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Distance duo

Burbank's formidable 1-2 punch of Amos and Fraire have paced the boys' team to its first appearance in the State Meet in nine years.

November 25, 2011|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Raul Roa Staff Photographer )

BURBANK HIGH — It has been nine years since the Burbank boys' cross-country team qualified for the CIF-State Cross-Country Championships.

On that team in 2002, the Bulldogs possessed a strong duo of Kyle Ivie and Stratos Christianakis. Behind the talented pair, Burbank finished eighth out of 23 teams in the Division II race, recording 214 points and clocking a team time of 81 minutes 59 seconds on the Woodward Park course in Fresno.

The effort was even more impressive for the Bulldogs — who clocked 82:16 to take sixth in the division at the 2000 state meet and 21st out of 101 teams, regardless of division — considering they clocked 84:36 on the same course a month earlier in the Clovis Invitational.

This season, Burbank has another formidable 1-2 punch in sophomore Isaiah Amos and junior Sergio Fraire. And like the scenario nine years ago, the two have paced the Bulldogs to a berth in the State Meet. The Bulldogs will take part in the Division I race at 12:20 p.m. today at Woordard Park.

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Burbank will be joined in the race by senior Anthony Monroy of Burroughs, who qualified for the CIF-State Cross-Country Championships as an individual for the second straight season.

"Having a front runner is essential, but having two who are darn-near bulletproof is a huge advantage over other teams," Burbank Coach Trevor Marca said. "The great thing is that they are both underclassmen, and that makes it really scary for the rest of the state.

Although Amos and Fraire have garnered much of the limelight for the Bulldogs this season, both are quick to give credit to their teammates for helping the team qualify for the elite competition.

"I don't think we would be able to achieve what we have if we didn't have the people that we have on the team this season," said Fraire about a squad that includes Jonathan Stoll, Arsen Mkrtchyan and Bernie Corea, with Stoll being the lone senior among the top scoring five. "We have a really good group."

Marca said Fraire has made big strides since emerging on the scene as a freshman three years ago and Amos showed signs of greatness as a freshman last season.

"I have been really impressed with Sergio because as a freshman he showed some amazing things that kind of foreshadowed that he would have this kind of success as a junior," Marca said. "But as a sophomore, he improved a little bit but he just didn't have that breakthrough year, almost like he skipped his sophomore season.

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