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Burbank High boys, Crescenta Valley girls highlight local Pacific League efforts

Cross-country: Bulldogs take second place via an upset, while the Falcons also claim silver at championships.

November 07, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • Burbank High's Elliot Choe runs to the finish in fifth place at the Pacific League cross-country finals at Arcadia County Park on Thursday. Choe led the Bulldogs to second place. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Burbank High's Elliot Choe runs to the finish in…

ARCADIA — On the surface, Thursday afternoon’s Pacific League cross-country championships appeared little more than a large Arcadia High celebration.

After all, the Apaches won both the boys’ and girls’ team titles and claimed each race’s individual crown at Arcadia County Park.

PHOTOS: Pacific League cross country final 

Yet, quite a few local teams made noise, both surprisingly and expectedly, led by the Burbank boys and Crescenta Valley girls, who finished second in their respective races, while the Crescenta Valley and Burroughs boys and the Burbank and Hoover girls all earned spots to the CIF Southern Section divisional preliminaries at Mt. San Antonio College on Nov. 16.

Maybe no team made a bigger splash than did the Division I fifth-ranked Bulldog boys, who appear to be surging and demonstrated their prowess by knocking off seventh-ranked Crescenta Valley for the first time this season, 47-63, for second place in league.

“With CV and Arcadia, we just let them go and waited to make our move,” said Bulldogs senior Elliot Choe, who finished fifth in 14 minutes, 44.09 seconds, which trumped a previous course best of 15:08.

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Choe and senior Arsen Mkrtchyan (sixth, 14:49.12) stuck to their plan, even when their chances of advancing to the Division I prelims looked imperiled as the duo were 12th and 13th, respectively, at the one-mile mark.

Yet, a mile later, the Burbank duo moved into eighth and ninth before eventually finishing fifth and sixth.

“This was a slow build to state and we’re still getting there,” said Mkrtchyan, who easily eclipsed his previous course personal best time of 15:10. “We still have work to do.”

Burbank’s next three scorers — Gabriel Ellman (10th, 15:08.38), Ethan Moskowitz (11th, 15:09.91) and Enrique Vizcaino (15th, 15:18.97) — propelled the Bulldogs within striking distance of league champion and top-ranked Arcadia, 27-47, which also had a surprise result when sophomore Phillip Rocha (14:02.12) nipped senior Estevan De La Rosa (12:02.47) at the finish line to win the Pacific League individual title in a new league record time.

Burbank’s joy was contrasted with a slight tinge of disappointment from the Falcons, who were led by senior Gabe Collison (third, 14:13.47).

Fellow Falcons Matt Manalo (seventh, 14:54.78), Matt Owens (13th, 15:16.66) and Nick Beatty (19th, 15:32) all scored in the top 20.

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