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Gabe Collison taking the lead for Crescenta Valley cross-country

Emerging as CV's No. 1 runner, the Falcons junior is at forefront of team's recent resurgence

October 06, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk
  • Gabe Collison of the Crescenta Valley High boys' cross-country team.
Gabe Collison of the Crescenta Valley High boys'… (Tim Berger, Los…)

Even a pack as tightly grouped as the Crescenta Valley High boys' cross-country team needs a standout to lead the charge.

Junior Gabe Collison has emerged as the standard bearer for a surprising Falcons team that has risen from the disappointment of last year's down season and vaulted itself right back into contention for a Pacific League title and a CIF berth.

By design, it's been a consummate team effort, but Collison has consistently been the first Falcon across the finish line throughout the team's timely progression this season.

"He's running very well and looking at him in workouts, he's very strong, he's very motivated," veteran Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Evans says. "He really wants to do well."

No small part of that motivation comes from the bad taste left in the mouths of Collison and his fellow returners after the 2011 season that saw the Falcons finish out of the top three in league before their season ran into an early end in the CIF Southern Section Division I prelims.

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Unranked in Division I to start the year, the Falcons have already made a statement to the rest of the division and league by beating out both state top-ranked Arcadia and Burbank, which was ranked fifth to start the year, in the first league meet at Griffith Park on Sept. 20.

"I think we all just want to show Arcadia and Burbank that we're not going to be pushed around," says Collison, who finished second overall in 15 minutes 54 seconds to pace a Falcons win that vaulted CV into the No. 8 ranking in the division. "We're going to do some of the pushing and the shoving. At Griffith Park we were able to do that.

"We all know what we can do and we know we still have a lot of improvement ahead of us. That's what's driving us right now."

Improvement also characterized Collison's offseason, which started with a breakout track season in which he cut his time in the 3,200 meters below 10 minutes. After mostly finishing behind last year's No. 1 in cross-country, the graduated Mike Duncan, and alternating the No. 2 and 3 spots with Aaron Esparza, who is back for his senior year, Collison has quickly taken the mantle of No. 1 this season.

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