Here we go. As you can see from the coverage below, eight SGV teams and one individual have already advanced to the November 11 CIF Prelims at Mt.SAC and the rest get going on Tuesday with two on the Mt.SAC course itself. The Glendora girls will be looking to win their first league title ever at the Baseline Finals at Mt.SAC, which will share the course with the tough Sierra League. The Damien boys are hoping to continue their climb to the top with a league title and the Claremont girls will try to unseat Ayala from the top spot.
The Covina boys and Northview girls will look to confirm their leads in the Valle Vista Finals, held on the flatter Lake course at Bonelli Park. Flintridge Sacred Heart will look to move up to the top in the tough Mission League at the hilly Crescenta Valley Park.
La Salle’s Daniel De La Torre and Bishop Amat’s Emily Hubert came into the season with very different expectations. Daniel had a great sophomore XC season in ’10, medaling at CIF finals and advancing to the State meet. An injury robbed him of his soph track season (read about it here) and so he came into this year hungry. Emily, an all sport athlete in middle school, had never run before coming out for Amat’s team this summer, so she entered her first high school meet not knowing what to expect. Both have had strong ’11 seasons, and went to the line at Saturday’s Del Rey Finals at Santa Fe Dam with high expectations. And those expectations were met, with both scoring big and very fast wins.
De La Torre was a 14:54 winner on the flat 3-mile course over a very strong field that featured Div. III #2 Cathedral and Div. IV #1 Bosco Tech, besting CHS’ Adam Avila by a comfortable 8 seconds. Don Bosco had split the cluster meets with the L.A. school, but came up short to an Cathedral that put five in the first seven and five below Tech’s #2 for a 22-48 margin. Bosco was led by senior J.J. Dominguez 5th/15:37 and soph Ruben Dominguez 8th/15:45. Bishop Amat, featuring a big come through performance from frosh Christian Hernandez 9th/15:46, was third to take the final CIF spot. De La Torre’s La Salle team was 4th, but he’ll advance as an individual.
Hubert’s winning time of 17:39 was an improvement of almost a minute from her XC debut on the same course at the Bosco Tech meet in September. She was an easy winner by 22 seconds, and helped Bishop Amat to a very nice second place finish to Bishop Montgomery. Senior Elizabeth Navarrete 6th/19:29 was the other key contributer for Amat in this closely matches league. La Salle was 4th, led by senior Mariana Henry 11th/19:53.
At the two Camino Real League cluster meets, the Cantwell boys and St. Paul girls had come out on top, with the other school coming second each time. At Saturday’s 2011 Championship Finals, held on the flat, 3-mile course at Santa Fe Dam in Irwindale, they held form and took their respective championships.
St. Paul‘s girls had been close winners the cluster meets but made the gap a little bigger over second placed Cantwell-SHM 24-40, while putting six runners in the top 10. They were led by individual champ Ariel Melendrez, an easy winner in 19:19, and Jasmine Barone 3rd/20:35. Best for CSHM was Lauren Puebla 2nd/19:49. As with the boys, both teams will advance to CIF.
On the boys side, Cantwell had won the second meet by a bigger margin than the first, and they increased their gap at the finals, putting five in the first six to score just 18 points with a 84:08 team time, outrunning second place St. Paul by over five minutes! The Cardinals were led by individual champ Jesse Bonilla in 16:21, along with runner up Art Hernandez in 16:28. St. Paul’s Kyle Fetter was 3rd/16:47. Both teams will advance to CIF in Div. IV.
This highly competitive small school league came into their finals at Pierce College with the SGV #9 Flintridge Prep boys looking to maintain their dominance and the girls from SGV #2 Mayfield looking to confirm their top spot for the first time since 2008. Both teams were more than up to the task on one the best days in the PL’s history at this hilly 3-mile course, with Sam Cartwright of Chadwick and Evan Gancedo of Pasadena Poly taking the individual honors.
Here’s the breakdown from Poly coach Rick Caragher:
Flintridge Prep, for the 19th time in the last 20 years, won the varsity boys league title. The Rebels staved off a strong challenge from the Dolphins of Chadwick, 29-37, their 81:44 was the Prep League’s #4 team time in our 8 years of running league finals at Pierce. Chadwick (82:34) ran the league’s #7 all-time team time. Flintridge Prep was led by senior Casey Thompson 3rd/16:11 and sealed the victory with a 5, 6, 7, 8 finish capped by Golden Anchor, Jake Johnson 8th/16:30.
In the boys’ race for the individual champion, Sam Cartwright (see photo) of Chadwick, Michael Caughron (Poly) and Prep’s Thompson waged a back and forth race for the first two miles. At that point Cartwright and Caughron broke away, trading the lead until Cartwright utilized his 4:22 miler’s speed in the last 200 meters to out-kick the Poly runner. They finished 15:43 and 15:45 respectively, the league’s 3rd and 4th fastest all-time individual performances.
Flintridge Prep and Chadwick advance to CIF on place, while Poly advances as an at-large team through their CIF ranking. Webb, led by Marcos Lopez 18th/17:35, was fourth here at 89:11, and will hope that is good enough to return to the rankings this week to earn an at-large ranking. Looking to the future, the Flintridge JV boys won the meet with a perfect score of 15 and shattered the previous JV team time record.
Mayfield, coming off strong performances at Stanford, Clovis and Mt SAC, continued their dominating ways by defeating a strong field in the girls race. The Cubs, paced by Alyssa Rivas 2nd/18:56 (5th Prep League All Time on this course), put all five scorers in the top 10, with Mary Najarian‘s 10th/20:21 finish capping a new PL team time record (96:46) and a new mark for the largest margin of victory (25 points) in the league’s eight year history at Pierce. Joining Mayfield and Chadwick in the post-season will be CIF-SS top six ranked teams, Poly (3rd-80 points) and Flintridge Prep (4th-91 points).
The girls race boiled down to Sarah Yoho (Flintridge Prep), Evan Gancedo (Poly) and the lead trio trio from Mayfield with Yoho controlling the pace through the first two miles. On the second to last uphill, before a long descent, Poly’s Gancedo pushed the pace to open up a lead that she build to 13 seconds by the end. A sophomore, Gancedo’s championship winning 18:43 was the league’s #2 all-time individual performance. In addition to Gancedo and second-placed Rivas, Coley Mozilo of Mayfield 3rd/18:56 – #6 all-time, and Yoho 4th/19:00 – #8 on the all-time list, ran extremely well.
Among the other SGV schools, Vivian Webb was 5th, with Ariana Habbestad 12th/20:23 as their leader. Dylan Jack 17th/21:03 was up front for sixth-place Westridge. Mayfield’s jv girls, matching the feat by the Flintridge jv boys, also scored a perfect 15 in winning their jv race.
Friday’s Cougar Two Miler at Azusa Pacific gave several SGV teams one, last quick run out before finals, and it gave us all the first race on the track of the 2012 season.
Maranatha junior Kyle Bueckert was the quickest among the boys, running the 3200 meters (the actual distance) in 9:45, just off of his 9:42.45 PR from 5th place finish at CIF Finals. Los Altos Jair Juarez 2nd/9:55 and Bobby Villagomez 3rd/9:56 and Covina’s Christopher Maldonado 5th/9:56 also dipped under 10:00
Krystal Martinez (Sr, Los Altos) won the girls race by a nice margin – her 12:03 winner was a 33 second PR!
40 teams, including 13 schools from the SGV got in one last race before league finals at the Apache Invitational, run over a flat, super fast 3-mile course at Arcadia Park. The hosts Arcadia were second in both races, with the short-handed guys finishing second to Great Oak and the girls, finally running at full-strength, were third to Div. I #1 Great Oak’s A and B teams.
The Arcadia girls moved up well in the latter stages of the race to clinch the first spot behind national girls power Great Oak. Soph Veronica Yamane was again the leader at 4th/17:22, joined up front by senior Alejandra Quintero in a gutsy 9th/17:46, and they were helped by a #3 team spot from frosh Laura Guidolin, returning after a month’s absence from competition.
No other SGV girls were top ten or teams top five in this strong meet, but one notable performance came from the Glendora girls who followed up their strong Mt.SAC day with another good performance, losing by just a little to tone and defeating another team ranked in Div. II.
Apache senior Sergio Gonzalez was the easy winner on the hot afternoon, dismissing the field with about 600m to go to finish in a strong 14:30. Whittier senior Aaron Mora ran at the front the whole way to finish a strong 3rd/14:46. Sergio was joined in the front by soph teammate Estevan De La Rosa 5th/14:51 and senior Charlie Shen 9th/14:58. California junior Sam Bautista was 10th/15:00 and his team did well after their rough outing a Mt.SAC.
El Rancho, led by senior Henry Rodriquez 18th/15:13 and featuring 1-5 gaps of just 29 seconds, confirmed their CIF and SGV rankings with a 4th place finish.
The Montview League returned to Schabarum Park for their third cluster meet on Thursday, October 28. The teams in this league evolve a great deal during the season, and this was evidenced again in the girls race, where Azusa was the winner for the first time, following wins by Sierra Vista (2nd this time) and first meet winner Ganesha (3rd).
A big factor for the Aztecs has been the mid-season arrival of frosh Roxanne Valle, an easy winner in 19:11, an excellent time on this hilly 3-mile course. She was followed by senior teammate Shaina Pardo 2nd/19:26. Third was SV’s Jessica Lopez at 19:33.
On the boys side, Azusa’s Ernie Castro continued his Montview dominance with his third win of the year, this one in 16:36, comfortably ahead Bassett’s Douglas Castro at 16:59. Ganesha, paced by Carolos Loreto 4th/17:17, put three in the top ten for their second cluster meet win after being bumped by Sierra Vista in the second meet. The Dons were second here by just five points, and were led by Gonzalo Torres 6th/17:30.
Getting caught up with recently received results, the boys race at the second Almont League cluster meet, held on Wednesday, October 19 at Legg Lake, was a near repeat of the first. Once again, senior Justin Raya was an easy winner, his 15:49 the best by almost a minute, while his Oiler teammates lost to Schurr by the same three point margin as they did in the first meet. Alhambra was again third.
On the girls side, with first meet winners Montebello and runners up Schurr apparently not running their best runners, Mark Keppel surged from fourth in the first meet to a new perfect 16 point win this time, led again by senior Patsy Hurley (19:21).
Team scores: 1. Schurr 34 2. Montebello 38 3. Alhambra 90 4. San Gabriel 120 5. Bell Gardens 120 6. Mark Keppel 132
Individuals: 1. Raya (M) 15:49 2. Calaguing (S) 16:30 3. O. Jasso (M) 16:33 4. J. Martinez (S) 16:41 5. Andrew Tanwongprasert (SG) 16:41
Team scores: 1. Mark Keppel 16 2. Montebello 73 3. Schurr 84 4. Bell Gardens 4 5. Alhambra 104 6. San Gabriel 153
Individuals: 1. P. Hurley (MK) 19:21 2. T. Kwan (MK) 19:29 3. B. Quan (MK) 20:02 4. C. Thong (MK) 20:03 5. J. Gutierrez (BG) 20:07
Again, this is why we run the races. Arcadia ran very well in the tough Mt.SAC Team Sweepstakes, turning in the SGV’s best performance of the weekend. Unlike the boys, where several ranked team’s stumbled on the famous 2.93-mile course, the girls teams all either surged forward or held their places. Also unlike the boys, where there are some rather large gaps between teams in the rankings, the first five schools are very closely matched, as are the next four.
Mayfield, Glendora, and Claremont all had exceptional days, confirming their rankings. Walnut and Rosemead had excellent performances at the Invite to move into the rankings – the Mustangs will challenge #5 Bonita for the Hacienda League while the Panthers are heavy favorites in the Mission Valley.
Flintridge Sacred Heart and El Rancho both ran well, but didn’t make the improvement needed to stay in the top ten, ranking very narrowly behind Rosemead, along with a resurgent Whittier.
SGV Girls Cross Country Rankings – #2/Post-Mt.SAC
Arcadia – Div. I (#3) – Arcadia rebounded from a tough week of racing twice over hard courses with the SGV’s best performance at Mt.SAC, improving by over 90 seconds from the previous week. They’ll face a tough League Finals challenge and will need to progress to stay tops in the SGV
Mayfield – Div. IV (#4) – Confirmed their quality with a solid third in the Div. IV sweeps and the best SGV time on Friday. The Cubs move from strength to strength as they’re ranked #2 in the CIF-SS this week.
Glendora – Div. II (#2) – A strong third in the first heat of the very tough Div. II races. Their tight 1-5 gap and strength at Mt.SAC will help them in the big races to come. Twice winners in the Baseline League, they’ll be challenged by Div. I ranked Rancho Cucamonga at Mt.SAC on Tuesday.
Claremont – Div. II (#8) – Confirmed their status as a team for tough courses with an excellent finish in the heat on Saturday afternoon. They’ll have to run well to advance out of the loaded Sierra League on Tuesday at Mt.SAC.
Bonita – Div. III (#1) – Choosing not to run Sweeps at Mt.SAC, the Bearcats won their heat early on Friday. Their performance was a very slight step back on a weekend where other teams surged forward. Could be challenged by Walnut at the Hacienda League Final.
La Cañada – Div. III (#5) – Chose to run the flat Dog Days of Fall meet instead of Mt.SAC and were narrowly second there. They’ll have a league deciding rematch with South Pasadena at Lacy Park on Thursday.
Walnut – Div. I (NR) – Led by two frosh and a soph, the Mustangs are excellent up front, but will need 4-7 to get closer to contend. Nevertheless, an excellent 1-7 performance Saturday morning at Mt.SAC. Next, they’ll try to unseat Bonita from atop the Hacienda League at Mt.SAC on Thursday
South Hills – Div. III (#6) – A bit of an off day at Mt.SAC, but the Huskies are still ranked in Div. III, so they’ll receive and at-large CIF bid regardless of their finish at the Sierra League. Their scoring group has changed from week to week, they’ll need all five running well to advance at CIF.
South Pasadena – Div. III (#7) – Ran well at Mt.SAC in the Div. III sweeps, but their team time hides a pretty big 1-5 gap. As with several others, they’ve moved down because other teams have moved up.
Rosemead – Div. III (NR) – Dropped easily their best performance of the year at Mt.SAC to move into the final spot in the rankings, but they’ll need to take another big step to stay there.
Arcadia holds the top spot in our second ranking of the 2011 season for San Gabriel Valley Cross Country. All of the SGV’s top teams ran at last weekend’s Mt.SAC Invitational, and the results created quite a bit of movement in the rankings. While the Apaches are still on top, their team depth is now merely really good rather than extraordinary, and so the gap to the new number two Damien – who had a strong performance on Friday – has narrowed.
Glendora, and California both had their first bad performances of the year, and fell in the rankings, but not quite as far as their results on Saturday would indicate. Both teams will need better League Finals results to just stay where they are.
Div. V Flintridge Prep is the biggest surprise. They have run well all year, but it’s tough for a school from the smallest division to rank with the others. They finished an excellent third in the Div. V Sweeps at Mt.SAC with a performance that would have won almost any other year but this one. Los Altos also ran well enough to enter the CIF and SGV for the first time, but they are just barely ahead of Santa Fe and Claremont, teams ranked last time, along with Bonita.
SGV Boys Cross Country Rankings – #2/Post-Mt.SAC
Arcadia -Div. I (Last ranking #1) – Still tops in the SGV, and 2nd in CIF-SS Div. I. Lost for the first time since ’09 at Mt.SAC but were 2nd in a very strong field. Backed up by meet record wins at Woodbridge and Central Park, two Pacific League wins over a very strong Burbank team, and a big win at the national Bob Firman Invite in Idaho.
Damien – Div. III (#4) – Followed up up a league stumble with an excellent 4th place (and SGV #2 adjusted time) in the Div. III Sweeps at Mt.SAC. Excellent strength 1-3, 4-7 runners will determine their team’s destiny
Bosco Tech – Div. IV (#5) – The boss of Div. IV all year, the Tigers solidified their top spot with a Sweeps win at Mt.SAC. Tough league showdown ahead with Div. III Cathedral, but if they can continue to heal from their earlier injuries and illness they could run the table.
California – Div. I (#3) – Had an off day at Mt.SAC, but ran well up ’til then: fast at the Great Cow Run, two wins in the highly competitive Del Rio League meets and good trip to Clovis. Del Rio finals will be telling.
Glendora – Div. II (#2) – Fell out of the CIF rankings after a rough outing at Mt.SAC but had been solid up ’til then, winning their opener at Bronco, a meet record win at Sunny Hills, and the divisional race at Clovis. They meet up with California #1 Rancho Cucamonga again at League Finals, which will show if Mt.SAC was bad moment or a revelation.
El Rancho – Div. I – (#6) – Excellent 80:19 effort to win their heat at Mt.SAC, making up for an off day at Clovis. Still 1-3 head to head with CalHi leading up to a big Del Rio showdown.
South Pasadena – Div. III (#9) – Hasn’t raced often, but made up for a rough day at Clovis with solid performance in the Div. III sweeps at Mt.SAC. 1-5 depth will still be a problem in the post-season.
South Hills Div. III (#7) – Rough day at Mt.SAC follows two strong thirds in the tough Sierra League, and a win in their own Super XC Classic. They’ll have to compete well at Finals Tuesday at Mt.SAC to advance over rapidly improving Chino Hills and Claremont.
Flintridge Prep – Div. V (NR) – The Rebels made a huge statement with their third place finish in the Div. V Sweeps at Mt.SAC, ranking #8 SGV on adjusted team time. More importantly, their team time comes from solid 1-5 grouping rather than one or two extraordinary frontrunners.
Los Altos – Div. III (NR) – An solid performance, despite a key runner returning from illness, in the the Div. III Sweeps at Mt.SAC puts the Conqs into the CIF rankings for the first time. They’re facing a big showdown with Bonita and Walnut at the Hacienda League finals next Thursday at Mt.SAC.
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