Preview: CIF Finals

Five teams and three individuals will compete in Saturday’s CIF Divisional finals over the famous 2.93 mile course at Mt.SAC.  Or at least, probably.  With rain in the forecast, there’s the possibility that if rains hard enough, the races will be moved to the 5000 meter Rain Course.  This course, which finishes inside the stadium and is flat and mostly paved, was last used at the 2007 Footlocker Meet.  You can view a map of the Rain Course here.

In ’09, Glendora won the Boys Div. II title in their first ever trip to the finals, while four individuals, including Lauren Justus (Glendora) and Marissa Scott (Bonita) advanced to the State meet.  They’ve all qualified again and will be looking to advance once more – which requires a top seven team finish or to be among the up to five individuals from non-qualifying teams that finish in the top 20 of the race.

The day will kick off with the Div. III Boys at 7:45, with the SGV’s Damien and frosh Dillon Nobbs (Bonita) and senior Alan Callison (Northview).  This is the first trip to the finals in a number of years for the Spartan and a great honor for the individuals.  Callison probably had the best chance to advance, needing about 15 seconds’ improvement to advance.  Damien will need about that much or more from each man to be in the hunt for one of the seven spots.

Next up for the SGV are the Div. III Girls at 8:25Bonita comes into the race with the 9th best performance on time and has been consistently ranked just outside the seven qualifying spots all year.  But the Bearcats have yet to run their best on the same day.  They are strong up front with soph Marissa Scott, a likely individual qualifier even if the team falls short.  It seems that frosh Mikayla Flores is recovered from an earlier injury, but their success will largely depend on who can come through as their 4th and 5th runners.

Webb did well to qualify for the Div. V Boys at 9:05, but senior leader Baily Stockdale has a good chance to advance with a strong performance.

The SGV has two teams in the Div. II Boys at 9:45.   Both Claremont and Glendora enjoyed #1 rankings early in the year, and coming into the final, the Wolfpack look certain to advance to State, and have a strong shot at the podium (top 3) and even the Championship.  They’ve fallen in the rankings not through slippling themselves but through the emergence of a number of other very strong teams in perhaps the strongest year ever for CIF XC.  If the weather cooperates, there could be a team at or below to 79:00 that will fail to advance to State.  Claremont will count on high finishes from seniors Paul Ross and Henry Falotico but the real key will be whether #5 man Jimmy Baeskins can improve on his 16:06 from Prelims.

The Tartans came out of the gate hot this year, but then suffered two season ending injuries and lingering illnesses with two others from their top 7 from September.  They ran well to qualify, led by senior Anthony Castro, but will need to run better to return to Fresno.  If they can find five strong performances they’ll move on and may even have shot at the podium if one of the top teams slip up.

The Claremont girls and Glendora’s Lauren Justus will go to the line in the final race of the day, the Div. II Girls at 10:45.  Lauren was here last year, and ran well to advance.  Her 17:53 PR from the Invite makes her a strong contender to move on to State, but this Division is unbelievably strong this year, so there are no guarantees.  The Wolfpack, in a testament to their team depth, advanced despite a rough day at Prelims.  It will require an extraordinary jump to make the top 7, but with only one senior in their team, they’ll gain valuable experience for next year.

CIF Prelims Boys: Claremont, Glendora, Damien & Webb – plus Callison and Nobbs Move On

Cross Country requires more than talent, and even more than hard work – the athletes need to be lucky enough to stay healthy.  Last year Claremont was on track for a top finish until the were derailed by the H1N1 virus, and this year they’ve been healthy.  Last year, Glendora enjoyed almost perfect health on their way to their championship, and this year injuries and illness have bit their team.

At last Saturday’s CIF Prelims, both teams advanced.  CIF, State and Nationally ranked Claremont had an easy win with their team leaders Paul Ross and Henry Falotico going 1-2 with sub-max 15:28 and a team time of 78:49.  The Tartans didn’t have that luxury and raced an all-out 79:16 to finish second in their heat.  The were led by a heat winning (and GHS course record) 15:13 from senior Anthony Castro, and received a notable performance from frosh Mike Duke who was their 4th man in 16:01!  Rowland had a chance to advance with a great day, and unfortunately went the other way, with each of their guys off by 30-40 seconds.

The Div. III teams got to race in the much warmer afternoon and so the times were a bit off, but not their performances, especially from Damien. The Spartans were enjoying their first trip to prelims in five years, and they made the most of it, running a strong 81:49 to advance to the Finals. They were led by senior John Garcia’s 16:01 and were really helped by their small, 42 second 1-5 gap.

Two individuals also advanced.  Bonita’s Dillon Nobbs capped a fine freshman season with a 16:09 in the heat of the day.  Even more impressive was Northview’s Alan Callison.  The senior improved by over two minutes from ’09 to drop a PR 15:49 and move on to the finals.

In Div. V, senior Baily Stockdale (16:33) led Webb (90:08) into next weeks finals for the first time in a number of years

Complete Results are here

Top 14 Performers and Team Ranking with Team Leaders after the jump

Continue reading CIF Prelims Boys: Claremont, Glendora, Damien & Webb — plus Callison and Nobbs Move On

CIF Prelims Girls: Bonita, Claremont, and Lauren Advance

The CIF Southern Section is easily the toughest and strongest sporting section in the country – advancing to the finals of this meet is the equivalent of advancing to the state final in the big states, and superior to the final in smaller states.  Just one of the penalties we pay for living in Southern California.

The upshot is that only two of the 19 girls team that qualified from their league meets advanced to the Finals, along with one individual.

Bonita has been ranked in the top 10 of Div III all year, and they advanced as expected with a second place, 99:53 finish in the first heat.  There were led once again by 2009 State Finalist Marissa Scott, who finished 7th/19:22 and was joined in first 10 by frosh Mikayla Flores (9th/19:24).  The Bearcats time ranked them 13th among the qualifiers, so they will need to take a strong step to finish top 7 to advance as a team, while Marrisa can advance as an individual with a strong effort.

This was the Claremont girls first strong season in several years, and their young team struggled, with a top runner’s DNF and another performing below par.  But they were just fast enough and in just the right heat to advance to the Div. II finals, finishing 4th in 100:02.  They were led by frosh Merin Arft in a nice 19:17, equaling her effort from the Mt.SAC Invite under less ideal conditions.  Div. II is about as strong as any division has ever been for CIF, with the top three teams nationally ranked and the State’s top 9 all from the Southern Section, so the Wolfpack will need a huge step to advance.

South Hills had been ranked #13 in Div III and so advanced as an at-large team despite finishing 4th in the tough Sierra League.  The Huskies had a bit of an off day and failed to advance, finishing 6th in the second heat in 102:56. In a division where the top 5 in each heat and the fastest sixth go forward, they missed that spot by 1:34.  Junior Alex Borunda (9th/19:24) led their effort and she missed advancing by just 3 places and 17 seconds.  Glendora also had a chance to advance but they were slightly off their best and were unlucky to land in the fastest heat.  They ran 99:49 – the fastest SGV team time on the day, fastest of the non-qualifying teams, and they would have advanced in heats 2 or 3.  This is becoming something of an unwelcome tradition for the Tartans, as their boys team were the fastest non-qualifiers in ’07 and ’08.  Tartan senior Lauren Justus – a State finalist in ’09 – fought through illness during the race to finish 6th in 18:39 – top SGV time of the day – to advance individually, and she has strong chance to advance again this year.

Complete Results (PDF’s) are here

SGV Top 14 Performers, Team Rankings Top Performers from each team after the jump

Continue reading CIF Prelims Girls: Bonita, Claremont, and Lauren Advance

Montview: La Puente Edges Azusa Boys, Girls…

Each of the three Montivew cluster meets had been a tight clash between Azusa and La Puente boys with the Aztecs taking the last two and carrying a small lead into Thursday’s finals at (where else?) Schabarum Park.

With the title on the line, both teams stepped up with, splitting the first seven spots between them.  Azusa’s duo of Kevin Ontiveros (16:34) and Alfredo Orozco (16:36) were first across the line, along with Ernesto Castro (5th/17:13).  The Warriors were led by Chris Castillo (3rd/16:58), Victor Mejia (4th/17:06), Brian Covarruvias (6th/17:31) and Arturo Garcia (7th/17:34).  With so much quality up front, the meet and the championship was going to come down to the number 5 men, so it was John Ramos’ 17:59 11th place finish and the team’s 1:01 gap that brought home the title for La Puente.

Ganesha had been a solid third all year, and the Giants will advance as the third team, led again by Eddie Trujillo (12th/18:07) and a tight 44 second gap.  Sierra Vista held on to the fourth and final CIF spot – paced by a strong lead from Jose Gomez (8th/17:37) – as they edged out Workman, who were led by Raul Elizarraras (9th/17:41).  Doug Castro of Bassett had hopes of an individual spot, but his 17:57 was only good for 10th and his team was sixth.  Duarte Angel Chelsea Espagna (14th/18:19) were seventh, and Gladstone Eddie Trujillo (12th/18:07) were eighth.

Complete Boys Results: Montview Finals Varsity Boys 2010, Montview Boys JV 2010

No results yet for the girls.

Sierra: Claremont Guys, Champs, Girls Second

The Sierra League is a strong XC league, with two CIF ranked teams among the guys and three in the girls, plus St. Lucy’s & South Hills guys, who were both CIF Finalists last year.  This meant that four of the teams were already assured of at-large CIF spots, but this did nothing to diminish the competition.

Claremont's Drums

The girls went first, and on a day when all of the teams struggled with the heat, the fast rising Claremont girls finished second to the previously dominant Ayala team, but with only one runner in the Top 10,  frosh Merin Arft (2nd/19:22), but put six in the first 24.  The real action was for the third spot, with St. Lucy’s needing a strong 1-5 performance to advance.  The Regents fell a heartbreaking one point short – finishing 70-71 to Chino Hills – despite top performances from seniors Taylor Hebb (4th/19:38) and Marissa Horton (6th/19:40), who will both advance as individuals.

South Hills came into the meet even with St.L and CHHS and had a bit of a rough day, finishing 5th with junior Alex Borunda (10th/19:57) as their leader – but the Huskies still advance to the Div. III prelims as an at-large team through their consecutive #13 rankings.  Charter Oak has struggled in this new league, and front runner Carly Lake just missed advancing, finishing 9th in 19:51.

The Claremont guys have been strong all year, coming in ranked 4th CIF Div II and 25th nationally.  The Wolfpack did not disappoint riding to an easy win over CIF ranked Ayala with four in the Top 10, seniors Paul Ross (1st/15:52), Henry Falotico (2nd/15:52), A.K. Metoyer (5th/16:12) and Colin Domonoske (6th/16:12).  Bigger news for the post season was that their #5 man, soph Aric Crowell was only 23 seconds and 7 places back in 16:37.

Damien’s season had ended at Finals the last five years, but not this time.  Led by a breakthrough performance by junior Moses Baiden (4th/16:08), the Spartans took the 3rd CIF spot.  Moses was joined in the top 10 by junior Tom Ebiner (8th/16:23) and senior John Garcia (10th/16:30).

South Hills came into the day needing a strong performance to push past Damien.  Missing their usual top 2, they went the other way, with senior Matt Sanchez (22nd/17:20) as their top finisher.  Charter Oak was improved from ’09, but was always sixth in this tough league.  Senior Tyler Orosco (30th/17:45) finished as the Chargers #1.

Full results are here.

Glendora – Both Teams Advance from Baseline

Running in Tuesday’s brutal heat, Glendora had another program first (or at least the first in memory) – advancing both boys and girls and teams to CIF in the same year.

Mike Duke

Competing in the Baseline League for the first time, senior Lauren Justus led the Tartan girls to their first post-season spot since 2005 finishing second to a very strong Rancho Cucamonga team.  Lauren was the easy winner in 19:08, and was joined in the medals by fellow senior Allison Mayo (9th/20:25).

The guys have struggled with the loss of two of their top five to season ending injuries, and their usual #3 was sick and DNF’d on Tuesday.  But the deep Tartans stepped up to finish second to National #10 and California #4 Rancho Cucamonga.  The Tartans placed three in the top ten – seniors Kelly Hernandez (4th/15:59) & Anthony Castro (9th/16:40) along with frosh Mike Duke (10th/16:46) – and actually gained on Rancho compared to their three earlier meetings.

Full Results (PDF’s) are here.

League Finals Previews

Cross Country season began in June or July for many of our athletes, and it reaches it culmination for most with this week’s League Finals Championship Meets – with league titles and CIF berths on the line.

The various leagues differ in how they award their team championships, but CIF mandates advancement procedure to the post-season – the top three teams from 5-6 team leagues, and the top four from 7-8 team leagues.  Plus, up to three individuals from non-qualifying teams may advance provided they finish in the top six in the finals meet.  Teams may advance on an “at-large” basis if they are 13th or better in any two of the last four CIF Polls.  So far, only the Claremont boys and South Hills & Bonita girls have met that standard.

Bishop Amat and Webb got the jump on the local competitors in their Finals held on Saturday.  The Lancers advanced both teams to D3 prelims with third place finishes in the Del Rey Finals at Santa Fe Dam.  Seniors Illiana Velazquez (4th/18:27) and Zach Mendoza (13th/16:33) were their top performers on the flat, 3 mile course.  Webb senior Bailey Stockdale booked his place in D5 Prelims with a 16:03, third place performance over the hilly 2.91 mile course at Pierce College in the Prep League Finals.

Complete League Previews after the jump.

Continue reading League Finals Previews

Mt.SAC Wrapup – Boys

Whoosh!  That was the sound you heard as the boys of the SGV ran over the famous hills as Mt.SAC.  Last year in this meet, only two locals went sub 16:00.  This year, admittedly aided by better weather and the inclusion of Claremont, eleven guys dipped under that mark!  Last year’s #14 was at 16:52 – which would have ranked 46th this year!

The top performances came from senior Paul Ross (15:03) and the Claremont Wolfpack.  Paul’s time was the fastest by an ESGV athlete since West Covina’s Diego Mercado set the course record (14:24) in 2005.  Claremont had a strong finish in the Team Sweeps on what turned out to be the fastest day in Mt.SAC history.

Los Altos and Rowland also had excellent days, while South Hills (with a key injury) and Glendora (with bad performances) took a step back.

In a merge of all 28 boys Varsity teams at Mt.SAC, Claremont was the easy winner (31) over Glendora (98) with Rowland (105) third.

Local Top 14 Performers and the Top Ten from the merge after the jump

Continue reading Mt.SAC Wrapup — Boys