Tag Archives: Taylor Lombardo

Burbank Cross Country Ready for Big Year

It is no secret that local cross country teams are continually competitive year in and year out.
But this year figures to a special one for the Burbank High boys’ team. There is no telling how good the Bulldogs can be. They return all seven of their varsity runners from league finals from a year ago and if healthy should finish their season in Fresno at the California State Championships. As hard as it might be to believe, Burbank’s boys’ team has actually never been to the state meet.

Burroughs, which won the CIF Southern Section Division 1 boys’ title in 2014, isn’t far behind.
Both the Burbank and Burroughs girls’ teams figure to fight for the Pacific League title after finishing first and second a year ago.

Burbank

The Bulldog boys’ team is looking to be healthy this year after struggling with that aspect a year ago.  The Bulldogs open the season ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 preseason poll. In track season, there were five Bulldogs who broke the 10-minute barrier in the 3,200 meters. This would be comparable to a starting five in basketball that all average in double figures in points.

Senior Victor Goli is coming off a fine track season after he was sick much of last cross country season.  Goli ran 4 minutes, 23.4 seconds in the 1,600 and 9:25.58 in the 3,200. Junior Andres Leon is running right alongside him. He went 4:26.81 and 9:42.18 as a sophomore.

Burbank High’s Victor Goli at the finish line last season.

Seniors Dayne Ellis (9:46.29), Anthony Chiaravalle (9:55.97) and Tadeh Shanazari (9:57.59) all went under 10 minutes in track. Senior Steve Wright (10:10.39) was not far behind. Junior Mher Matevosyan, who is a middle distance specialist, will also be in the running for a varsity spot. Matevosyan went 1:58.59 for 800 meters as a sophomore and 4:38.35 in the 1,600. Fellow junior Tyler Jenkins (4:42.05 and 10:07.77) should also see some time on varsity.

Senior Andrew Uhm and sophomore Damon Lovelace are also fighting for a spot on varsity.

“In a league with so many talented athletes and such knowledgeable, successful coaches, we always make it our goal to be in the top three and this year is no different,” Burbank coach Kathryn Nelson said. “We hope to advance our boys team into the CIF Finals and take a shot at making the State Meet this year.”

The Burbank girls’ team is coming off of a league championship season. The Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 9 in the CIF Division 1 preseason poll, were hit hard by graduation. However, they are still deep and should still be in contention for another league title.

Sol Fernandez is back for her senior year.  She ran 5:18.1 in the 1,600 last spring in track and 11:24.3 in the 3,200.

Sol Fernandez

Junior Mckynzee Kelley was the Pacific League frosh-soph champion in the 1,600, going 5:25.38.  Kelley (11:35.3 in 3,200). Elin Markarian (11:34.00 in the 3,200) was the frosh-soph league champion in cross country last year. Fellow juniors Megan LaCamera (12:19.49 as a freshman), Noela Kim (12:03.51), and Zoe Zeron (12:45.48) figure to play key roles on the varsity.
Senior Cynthia Movsisian (12:36.4 in 3,200), sophomore Kyalin Abarabar (13:12.92 in 3,200), senior Izzy Bittencourt (13:12.19 in 3,200) and freshman Joanna Camacho are also fighting for a varsity spot.

“We have a good group of juniors moving up to support Sol but staying healthy will be key,” Nelson said. “We have a very hard working class of freshman girls and we are excited to watch them grow in the program. Joanna Camacho has already broken into the top 10 coming out of summer and Clara Kim is not far behind.”

Burroughs

The Indians will be solid with the boys and girls teams.

Junior Jordan Guzman, who finished sixth in the Pacific League finals last year, will lead the way. Senior Ceci Whitney, who finished eighth in league, is also back. Sophomore Sophia Navarro, who was 10th in league finals, gives the Indians a solid top three.

Jordan Guzman of Burroughs

Sophomore Savannah Hernandez (12:14.6 in 3,200) will probably will the role of being fourth. Juniors Briana Contreras (12:46.45 in 3,200) and Kiara Cruz (27th in cross country league finals last year) should give the Indians enough to be serious league contenders.

Seniors Taylor Lombardo, Samanatha Hoxsie and junior Kaia Mouser are also in contention for spots on varsity.

“We need to work on closing the gap between our top seven runners,” Burroughs coach John Peebles said. “They are working hard and it is a long season, but we have to simply focus on getting better one day at a time.”

The Burroughs boys team is one that might surprise some people because they are quite good, even though everyone is looking at Crescenta Valley and Burbank. The Indians might actually be a year away from being the team to beat in league.

Junior Julian Largaespada was the Pacific League’s frosh-soph champion in the 1,600 (4:36.37).

Junior Jimmy Nealis (4:41.21 in 1,600) is also capability of big things.

Seniors Logan Berger (10:10.29 in the 3,200 in league finals), Trevor Villagran (10:18.30) and  Robert McGraham (10:46.46) are all solid veterans.

Sophomore Mason Ortega (4:50.62 in 1,600 in Buroughs-Burbank dual meet),  sophomore Jalen Leighton (4:54.49 in 1,600 in Burroughs-Burbank dual meet) and sophomore Chase Eldridge (hurdler, middle distance runner in track) will also battle for a spot on varsity.

“The boys are really working on the concept of pack running,” Peebles said.  “The path to success for the boys will be getting the pack to go together.”

Burbank Cross Country Looking Scary Good

Long-distance running has been strong locally for decades. That will not change in 2018. However, this time the power has shifted to Burbank High after Burroughs enjoyed a few years of dominance and a CIF Southern Section title.

Burbank

The Bulldogs are young, talented and deep for both the boys’ and girls’ teams.

For the boys’ team, four runners went under the 10-minute barrier in the 3,200 last spring in track. Of those, just Jahir Olvera is a senior.

A very strong group of juniors led by Victor Goli are back. Also returning on varsity are Dayne Ellis, Anthony Chiaravalle and Tadeh Shanazari. If all goes well, this group could be a year away from challenging for a CIF title.

Sophomore Andres Leon is another star and one of the sub-10 minute runners in the 3,200.

The seventh spot on varsity is up for grabs with senior Peter Al-Hasani, juniors Christian Nunez, Leo Apreza, Andrew Uhm, Steven Wright and Ethan Hutchin competing.

Sophomores Tyler Jenkins, Cody Lin, Tony Ordoukhanian and Mher Matevosyan could also break through into the varsity squad.

“We are very happy with the summer base. (There has been) lots of hard work and excitement about this season,” co-Coach Kathryn Nelson said. “As always, staying healthy is the key. In a league with so much postseason experience, we are constantly aware of the level of commitment required to break into that top three.”

Sol Fernandez of Burbank High. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

The girls’ team may not have as much star power up front, but it is very deep. Burbank has more than a dozen returners who have gone under 13 minutes in the 3,200.

Junior Sol Fernandez returns and is the team captain. Seniors Shalom Mejia, Lydia Forsyth, Jamie Levin, Natalie Danao and Raquel Goli give Burbank a solid core with experience. Junior Cynthia Movsisian is also expected to run on varsity.

Sophomores Noela Kim, Mckynzee Kelley, Megan LaCamera, Elin Markarian and Gabrianna Bass might also make a run at a varsity spot. Freshman Kyalin Abarabar has also been impressive early on.

Burroughs

The Indians have lost some star power in Jagdeep Chahal for the boys’ team and Emily Virtue for the girls’ team. Both have continued their careers in college as Chahal, the CIF Master’s Meet champion in the 1,600, is at UC Santa Barbara. Virtue, a national finalist in cross country as a sophomore, is at Columbia University.

The Burroughs boys’ team is led by senior Raymond Berrellez, who should be amongst the best in the Pacific League.

The rest of the team will mostly consist of runners who are new to varsity.

Sophomore Jimmy Nealis and senior Carlos Ponce have shown promise.

Also fighting for a varsity spot are seniors Johnny Padungyothee, Peter Lainson and Patrick Suarez as well as juniors Logan Berger, Issac Flores, Robert McGraham and Dane Wright.

Sophomore Julius Largaespada and freshman Xander Penaflor might also make a run at a varsity spot.

“We do not have a lot of experience, so this year will definitely be a learning year for some of our younger runners,” Burroughs coach John Peebles said. “Raymond is looking very strong, so we hope that transitions into a strong season for him and that brings the others with him.”

Jordan Guzman of Burroughs

The girls’ team has some talent and is led by sophomore Jordan Guzman, who was impressive last spring in track. Seniors Julianna Navarro, Lakely Nealis and Vanessa Reveles are also expected to make a push for a varsity spot. Juniors Taylor Lombardo and Ceci Whitney as well as sophomore Jamie Perez-Fernandez could also see time on varsity.

Sophomore Patrycja Maciak and freshman Sophia Navarro provide depth.

“I think our senior leadership will be key on the girls’ side. Our seniors will need to be leaders, both vocally and in terms of running,” Peebles said. “They have to be able to challenge themselves and the younger girls in order to accomplish what they would like to accomplish.”