FRESNO — History came served with a tinge of bitterness for the Flintridge Prep cross-country program.
The Rebel boys and girls, who were joined by the Crescenta Valley High boys and La Cañada High individual qualifier Anna Frederich at Saturday’s CIF State Championships at Fresno’s Woodward Park, had hoped to take home both individual and team championships.
While Rebels senior Alan Yoho delivered his school’s first-ever state individual title, there were no further victories, although there was still much to celebrate.
“It was nice to win, but I would have loved to have won the program’s fifth [state] championship,” Yoho said. “It’s the team that we think about first.”
Yoho captured the Division V state individual title in a personal-best time of 15 minutes, 11 seconds in topping two-time defending state champion Trevor Reinhart (15:24) of Marin Academy.
Yoho’s 14-second differential was impressive given that he and Reinhart were virtually tied at the one-mile mark, while Reinhart led, 10:34 to 10:35, at two miles.
“He was elbowing me and I was elbowing him. It was pretty aggressive, probably the hardest race I’ve ever raced in,” Yoho said. “After the last hill, I started to pull away. I knew I wasn’t going to make it to Nike Nationals, so I might as well [win].”
Yoho blitzed Reinhart over the final mile, while sophomore teammate Jack Van Scoter closed in on third in 15:41.
“Alan and Trevor set themselves apart pretty early. It was just up to the rest of us to fight for that last podium spot,” Van Scoter said. “It’s disappointing not to place in the top three.”
Unfortunately for CIF Southern Section Division V champion Flintridge Prep, there was no top-three plaque as the Rebels finished fourth with 127 points, edged out by La Jolla Country Day, which tallied 122 points.
Flintridge Prep’s final three scorers were sophomore Nikhil Poole (19th, 16:38), senior Tyler Fong (55th, 17:18) and sophomore Rab Moran (86th, 17:46).
St. Joseph Notre Dame defended its crown with 64 points, ahead of runner-up Marin Academy’s 119-point total.
Similarly, there were mixed emotions for the Flintridge Prep girls despite the Rebels tying their highest finish at state.
The Rebels won a plaque, their first since back-to-back bronze efforts in 2003 and 2004, in taking third place at the Division V state finals with 93 points, trailing Branson (70 points) and Central Valley Christian (82).
“We knew it was going to be a tight race having looked at the Northern Section and Central Section races and times,” Rebels co-Coach Jill Riehl said. “Yes, there were expectations to win, but our goal since the beginning of the season was to get to the [championship] podium.”
Flintridge Prep was hoping to deliver an inaugural girls’ state championship a week after securing a CIF Southern Section Division V title.
However, the Rebels struggled from the beginning with freshman Natalie O’Brien and junior Ashley Lara placing 24th and 28th, respectively, after one mile.
The duo then flip-flopped at mile two, with Lara in 23rd and O’Brien at 27th.
Eventually, junior Lacy Coan moved up into the lead in taking 18th in 19:40.
“I saw Ashley and Natalie up front and didn’t think I’d be able to reach them,” Coan said, “but I wanted to help my team and I had to get up there.”
Following Coan, the Rebels’ scoring squad included Lara (26th, 19:48), O’Brien (27th, 19:49), Maia Cohen (33rd, 20:12) and Kate Evans (42nd, 20:27).
“Hey, we thought we could win,” Rebels co-Coach Mike Roffina said, “but I don’t think you can be disappointed with finishing top three.”
For the second straight week, La Cañada High senior Anna Frederich turned in an impressive kick over the final 500 meters of a race.
While Frederich’s closing speed nabbed the individual qualifier third at last week’s Southern Section divisional final, this week the senior raced to seventh in the Division III state final in an area-best mark of 18:17.
“I’m a senior and this was my last race. I was going to give everything, even if I died,” an exhausted Frederich said afterward. “It’s like, what’s that old saying – live free or die hard.”
Frederich was eighth through the first mile in a race ultimately won by Northwood’s Bethan Knights in 17:08.
Frederich then slowed a bit, falling to 10th at the two-mile mark and 12th about 100 meters later before making her move.
First, Frederich passed up Laguna Hills’ Brianna Bartello (12th, 18:30) and then jumped ahead of Santa Cruz’s Cate Radliff (11th, 18:30), Bishop Amat’s Emily Hubert (10th, 18:19) and finally past Oak Park’s Brittany Blackwell (ninth, 18:18) and Northwood’s Samantha Murphy (eighth, 18:18) over the final 50 meters.
“Anna knows that the last mile is one of her strengths. She’s such a gutsy runner that she knows that if she hangs that she can surge ahead at the end,” Spartans Coach Jenn Strople said.
In taking seventh, Frederich became the first Spartan girl to place at state since Emily Farr in 2001 (10th in 19:13), while being the program’s highest finisher since Nicole Bonino took fifth (18:40) in Division III in 1998.
Crescenta Valley capped a season that included the program’s first visit to state as a team since 2007 by placing 11th overall with 290 points in race won by rival Arcadia (59 points).
The Falcons, who finished fifth at the CIF-SS Division I finals at week earlier, were nipped for a top-10 spot by El Toro, which merited 10th with 290 points.
“We gave what we had and I thought we had a pretty good race. We’re just in a really good division,” Falcons Coach Mark Evans said. “It’s really difficult to stay with our plan when everyone goes fast. You have to stay calm and I thought we did that.”
Individually, senior Gabe Collison led the Falcons in his swan song, placing 21st in 15:44.
Collison was strong through the first mile, powering to 12th place with teammate Nick Beatty two spots behind.
One of the more interesting moments came when Collison accidentally nudged Arcadia sophomore Phillip Rocha about a half mile into the race.
“We just bumped fists and I think we knew we could help each other out,” said Collison, who was first hugged after finishing the race by former Arcadia Coach Jim O’Brien. “I’ve always enjoyed running with those guys.”
Yet, the speed of the race caught up with Collison and the Falcons, as the senior was 20th at two miles before taking 21st.
Senior Matt Manalo was the next fastest finisher for the Falcons, taking 46th in 15:59, while junior Carter Mackey was 54th (16:02), Beatty was 77th (16:14) and senior Matt Owens rounded out the scoring by placing 97th (16:24).