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Flintridge Prep cross-country claims four crowns

Cross-country: Rebels clinch both boys' and girls' team titles and individual championships, thanks to siblings Alan and Sarah Yoho on historic afternoon.

November 02, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • Flintridge Prep senior Alan Yoho, center, won Saturday afternoon's Prep League boys' cross-country individual championship at Pierce College in tying for the league's best time ever of 15:18. His sister, Sarah Yoho, won the girls' varsity title in 18:52. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
Flintridge Prep senior Alan Yoho, center, won Saturday…

WOODLAND HILLS — In only a two-race span over an hour’s time, the Flintridge Prep cross-country program turned Saturday afternoon’s Prep League Finals into practically a Rebels’ postseason awards banquet.

That was due to Flintridge Prep’s total domination at Los Angeles Pierce College, as both the boys’ and girls’ squads won team titles, while the brother-and-sister combo of Alan and Sarah Yoho captured individual crowns in what was the Rebels’ first step into the 2013 postseason.

“We are ecstatic to win our first title in seven years,” Flintridge Prep girls’ co-Coach Mike Roffina said. “This is the fastest team I’ve ever coached and they’re so young, which is amazing. This is only the beginning of what we hope will be a strong run toward a CIF state title.”

With due deference to the perennial power Flintridge Prep boys, perhaps it’s fair to say Roffina’s girls stole the show Saturday.

The CIF Southern Section Division V top-ranked Rebels upset two-time defending league champion Mayfield Senior School, ranked No. 4 in Division IV, by a 26-40 score to win the program’s first championship since 2006, and fourth this century.

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The Rebels’ lead was tenuous at the mile mark as Flintridge Prep’s No. 5 runner, Maia Cohen, was 10th, only two spots ahead of Mayfield’s fifth scorer, Julia Novak.

Yet, the Rebels expanded their advantage to 10 points at the two-mile mark before winning by 14.

As for the individual battle, senior Sarah Yoho also aspired to knock off a two-time incumbent in Pasadena Poly’s Evan Gancedo.

Yoho led Gancedo by six seconds at one mile, but Gancedo shaved that deficit to four seconds a mile later.

“I saw Sarah before the last 400 meters and just told her, ‘go win it,’” Rebels co-Coach Jillian Riehl said. “As soon as I said that, she picked up speed.”

Yoho eventually outlasted Gancedo in winning with the fifth-fastest time in Prep League history in a mark of 18 minutes, 52 seconds. Gancedo, whose Panthers finished third with 72 points, earned the silver in 19:06, while Mayfield’s Katherine Tighe was third in 19:12.

“This was my last year. I had to win it,” Yoho said. “Plus, you saw how my brother finished. I told myself, ‘you have to win this or else’s he’s the winner.’”

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