PALOS VERDES PENINSULA — With more than a combined 60 runners who competed in Tuesday afternoon’s first Prep League cross-country meet of the season, one name stood out above all others.
Whether it was the boys’ varsity race or that of the girls, the one name that found its way into the winner’s circle was that of Yoho, as the brother and sister combo of Alan and Sarah Yoho won individual competitions at Palos Verdes Peninsula cross-country course.
“I don’t know of a situation where both a brother and sister won races on the same day,” Rebels girls’ Coach Mike Roffina said. “It’s certainly something different and a testament to both runners.”
Even though Sarah Yoho was coming off a runner-up performance at the Cal Poly Pomona Bronco Invitational on Sept. 7, perhaps it’s still fair to classify her win as an upset, as she topped two-time defending league champion Evan Gancedo of Poly.
“Evan is a great runner, we’re both seniors and it’s a friendly competition,” Sarah Yoho said. “But it felt great to get out ahead of her and continue to build a lead.”
Through a mile and a half, Sarah Yoho built a 10-second advantage over Gancedo with the rest of the pack at a distance.
Yet, as Sarah Yoho surged through Agony Hill, near the race’s two-mile point, she created serious distance from Gancedo, who tired and eventually finished fifth in 21 minutes, 52 seconds.
By the time Sarah Yoho crossed the finish line in 20:36, she had positioned herself ahead of the second-place runner by more than 50 seconds.
In a surprise, Rebels freshman Natalie O’Brien took that spot in her varsity debut with a time of 21:27.
“It was a fun race, but this was a tough course,” O’Brien said.
With the individual battle all over, all that was left for CIF Southern Section Division V second-ranked Flintridge Prep was the team competition with Mayfield, the No. 5 squad in Division IV of the CIF Southern Section.
The Cubs, whose scoring five included La Crescenta resident Marisa Sanchez (seventh, 22:11), crossed four of the next five runners immediately behind Sarah Yoho and O’Brien in picking up the win.
Prep’s final scoring five included freshman Maia Cohen (11th, 22:42), Kate Evans (12th, 22:57) Lacy Coan (13th, 23:02).
As for the boys’ race, there wasn’t much drama even though the Rebels were missing No. 5 runner Alex Orloff (leg injury).
In fact, Flintridge Prep nearly turned the entire event into an outright laugher, as the quartet of Alan Yoho, Jack Van Scoter, Tyler Fong and Nikhil Poole jumped ahead early and were positioned first through fourth halfway through the race.
That continuity was broken up at the two-mile mark, when Alan Yoho blitzed the entire field and even shed his own teammates in romping to a 52-second win in a time of 17:03.
“My plan this year is to run with the pack for the first two miles and then kind of break off and kick in the final lap,” said Alan Yoho, who also won at the Sept. 7 Bosco Tech Invite. “So far I’m undefeated this year, so it’s worked for me.”
Van Scoter was runner-up in 17:55, while Fong was fifth (18:13) and Poole was seventh (18:19).
“I was a little upset that he was able to get that big a lead on us,” Van Scoter said. “Before the end of the season, I’ll be there.”
Glendale resident Manny Medrano (eighth, 18:46) helped lead Poly to second place with 58 points, just ahead of Chadwick (60).