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State trio aiming for Fresno once more

After reaching state last year, CV, Prep and FSHA hope for return trips.

September 03, 2012|By Grant Gordon
(Tim Berger, Staff…)

When the 2011 cross-country season concluded for Crescenta Valley High, Flintridge Prep and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, they all found themselves in Fresno.

Their paths all led them to their same desired destination and the trio of locals is hopeful of another trek north to the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park. But all three will have to take vastly different paths to get there.

Crescenta Valley has a large group of returners, led by All-Area honorees Cali King and Megan Melnyk, and is looking to use a strong pack to get back to state.

Prep has its one-two punch of Kate Evans and Sara Yoho back and is looking for big things, while Flintridge Sacred Heart, though it's experienced, lost its one-two of Stephanie Vargas and Paulina Antaplyan and realizes an uphill battle is ahead of it to get back to state.

Meanwhile, Glendale, Hoover and Holy Family bring goals of building a foundation this season for hopeful success down the road.

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For the Falcons, while their streak of eight straight Pacific League titles fell to the wayside against rival Arcadia, they were able to make it back to state for the first time since 2008.

Coach Mark Evans, the reigning All-Area Girls' Cross-Country Coach of the Year, has every intention of back-to-back trips with the core of King, a senior, Melnyk, a sophomore, senior Hannah Ruby and junior Erika Johnson returning.

"Our focus is on the pack," said Evans, whose team is ranked sixth in the initial CIF Southern Section Division I poll after having taken second in the Pacific League, sixth in the divisional finals and ninth at the state meet last year. "Our strength is we run as a team. We have a pretty good pack. That got us pretty far last year and it's gonna need to get us far this year. I think any one of them at any time could be the No. 1 runner."

Evans said the sophomore trio of Haley Witzeman, Amanda Burch and Katherine Nolte will also be a large part of a successful equation. While getting back to state is a large goal, league comes first and Evans believes Arcadia will once again be an arduous opponent to overcome.

"I think Arcadia's gonna be a very good team. They've got a pretty good group of girls back," said Evans of the Apaches, who are ranked eighth in the preseason. "There's definitely gonna be some challenges in league. We can't take anything for granted."

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