd and 3rd-place marks, respectively.

September 17, 2010|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

LA CRESCENTA — Things were a little different, a little crazy and a little chaotic during the initial Mission League cross-country meet of the season on Thursday afternoon at Crescenta Valley Park.

Most of the craziness came down to the final stretch of the girls' varsity race, as spectators and wayward runners crowded the finish.

Nonetheless, rapidly improving Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy junior Paulina Antaplyan was able to nab second place individually and lead the Tologs to second as well, as they finished with 51 points to winner Harvard-Westlake's 36.

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"I don't know," said Antaplyan of what was going on during the finish, as she was battling for first with eventual winner Kazia Mermel (20 minutes) of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame down the stretch while spectators inadvertently cluttered the racing path before two Alemany runners, apparently having strayed from the course, appeared from seemingly out of nowhere right before the finish line to further confuse things. "I was completely confused about what was going on. It was just really chaotic."

For St. Francis' Kyle Palazzolo things, weren't as confusing as they were frustrating, as the senior took sixth in the boys' race in 16:47, with his team placing third.

"It did feel kind of crowded," said Palazzolo of running in a league cluster meet, which is new to the Mission League after previous seasons of dual meets. "It was very crowded on the line especially."

Nonetheless, Palazzolo and his coach, Pat Donovan, were happy with the overall effort considering it came in the Golden Knights' first meet of the season.

"As far as the first competitive race, I'm happy with how competitive we were," said Donovan, whose team tallied 81 points, edging fourth-place Crespi (87) and finishing behind first-place Loyola (35), the defending league, CIF and state champion, and second-place Notre Dame (65). "I thought, realistically, [third place is] where we stood. I still see worlds of improvement on our end."

Added Palazzolo: "I feel like I ran better than expected. But I definitely feel there's room for improvement, I'm definitely aiming to move up a couple places."

The race was run by reigning league champion Elias Geydon, as the state standout took first in 15:57 to lead the way for the Cubs, who then took spots No. 7 through No. 12 for the easy win.

Notre Dame was led by Glendale resident Richard Lucas, as the senior took third in 16:10.

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