This weekend will see the final Invite of the 2018 cross country season, and the first of the League Finals. Saturday two of our strongest leagues, the Prep and Palomares will contest their championships, while on Friday, Arcadia will host the Apache Invitational.
Friday, October 25
Eighty-Five schools will run in this final invite of the year, contested on the super-fast, flat course at Arcadia park. Twenty-six SGV schools will take part, but it looks like several of the top-ranked schools will be competing with B-teams.
In the elite Sweepstakes races, Bishop Amat and Rosemead senior Melanie Mach with be in the Small Schools Girls division, and hosts Arcadia in the Large. The Arcadia boys will also run in the Large School Sweepstakes division, while Amat and Pioneer will be in the Small.
Saturday, October 26
Prep League Final – Pierce College, Woodland Hills
The Prep League matches up traditional SGV small school powers Flintridge Prep and Mayfield. The Prep girls are five-time defending Div. V State Champs, but they’ve been locked in a close battle for league supremacy with the now Div. IV Cubs. They’ll close the season on the super-hilly course in the San Fernando Valley.
Mayfield had the edge in the league’s one cluster meet, which also happened to be the only meet that the Cubs dominant #1 Audrey Suarez has run this year. With Audrey, Mayfield should be league champs, and they might be able to hold off FP without her. Pasadena Poly was third in the cluster, and they’ll need to run well to hold onto the third CIF qualifying spot. Westridge was fifth in the cluster, and it looks like a top three finish will be out of reach.
Suarez is the clear individual favorite, but if she falters, Sophie Phinney (Jr, Poly) and FP seniors Haley Allen and Sasha Codiga will battle for the championship.
Flintridge Prep edged out Chadwick in the first cluster meet, with Poly a non-qualifying third in this four-team boys league. FP are the clear favorites after their performance at Mt.SAC, and senior Carson Hasbrouck is likely to win the individual title. Poly is coming off a rough performance at Mt.SAC and will need a big step-up to reach the second spot.
Palomares League Finals – Legg Lake Park, South El Monte
Claremont, top ranked in the SGV, and the CIF-SS and top 5 in the State, are the clear leaders in this league. But their quality should not obscure just how good the rest of this league is, with five of the girls teams and three of the boys teams ranked in the CIF-SS and four of the girls.
In the girls race on this fast, flat 3-mile course, Claremont should hold off Ayala, with senior Sydney Hwang and frosh Maddie Coles battling for the individual title with Amber Rios of Colony and Mikaela Ramirez of Ayala.
The real battle will come for the third auto-CIF spot. SGV #6 Bonita and Alta Loma are already assured at-large bid through the CIF rankings. But SGV #4 Glendora was narrowly sixth in the Palomares Preview meet, and have yet to be CIF ranked so they will need to jump all the way to third to advance. The good news for the Tartans is their outstanding performance at Riverside last week now makes them the favorites to finish third over those teams and Colony.
In the Boys race, Claremont should win, and could come close to 15 if Ayala falters. SGV #6 Bonita has earned an at-large spot in the rankings, and they may need it. The Bearcats were third in the Preview meet, but SGV #9 Glendora was only six points back in fifth. Off of Saturday’s performance, Bonita is likeliest to finish third again, but it’s within the Tartans’ power to step up and grab the final CIF spot.
Claremont senior Vicente Huerta is the defending champ, and he’ll battle Andrew Martinez of Ayala and senior teammates Ryan Cowgill, Jack Moran and Aaron Reyes for the top spot.