"We didn't have many people who could fill out the events back then," said Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Mario Aguilar, who has served as the program's distance coach the past four years and has taken over the head coaching responsibilities for this season while Coach Eddie Gorton pursues his master's degree. "There's been a total reversal in interest and now we have a lot of people who have been trying out.
"We've had some success in the last two years or so. We had 44 people come out last year and we look to have about that same number this year."
Flintridge Sacred Heart will attempt to contend for the program's first Mission League championship and will look to send at least 10 athletes to the CIF Southern Section Division IV finals at Cerritos College in Norwalk in May.
The Tologs will return the nucleus of their team, including junior sprinters Drew Washington and Stephanie Vargas. Washington and Vargas will team up with Daelyn Moon and Noelle Niederhaus in the 4x400-meter relay. The quartet placed fifth at the division final last season with a school-record mark of 3 minutes 57.96 seconds.
Also coming back is distance runner Paulina Antaplyan, who will lead the charge in the 1,600 and 3,200 races. The junior competed in both events at CIF last season, setting a school record in the 3,200 (11:15.36).
"We are overloaded in talent in some events, so we will look to fill in at the other events in terms of who can score well," Aguilar said. "It's a great problem to have."
Expectations remain high at Crescenta Valley under the guidance of Coach Mark Evans.
The Falcons will return several key athletes, including senior sprinters Jessica Beerman and Tiernan Hebron. Beerman captured Pacific League titles in the 100 and 200 last season, while Hebron won the 400.