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Taking their shot at state

Cross-country: Four local programs hope to qualify for CIF state meet at Saturday's Southern Section championships.

November 19, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

With the weather forecast looking mostly sunny for Saturday's CIF Southern Section boys' and girls' cross-country championships at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, the venerable course's traditional layout figures to come back into play after the lengthened, but flatter, rain contingency course was used for Saturday's preliminaries.

Thus, the advantage may shift slightly back to more tactical teams and runners, as opposed to the alternate course that traditionally favors speed.

"We're ready for whatever course they decide on," Flintridge Prep boys' Coach Ingrid Herskind said in a sentiment likely shared by all four local teams taking part in Saturday's event.

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Along with the Prep boys in Division V, the field will include the Rebels girls, also in Division V, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in Division IV and Crescenta Valley High's girls' team in Division I.

Division championships are up for grabs, as are invitations to the CIF State Cross Country Championships Nov. 26 at Woodward Park in Fresno. It will take a top-seven finish within their respective division for teams to advance, while top-five individuals not connected to a qualifying team will also advance as long as they finish in the top 20.

"We would like to run one more week," Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Evans said.

Sacred Heart will take to the course first, in the opening race of the morning at 7:45 a.m. The Tologs, ranked 11th in the division, won their prelims heat with an upset of second-ranked Mayfield, one of several top teams, including top-ranked JSerra and third-ranked Mission League-rival Harvard-Westlake, that Sacred Heart will have to contend with again on Saturday.

"We would just like to make it to state, that's going to be a tough battle for us," Sacred Heart Coach Kirk Nishiyama said. "Hopefully, we'll build off our performance from last week. Last week was a big confidence boost for us."

Stephanie Vargas (third in prelims heat in 18 minutes 7 seconds) has led the way for the Tologs this year and Paulina Antaplyan (eighth, 18:50) will look to fill the No. 2 role in what will be just her third race back from an injury suffered early in the season.

"Stephanie's had a great year for us," Nishiyama said. "Steph will lead us, hopefully, and then Paulina behind her. If we get solid performances from those two and our other three come through [we can make it]."

Prep's girls will be up next, with the Division V girls' race set for 8:05.

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