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Hoover High girls' cross-country leads local school quartet to CIF

Tornadoes looking to extend historic cross-country season, while Crescenta Valley, Flintridge Prep and Flintridge Sacred Heart are also preparing to advance to divisional finals.

November 15, 2013|By Andrew Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • Hoover's Lucik Minassian runs to the finish in 16th place at the Pacific League cross-country finals at Arcadia County Park on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013.
Hoover's Lucik Minassian runs to the finish in 16th… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

With league championship races in the rearview mirror, the business of qualifying to the CIF Southern Section divisional championships is on the mind of the four schools and six total local cross-country teams participating in Saturday’s CIF-SS divisional preliminaries at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

For Crescenta Valley High, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Flintridge Prep, advancing to the prelims has become old hat.

However, the same cannot be said for Hoover High, which made history last weekend when the girls’ team outlasted Burroughs, 121-128, for fourth place within the Pacific League, which nabbed the program’s first prelims bid since 2002.

“The girls are excited for their effort this year. When we started, our two goals were to have enough girls to field a team and to qualify to CIF and we’ve done both of those,” Tornadoes Coach Jack Sallakian said. “Our goal at CIF is to run [personal bests] and not go overboard and get sucked into a race that isn’t ours. We need to run the way we’ve been doing all year.”

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The Tornadoes are participating in the first of three heats of Division III competition at 10:41 a.m. in a tough pack that includes top-ranked Palos Verdes and No. 7-ranked Corona Del Mar. Hoover needs to finish in the top five or have the fastest sixth-place mark of any team in any of the three heats to advance to the following week’s divisional finals back at Mt. SAC.

Senior Lucik Minassian, who finished 16th at the Pacific League finals in 19 minutes, 35.47 seconds, will lead the Tornadoes.

Like Hoover, Flintridge Sacred Heart is also hoping for a top-five finish as the Tologs are competing two races prior to the Tornadoes at 10:16 a.m. in the third and final heat of Division IV girls’ action.

The Tologs are hoping to shake off the rust of a third-place finish at the Mission League finals in a heat highlighted by league champion Harvard-Westlake, which is ranked third in the division.

Despite the tough finish at league finals, the Tologs have a strong one-two punch to lean on up front in junior Kayla Grahn and senior Maddie Peterson, both league top-10 placers.

Perhaps the most movement or news prior to Saturday came from Crescenta Valley, which is making changes to its lineup after the girls finished second at the Pacific League finals and the boys were third.

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