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The starting line

Cross-country: CV girls take 2nd behind Arcadia, which also wins boys' race.

September 24, 2010|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Hoover, Glendale and CV start the boys varsity race at a Pacific League meet in Griffith Park on Thursday.
Hoover, Glendale and CV start the boys varsity race at… (Roger Wilson, Glendale…)

LOS ANGELES — As the start to the Pacific League cross-country season came and went on Thursday afternoon at Griffith Park, it did such with little surprise and little change from last season to this.

Ranked among the top teams in the nation, Arcadia High's boys' team, the reigning league champion, dominated en route to victory in the dual-meet scored event, with Burroughs' Anthony Monroy, the reigning All-Area Boys' Cross-Country Runner of the Year, and Crescenta Valley's Mike Duncan providing local highlights with top-five individual finishes, the former finishing second and the latter taking fifth.

The girls' race was a race indeed, but Arcadia, led by defending league champion Catrina McAlister, fended off Crescenta Valley, 26-29.

"It was a great race with Arcadia," said Falcons Coach Mark Evans, whose team has won seven straight league titles, but came into Thursday ranked 10th in the latest CIF Southern Section Division I poll with Arcadia at seventh. "[Arcadia's] a good team, they were kinda the favorites. I think our girls rose to the occasion. I was impressed with how we ran."

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Perhaps the biggest surprise and, in turn, the biggest change from a season ago was the performance of Burbank's McKenzie Paul, who took second in 18 minutes 26 seconds behind McAlister (18:18).

"The times I'm running now are nowhere near the times I was running last year," said Paul, who added that training with the boys' team has been part of her success. "I'm in a lot better shape now.

"My goal is to get second place this year in league. … [So far, it's going] exactly to plan right now."

Paul finished fourth in last season's league finals at Griffith Park with a time of 18:57.

Crescenta Valley was led by Claudia Pham, last year's All-Area Girls' Runner of the Year, who finished third in 18:28. Aside from Paul, the top 13 finishers were either Apaches or Falcons.

Anneke Kakebeen came in fifth for the Falcons at 18:45, followed by Cali King (seventh, 19:26), Brooke Moultrie (eighth, 19:30) and Erika Johnson (11th, 19:44). Johnson, just a freshman, is the younger sister of Ali Johnson, one of the Falcons' top-five runners last season, who's still nursing an injury.

Last year, the Falcons also dropped the first league meet of the season, before rallying to take the next two and the league crown.

"Our intention is still to defend the title," Evans said. "This is one meet, we've still got two shots to catch them.

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