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Flintridge Prep cross-country leads way at CIF prelims

Cross-country: Flintridge Prep boys, girls move on, as does Flintridge Sacred Heart and Crescenta Valley boys.

November 17, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa

Maybe the only cross-country race of the season in which winning takes a back seat to qualifying was at Saturday's day-long CIF Southern Section Divisional Preliminaries at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

Crescenta Valley High's and Flintridge Prep's boys' and girls' teams, along with the girls' squads from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Hoover all attempted to qualify to the following week's divisional finals with some moving on and others falling short.

At the end of the day, both Rebels squads moved on, along with the Falcons' boys' team and the Tologs.

Perhaps Crescenta Valley best displayed this dichotomy, as there was both celebration and heartbreak in the school's tent.

The Crescenta Valley boys, who appeared shaky only a week earlier, looked super on Saturday as the Falcons took second in the first heat of Division I action with 63 points, which topped Pacific League champion Arcadia (65), was within striking distance of race-winner Great Oak and easily propelled the squad to the finals.

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"They were really relaxed and ran a good, solid race," Falcons Coach Mark Evans said. "We weren't going for [personal records] or anything like that, they were just looking to run well and they did."

One of the bigger questions revolved around Falcons senior Gabe Collison, who missed a couple of days this week because of the flu.

Collison, however, was good enough to take second for his team and seventh overall in 15 minutes, 28 seconds. Collison's teammate, Nick Beatty, was the squad leader in finishing fourth in 15:24, while senior Matt Manalo (10th, 15:35) turned in a third top-10 effort for the Falcons. Senior Matt Owens (16th, 15:47) and junior Manav Vatts (27th, 16:05) also turned in strong showings for the Falcons.

On the flip side, despite a decent race, the Crescenta Valley girls were knocked out of fourth place and the final qualifying spot in their Division I second heat race by Valencia, 110-136.

"Sometimes that happens. The girls ran a pretty good race, but Valencia was just better," Evans said. " Valencia has gotten a lot better in the last two weeks and they really put it together today."

Junior Megan Melnyk was Crescenta Valley's top placer and just missed moving on by two positions as she was eighth (18:22) and was joined by Rebecca Mencia (25th, 19:08), Haley Witzeman (27th, 19:15) and Erika Johnson (38th, 19:38).

The Flintridge Prep boys and girls were their usual dominant selves on Saturday afternoon.

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