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Maintaining a tradition

Michelle Callister made her fourth straight trip to Fresno, and led the Falcons this time around

January 07, 2009|By Grant Gordon

Added excitement came in the fact that a steady stream of doubt followed the 2008 Falcons, as they were without Claire Collison and Rachel Lange, both of them state standouts that had keyed Crescenta Valley’s rise to the top.

But with Callister and fellow senior Carlotta Pham leading the way, the Falcons kept up their burgeoning tradition, taking home another league title, finishing third at the Southern Section finals and sixth at the CIF-State Meet.

“We gotta keep it going,” she says of her and her teammates feelings as they related to maintaining the tradition. “A lot of this year was the girls in the past helping push us along.”

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Just as much incentive was dealing with all the doubters.

“We were able to prove everybody wrong,” she says.

Individually, Callister was also able to cash in on a long-term goal when she won the Pacific League title at Arcadia Park.

“I was just amazed, ‘Oh my God, I actually did it,’” she recalls.

It was a goal she’d made for herself back in the autumn of 2005. It was one of the few things that has not changed as it related to Callister’s running.

“My freshman year, I was just running because, in middle school, I was good at it,” Callister says. “Now, I run because I love it. I’ve learned how I need to run races.”

She also learned how to lead races.

Coming into the season, Evans thought the Falcons’ top runner could be Callister or Pham or Megan Doeding or Anneke Kakebeen. But by year’s end, Callister had become a mainstay as Crescenta Valley’s top finisher.

“I knew she had that ability and I was pleased to see she stepped up and used it,” Evans says. “That’s what I was the most pleased with, is she had the confidence in her abilities to go out and do that.”


 GRANT GORDON is the sports editor. He can be reached at (818) 637-3225 or grant.gordon@latimes.com.

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