TheÂ AlhambraÂ girls were expected the win the Almont League,Â they’ve more than fulfilled expectations all year, capping it with a big win Wednesday at Legg Lake in South El Monte. The boys side was more wide-open, with ten of the first fourteen finishers from the 2017 final graduated, but Schurr reloaded the best and defended their title.
Coming into 2018, the Alhambra girls returned four of their five scorers while nearest rival Schurr graduated four of their five. Plus the Moors hadÂ Serena Duenas, the defending champ, and they lived up to that promise, winning both clusters and the final. Serena repeated as individual champ in 18:59, a nearly 30 second win.
Schurr’sÂ Marai AtanacioÂ repeated her second place finish from 2017, running 19:25, and led her team to claim 3rd place on the day and third place in league, earning the final CIF spot. Alhambra showed their strength by taking the next three places,Â Alyssa RomeroÂ was 3rd/19:29,Â Palmoa SanchezÂ 4th/19:34 andÂ Milan CambonÂ 5th/19:43.
Jimena VaszquezÂ 6th/19:55 was the best forÂ Bell Gardens,Â who narrowly edged out Schurr for second, while Mark Keppel senior Kelsey Bustamante, who was sixth in the first two meets, fell to 7th/20:18, earningÂ the final All-League, but falling one short of advancing individually.
MontebelloÂ was just two points shy of Schurr and finished a heartbreaking fourth, and out of the CIF spots. Their best was juniorÂ Victoria FraustoÂ in 9th/20:54.Â San Gabriel, led by senior Tiffany ChungÂ -Â 13th/21:14 was fifth andÂ Mark KeppelÂ was sixth.
While the girls season-long competition was pretty stable, the boys was more volatile, with the exception of the rise of Schurr sophÂ Armando Morales.Â Frosh/Soph champ last year, Armando completed an undefeated league season with a commanding 29 second win in 16:28, and led the Spartans to the team title after a small stumble in the second meet.
Senior Jonathan MayaÂ in his first and only season of XC forÂ MontebelloÂ was second in 16:57, and he led the Oilers to second in the meet and second for the season. Third place went toÂ San GabrielÂ soph Jason PhungÂ in 16:59. His team was also third on the day, capping a season long rise from fifth in the first meet.
But the Almont League (like most leagues) counts all three meets in determining the final standings, soÂ Bell Gardens, who placed fourth here, finished third in the league standings and will advance to CIF over the Matadores,Â while Jason will advance individually.Â Senior Emmanuel ValenciaÂ – 15th/18:04 was best for the Lancers.
Last year’s champ,Â Dustin VuÂ (Sr, Schurr) missed most of this season, but returned in time to finish 4th/17:08. The final three All-League spots went toÂ Edson AriasÂ (Jr, Montebello) – 5th/17:21,Â Adam AlvarezÂ (Sr, Mark Keppel) – 6th/17:26, andÂ Richard FloresÂ (Sr, Schurr) – 7th/17:26.
Arias had a nice rise from 30th here last year, and moved up from 16th in the first league meet, while Alvarez qualified for CIF individually, as he did last year, by out leaning Flores for sixth.
AlhambraÂ was 5th in the team standings – their best was seniorÂ Bryan AlbarranÂ – 9th/17:41 andÂ Mark KeppelÂ was sixth.