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Tologs back for more state success

FSHA returns familiar class in hopes of another state ascent

CV, Prep try to succeed through transition.

September 07, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

For a second consecutive autumn, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy cross-country team returns a host of returners.

Last season, that notion elicited a good deal of promise from Tologs veteran Coach Kirk Nishiyama.

However, a string of inconsistent efforts plagued Sacred Heart for much of last year. But it was how the Tologs ran when it counted most that has Nishiyama once again excited about the prospects of having most of his cast back for the 2011 cross-country campaign.

"I think our varsity didn't really come together until late," Nishiyama said. "They know what they want to accomplish.

"I think there's a lot more confidence."

The confidence comes on the heels of the Paulina Antaplyan-led Tologs taking third in the CIF-State Division IV meet last season and returning with the likes of Antaplyan, Stephanie Vargas and Riley Gilmartin once again leading the way.

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"If we stay healthy, we should be pretty good," Nishiyama said. "That's the key is if we can stay healthy."

The Tologs were one of two local teams to make it to the state meet in Fresno last year, with Mike Roffina's Flintridge Prep squad earning a berth in the Division V meet, while Crescenta Valley once again reaffirmed itself as a titlist in the Pacific League and ventured back into the CIF Southern Section Division I championships.

The trio has equally high hopes with the Tologs happy to have just about everyone back, while the Falcons and Rebels are shuffling to replace valuable cogs to last season's success.

Rounding out the half-dozen local squads, Glendale, Holy Family and Hoover are simply looking for improvement, whether it's in times dropping or increasing numbers in the program.

Coach Mark Evans' program is dealing with the losses of varsity mainstays Claudia Pham and Anneke Kakebeen, but Evans is quite excited about the prospects of Cali King, a junior returner who the longtime coach believes could contend for a Pacific League individual championship.

"She has the tools, she has the strength, she has the speed," said Evans of King, who finished 10th at last year's Pacific League finals and was consistently one of the Falcons' top five runners. "This is the best she's looked."

King also won't have to deal with Catrina McAlister, the multiple-time league champ who led Arcadia to a co-share of the league crown along with the Falcons, who won their eighth-straight title last year. Crescenta Valley also made it back to the CIF finals a season after having come up short in the preliminaries.

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