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Flintridge Prep boys' cross country team reloads for state push

Rebels lost 12 seniors, but will still make push for state; rest of locals looking for return to CIF.

September 05, 2012|By Grant Gordon and Andrew Shortall
  • The Flintridge Prep boys' cross country team will look to return to the state championships this season.
The Flintridge Prep boys' cross country team will… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

Like any school and cross-country program, every season sees the Flintridge Prep boys' cross-country team deal with plenty of turnover due to graduation.

But unlike any other boys' program in the area, the Rebels seemingly always reload as the most successful year in and year out, as longtime coach Ingrid Herskind continues to navigate the small school power that has won 19 of the last 20 Prep League titles and routinely ventures to the state meet, flexing its might as a Division V power.

This season, Herskind's aiming for nothing less than the same high Rebels standard despite losing 12 seniors from last year's team.

"That's always tough on a team, but we've had an incredible summer putting the team back together," said Herskind, whose team won its second league crown in a row last season before going on to a third-place finish in the CIF Southern Section Division V final en route to a fourth-place mark at state. "They're just ready to go, ready to run."

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Herskind said senior Aaron Sugimoto is likely to be the team's frontrunner, "but it alternates all the time."

She expects the rest of the top five to be filled out by senior Elias Ellison and juniors Alan Yoho, Tyler Fong and Danny Weitekamp. Herskind's also particularly happy with the team's work ethic thus far, including its affinity for cross-training, often using swimming and bicycling to add to the training.

"We're definitely stronger than we were last year," Herskind said. "We're really trying to do that to prevent injuries."

Prep begins the season ranked third in the Southern Section Division V rankings, behind No. 1 St. Margaret's and No. 2 Xavier Prep, while Prep League rivals Chadwick and Pasadena Poly sit at Nos. 4 and No. 8, respectively.

"Definitely, I think our biggest [league] competitor will be Chadwick. I think they're gonna be pretty good," Herskind said.

Of course, Prep always has its eyes on returning to state and Herskind is eyeing a return to a top-three state finish and a spot on the podium.

"We definitely want to get back up there," Herskind said.

La Cañada, on the other hand, is looking to build on its CIF Southern Section Division III prelim appearance and third-place finish in the Rio Hondo League under new coach Adam Hodges.

"We'd like to at least match that finish in league and advance to CIF," said Hodges, whose team will have to deal with South Pasadena, which is ranked seventh in Division III. "Anything beyond that will be icing on the cake."

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