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Flintridge Prep leads local contingent into Mt. SAC

Cross-country: Rebels looking for dual Division V Sweepstakes crowns, while Crescenta Valley, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Glendale, Hoover and St. Francis are looking for solid efforts.

October 23, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com

Perhaps no race means as much and simultaneously as little as will this Friday’s and Saturday’s 66th annual Mt. San Antonio Cross-Country Invitational in Walnut.

The two-day event has over 300 high schools present with locals Crescenta Valley, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Flintridge Prep, Glendale, Hoover and St. Francis highs all participating.

No one made a bigger local splash last year than did the Flintridge Prep boys, who upset CIF Southern Section Division V top-ranked St. Margaret’s and won the meet with 68 points, which marked the first time the Rebels captured a Mt. SAC title in program history, according to coach Ingrid Herskind.

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“It was a little bit of a surprise last year, but my guys are humble and I don’t worry about that going to their heads,” Herskind said. “Winning is always a great thing, but we’re trying to stay grounded and remember that this is only one step toward our ultimate goal, which is to win a CIF State title.”

The Rebels won’t be upsetting anyone in the Southern Section should they win Friday’s Division V Sweepstakes at 5:28 p.m., as they enter top-ranked.

However, Herskind isn’t denying there’s at least some added focus as the Rebels are set to square off with state Division V top-ranked (according to dyestatcal.com) St. Joseph Notre Dame, which has nipped second-ranked Flintridge Prep by a point at the last two state meets, including an 86-87 win in last year’s state Division V championship.

“We haven’t had a chance to race against them and we’re anxious to see what they have,” Herskind said. “We know they returned most of their team, so they should be fierce.”

Expectations are equally high for the top-ranked Rebels girls, who are similarly top-ranked in their section and No. 2 in state.

Flintridge Prep runs in Friday’s Division V Sweepstakes at 5:13 p.m. in a loaded field that includes state top-ranked Branson of Northern California.

“We’re ready to go and we’re taking this really seriously, especially with Branson there,” Rebels Coach Mike Roffina said. “But I don’t want to get too far ahead. Our No. 1 goal is to win a Prep League championship, which we’ll be running in next Saturday. Everything leading up to that, including Mt. SAC, is just preparation.”

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