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All-American Effort

Crescenta Valley senior concluded high school cross-country days with one of the greatest seasons in area history

January 07, 2009|By Grant Gordon

Zack Torres was never satisfied.

With an insatiable appetite for competition and victory, the flat-topped Crescenta Valley High senior took his undeniable cross-country talents to another level during the 2008 season. His all-out efforts ended with a tandem of memorable headfirst dives across finish lines, pounded fists when his lofty goals weren’t reached and success to a historic degree as it relates to area chronicle.

More than anything in his arsenal, it was Torres’ will to win that drove him to become the area’s best boys’ cross-country runner three seasons ago, one of the state’s very best two seasons ago and one of the nation’s elite this year.


Hence, for a third straight year, Torres was easily a unanimous choice, as voted by the editors and sportswriters of Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Canada Valley Sun, for the 2008 All-Area Boys’ Cross-Country Runner of the Year.

“He’s as competitive as anyone I’ve ever seen,” Crescenta Valley cross-country Coach Mark Evans says. “He is out there to do the very best he can do.”

Torres’ best was better than most.

“Cross-country appealed to me because I knew I was going to work hard every day and if I worked hard every day, I was gonna do some big stuff,” Torres says. “[When I started], I never really had a goal in mind, I just wanted to beat people.”

In 2008, he cruised to his second consecutive Pacific League individual title, defeating his nearest competitor by eight seconds on his way to setting the Arcadia Park course record.

At the CIF Southern Section Division I finals, Torres finished second, a mark that would’ve made most proud, but had him fuming at coming up short of his CIF championship goal.

A week later, on the larger stage of the CIF-State Meet, he once again finished second, but found himself more content with the mark after running a stupendous race to the tune of a 15-minute 10-second finish.

Unlike most, Torres’ season didn’t end with the state meet. He continued on, qualifying for the Foot Locker Nationals.

There, Torres ended his high school cross-country career with an exclamation point.

Much like he did earlier in the season at the Clovis Invitational, Torres made a last-second dive across the finish line.

At Clovis, he notched second place by a nose.

At the nationals in San Diego, he became an All-American upon further review.

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