Final thoughts on state cross country meet

Although very foggy for the first few races or so, it turned out to be a very nice day Saturday in Fresno for the CIF State Cross Country Championships, the 22nd edition.

Some final thoughts, race by race:

Boys Division I

Upland rarely ran its full lineup this season as coach Mike Wilson erred on the side of caution when runners were slightly ill or injured. It was clear Upland could usually do better, but we didn’t know exactly how much better until Saturday. A third place finish in the division, answered that question.

Overshadowed but certainly deserving of recognition was Rancho Cucamonga’s sixth-place finish.

Boys Division II

It used to be that the Ayala boys had to live in the shadow of the Ayala girls. But after the Ayala boys made it back-to-back years to state (without the girls), and an eighth-place finish, maybe now it’s the other way around.

Boys Division III

Barstow won as expected, but it could be the end to one of the greatest runs in state championship history, with four state titles and six in eight years. All seven Barstow runners Saturday are seniors.

“You have to get breaks to do this (win 4 state titles),” Barstow coach Jim Duarte said. “It’s hard work and luck.”

It would be a lot to expect Barstow to win again — with some good younger runners who have no experience at the state championships. But if the Aztecs don’t win next year, it won’t be long before they’re back in the title hunt again soon.

Boys Division IV

It used to be that Big Bear was the school known for producing Ryan and Chad Hall, coach Mickey Hall’s sons. But the Bears have now won 3 straight titles, two of which came after the Halls’ high school days were over.

Boys Division V

Despite being one of the few boarding schools in the Southern Section, Webb (6th this year) somehow regularly produces teams that advance to the state meet. And that’s usually without the luxury of one dominant runner.

Girls Division I

After getting to state, it was all gravy for Chino Hills, which took eighth after finishing seventh in the CIF-SS last week. Downey Warren and Redlands, who were eighth and ninth last week in the CIF-SS, surely would’ve done much better than most of the teams at state. They should look at allowing more than 7 teams to qualify. All 7 CIF-SS teams in this race placed in the top nine.

Rancho Cucamonga’s Melissa Telon was a respectable 21st, and she’s only a junior.

Girls Division II

The Sultana girls were overshadowed in the High Desert by other schools. Barstow’s boys winning state titles. Apple Valley’s Daniel Rosales and Hannah Valenzuela, finishing in the top 5 pretty much every week.

But Sultana (which finished third) had only one runner older than a sophomore among their seven on Saturday, senior Alaina Bird, who was their fourth runner. They deserve plenty of praise and should be good next year.

Girls Division III

Like Sultana, St. Lucy’s is young with only one senior on its squad. It’s tough enough to get out of the Sierra League, but the Regents should be even better next year.

Girls Division IV

No locals in this race

Girls Division V

No locals in this race, but San Luis Obispo Mission Prep’s Jordan Hasay will go down in history as one of the state’s all-time greats, with four individual championships, Sara Bei of Santa Rosa Montgomery (1997-2000) is the only other one (boys or girls) to accomplish that feat.