This weekend’s Clovis Invitational, run on the California State Meet Course at Woodward Park, is always a strong meet, with half of the state’s ranked XC teams taking part, including eights SGV schools. At least ine local schools will run at the Central Park Invitational, another strong meet run over a hilly course in Huntington Beach.
The Arcadia and La Serna boys, along with Audrey Suarez (So, Mayfield) and Joyce Wu (Sr, Arcadia) will contest the big Sweepstakes Race – which will bring together many of the State’s top teams, regardless of division, in one race. Both of the boys teams will be aiming for top 10 finishes and both have ambitions to return here for the State meet.
The rest of the SGV teams will compete in one of the four divisional races. State ranked Flintridge Prep will be looking for a podium in both the boys and girls Small Schools race, as will the South Pasadena boys and the Bishop Amat girls. Likely CIF-SS finalists Rowland and Whittier will be competing in the Large School race.
It’s hard to have perspective on track and cross country in California. We are the biggest state, and the CIF Southern Section is bigger than all but three states itself. Just the San Gabriel Valley has more people than 14 states.
That’s why it’s a big deal that ten SGV teams are the first 2018 California State XC Rankings. The SGV has roughly 5% of California’s population, but our schools account for 10% of the spots in the rankings.
Claremont (Boys #3, Girls #1) and Flintridge Prep (Boys #2=, Girls #4) are the the two schools with both teams ranked. Here are the others
Boys Div. I: Arcadia 10th
Boys Div. IV: South Pasadena 10th
Girls Div. I: Walnut 9th
Girls Div. IV: La Cañada #6, Mayfield #8, Bishop Amat #9
You can view the entire rankings and commentary by Rich Gonzalez of PrepCalTrack here.
The Walnut girls again put five in the first six to win with 17 points, despite their usual #3 being away at her sister’s wedding. As in the first meet West Covina was second with 74 pts and South Hills third at 82, with Diamond Ranch as the fourth school scoring.
Chloe Arriaga (Walnut) was the winner (19:03) while Arrisa Hatcher (South Hills) was again the only runner to break up the Mustangs with a 4th/19:57 finish. Walnut was helped by the debut of Natalie Santiago, a junior transfer running in her first meet after the sit-out period, who was 6th/20:52 , just behind usual #5 Naomi Nakamura – 5th/20:28. Assuming their front runners stay healthy, much of Walnut’s post-season success will be determined by how close their 5th runner can get to the first four. Soph Claudia Vera was best for West Covina, rounding out the top 7 with a 21:04 effort. Alyssa Blanco at 11th/21:34 was best for Diamond Ranch, the final scoring team. Alyssa improved 1:45 from Meet #1, a huge bump on a day where most athletes improved 20-40 seconds.
The Walnut boys were first again, but surprisingly, held off South Hills for the win rather than Los Altos, who had been 2nd in the first meet. The Conquerers ran well, but were missing their #2 from the first meet. The real change was from the Huskies’ #3-5 men, each had a huge step-up performance. Ayden de Avila was 20th in Meet 1 and moved up to 9th/17:23, Robert Escobedo from 25th to 13th/17:34 and Andrew Oseguera from 24th to 19th/18:13.
The individual race followed form from the first meet, with Devin Hightower (South Hills) winning again in 16:15, followed at 16:20 by Jesse Alvarado (Walnut) and Dillon Hightower (South Hills) at 16:32 with Luke Francis (Lost Altos) 4th/16:39 again. Francisco Murillo jumped from 21st in the first race to 12th/17:32 to lead fourth placed West Covina, just ahead of Diamond Ranch, led by Conner Parker, who moved up to 6th overall at 16:57. Charter Oak was in the final spot and their best was Julien Mireles in 24th/18:53
Thanks to Walnut coach Jerry Knox for the first photo West Covina coach Brittani Bernhard for the others.
The Mission Valley League moved over to Bonelli Park for their second cluster meet, but the top results were the same as Arroyo won both races and Noah Hibbard and Melanie Mach were the individual winners.
Mach (Sr, Rosemead) (19:14) continued her strong season by holding off cousins and Arroyo teammates Molly Hake (19:17) and Amelia Rivas (19:24). This was Melanie’s fourth win of the year, including the Friday Senior race at the Rosemead Invite and last Saturday’s Perris Valley meet. Each week she has been running a minute ahead of her times from last year, when she was 5th in the MVL
The girls race also featured a large snake on the race path (no photo, unfortunately), but that did not stop Arroyo from putting their five in the first seven to beat Rosemead again, 22-39. Gabrielino held on to the third spot. Miranda Lam (Jr, Rosemead) had the biggest jump from the first meet among the leaders, improving from 12th to 8th and running 53 seconds faster.
On the boys side, Noah Hibbard won again with a very strong effort – a MVL Course record 15:10 for 3 miles on this rolling course that features two trips over a decent sized hill. Noah also dropped a SGV all-time best in winning the Rosemead Invite last month. He was joined up front by strong efforts from junior Joshua Orellana (2nd/15:24), and especially by soph Saket Sama (3rd/15:59)
Arroyo was almost perfect, but Gabrielino’s Nicolas DiConti (5th/16:03) got in just ahead of the Knights #5 leaving them with 16 points. The Eagles behind DiConti had an equally good day, getting just ahead of Rosemead 78-79, reversing their order from the first meet. The Panthers had an uneven day, setting up a showdown for 2nd at League Finals. The biggest improvement among the leaders was Carlos Martinez (Jr, El Monte), who moved up from 15th to 7th, improving by 1:44.
Thanks for the photos goes to Gabrielino dad Andy DiConti.
This week begins the second cycle of league cluster meets. In most leagues, with two cluster meets and then the finals, the first two meets each count for 25% of the team standings and the league finals meet accounts for the remaining 50%.
Tuesday, October 2
Mission Valley League #2 – Bonelli Park, San Dimas
Preview: Arroyo took both sides in the first meet, followed by Rosemead and Gabrielino. The Knights are likely winners again, with the biggest question is whether El Monte on the boys side and South El Monte on the girls can make it into the top 3.
Preview: Webb were the easy winners in meet one, and they should hold that spot on their home course.
Girls Results: Lily Miller (Webb) repeats her 2 minute win from the first meet, this time over teammate Anne Lofgren as the Gauls put five in the first eight for the easy win.
Boys Results: Nathan Vallejo (Southlands Christian) wins by 90 seconds again, this time over Frank Hu (Webb). The Gauls earn a big win with 25 points, while SCHS moves up to third in this seven team league.
Wednesday, October 3
Hacienda League – Bonelli Park, San Dimas
Preview: The Walnut girls were the easy winners here in the first meet and should repeat. On the boys side, Los Altos will try to build on strong performances since the first meet to push Walnut out of first, while West Covina will be trying to beat South Hills and reach the top half of the league.
Girls Results: Ramona Convent got a little closer to League leaders Sacred Heart but were still 2nd. Alverno was 3rd and San Gabriel Mission 6th. The best SGV runner was again Emily Silva (Fr, Ramona Convent) who dropped one spot from last week to 7th/22:03 for 5000m.
After years of struggling in the Palomares/Sierra League, Diamond Bar jumped to the front of their new league. The boys had a solid win and the girls were third, but just two points out of first.
Girls Results: The Brahmas move up to second, four points short of Chaffey. Meet 1 winner Ontario fell to fourth, so DB can win the League Championship with a win at League Finals. Kelli Ishitani (5th/20:11) was the team leader while Cameron Tsau, not in the Varsity in Meet 1, made a key contribution by finishing 11th/21:07.
Boys Results: George Rosales (16:21) and Lukas Amare (16:33) go 1-2 again, but DB’s #4 from Meet 1 is not in the team costing the team enough points that Ontario edges them 37-38, setting up a showdown for the Championship at Finals.
605 League – La Mirada Park
Pioneer moved from the Del Rio League to this new league this year, and the boys dropped a perfect 15 in the first race, while the girls were 4th (of four)
There were a few small moves in this week’s CIF-SS ranking, with the only move in or out being California dropping from the Div. 1 rankings after a bit of a rough day at last week’s Del Rio League meet.
Rankings are difficult to do during this part of the season, when teams are racing on different kinds of courses and in wildly differing weather conditions.
At this point, the ratings are (mostly) for fun – but starting with week 7 (October 15th) the rankings expand to 16 at each level. If a team fails to finish in the top half of their league, they can still advance to CIF if they are ranked in the CIF polls twice in the last four weeks of the season.
The Staub-Barnes invitational is one of our oldest cross country meets. Run over a hilly three miles at Crescenta Valley Park, it’s been a traditional early-season race to test one’s readiness for the CIF-SS’s traditional championship course at Mt. SAC.
The La Canada and San Dimas girls did well on that test! In the Varsity 1 race the SGV #3 Spartans were easy winners, even without their usual #3 out sick. EllaneyMatarese (18:56) Sarah Auther (19:18), with controlled efforts and frosh Jenna Millbrodt (19:28) in a big performance went 1-2-3.
The rest of the SGV schools, and La Canada’s boys, ran in the Varsity 2 races. In just her second season of XC, senior Caroline Cobo (San Dimas) won the Varsity 2 race in 21:00 as SGV girls took 9 of the top 10 spots and San Dimas took the win over Temple City in second. South Pasadena B was 3rd and Pasadena 5th.
Owen Serricchio (Sr, La Cañada) had the top boys performance, 2nd/16:13 in the Varsity 2 race. He was followed closely by two of the SGV top frosh, Isaiah Givens (Pasadena) 4th/16:44, his best yet, and Raul Burris (San Dimas) 7th/17:09 in a huge life-time best.
Temple City was the SGV’s best team in 3rd. Other SGV teams: La Canada-4th, South Pasadena B – 5th, San Dimas – 6th, Pasadena – 7th.
SGV #1 Claremont were double winners in the big Stanford Invitational. This meet matches NorCal’s best with teams from the entire state and several neighboring states, on a 5000m course on the university’s golf course. After a one year hiatus, the meet returned with a slightly smaller field, and a new course routing with many tight turns that slowed down the races.
The Claremont boys earned a narrow win over a strong field in the seeded race. Ryan Cowgill 8th/15:26 and Aaron Reyes 11th/15:33 led a Wolfpack team that won by putting all seven below the runner-up’s fifth man. They maintained just a 33 second 1-5 gap even with two of their guys being a little off. (Here’s a Runnerspace Interview with Claremont) Glendora was 21st with a team time of 84:21. Michael Thompson – 94th/16:45 was the leader on a big of an off day for the SGV #9 Tartans.
Claremont‘s girls had a blowout win in the seeded race that was something of preview of the girls Div. II State Meet race. They put six in the first sixteen finishers and their top three in the first six: Sydney Hwang 3rd/17:32, Maddie Coles 4th/17:38 and Azalia Segura-Mora 6th/17:54. (Here’s a Runnerspace Interview with the Claremont girls.) Glendora was 15th in 101:57. Emma Barrosa was best for the Tartans – 67th/20:30.
Bishop Amat elected to run in the divisional races rather than the big seeded event. The boys finished 10th in the Div. 4 race with three of their first five having sub-par days. James Leon was strong up front for the Lancers, finishing 12th/16:31.
The Amat girls won the D4 race on the strength of their tight, one minute 1-5 gap and a 100:25 team time. Key for the Lancers was huge life-time best performance from Gia Carrera. Lauren Nettels (FSHA) was best for the SGV girls with a 12th/19:12, and her team was 9th. Mayfield, running without their #1, was fifth.
In Div. 3 – the South Hills boys were 8th in 86:47 and the girls were 17th. Devin (4th/16:20) and Dillon (5th/16:23) Hightower had strong races for the Huskies, and Arissa Hatcher – 20th/20:09 was best for the girls.
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