While some local teams struggled to get to Mt. San Antonio College because of fires around Southern California, once they arrived, they had little difficulty blazing through the course en route to advancing to the Nov. 22 final.

Despite resting four varsity runners, Saugus — the nation’s top-ranked team — still won its Div. II heat by more than two minutes, setting the Centurions up well for another shot next week at lowering their course record of 88 minutes, 18 seconds.

Kaylin Mahoney positioned herself for a run at the division title, covering the 2.95-mile layout in 17:39, with Keri Molt (18:19) taking fourth, freshman Karis Frankian (18:20) finishing fifth and Courtney Wilson (18:52) placing ninth.

Although Saugus is the favorite to capture a third consecutive divison title — the last two years in Div. I — the Centurions might not be alone next week in the winner’s circle.

Crescenta Valley of La Crescenta won its Div. I heat on the abbreviated 2.14-mile course in the afternoon because of increasing temperatures and poor air quality.

Agoura, Bell-Jeff of Burbank, Canyon, Flintridge Prep of La Canada Flintridge, Flintridge Sacred Heart of La Canada Flintridge, L.A. Baptist of North Hills, Newbury Park, Oaks Christian of Westlake Village, Paraclete of Lancaster and West Ranch all advanced in their respective divisions.

By Erik Boal, Special to the Daily News (click here to read full story!)