By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
A sweep of the Laguna Hills Invitational. A third-place finish in the sweepstakes division at the Woodbridge Invitational. The Stanford Invitational coming up, a No. 2 ranking in a CIF-Southern Section Division I cross country poll this week, and a No. 4 ranking in one national poll.
These are heady times for the Arcadia High School boys team.
But running among the elite in invitationals and polls do not get teams to the CIF State Meet in November.
Winning league titles does.
That’s where the Apaches start at 3:15 p.m. today in Arcadia County Park when the Pacific League holds its first cluster meet.
Fortunately, Arcadia coach Jim O’Brien said, this Apaches team may be the best in school history.
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“We have enough kids and a very deep team so that we can hold people out if they are sick or injured,” O’Brien said. “It’s going to be a hot day, so the important thing is keeping the kids ready and hydrated.”
Junior Ammar Moussa had the third-fastest time in the history of the Woodbridge Invitational last Saturday, finishing second in his race in 14 minutes, 11 seconds.
But one nationally ranked runner does not carry a team. O’Brien said he has 14 athletes he can count on. Only seven can race at one time.
“All things are good,” he said.
At Woodbridge, four Apaches were within 47 seconds of each other — juniors Allen Leung and Eric Garibay and sophomores Sergio Gonzalez and Nick Shar.
The Apaches girls have their own frontrunner in junior Katrina McAlister. But winning the league title will be tougher than it will be for the boys. Crescenta Valley again sends a contingent that will be tough to beat.
“The girls are young, but they could do it,” O’Brien said. “We’ll be in the hunt.”
Senior Cassandra Llamas and freshman Glyndie Mancia have come on strong.
The Rio Hondo League opener will be Thursday at Crescenta Valley Park.
Dancing the night away
While waiting for scores to be tabulated after the conclusion of cross country meets, nervous energy is typically burned off by re-adding scores, analyzing and playing with Frisbees. Not by dancing.
But that’s what happened at the second night edition of the 24th annual Rosemead Invitational. While the officials results were being added, the athletes danced.
“Our runners had a blast,” Rosemead coach Fidel Dominguez said. “The runners, coaches and fans had a lot of fun, and that’s what our Rosemead runners, coaches, parents and staff worked a lot to accomplish.”
Mayfield senior Michelle Gonzales had the fastest girls time in 17:22, edging Rosemead’s Brittnie Munoz by six seconds. It was Munoz’s first defeat in the invitational.
South El Monte senior Jayson Perez had the fastest boys time in 14:10.
Another league begins
Arcadia’s girls volleyball team began Pacific League play Tuesday against Burbank and will host Hoover on Thursday.
The 2008 league champions are fresh off a second-place finish in their own tournament. Whittier Christian defeated the Apaches 17-25, 25-21, 15-13, in the final.
“As a coach, you can never be satisfied, but I think we did pretty good,” Arcadia coach Charles Freberg said. “Overall, we played well.”
Madyson Cassidy and Taylor DeGraff were selected to the all-tournament team.
Monrovia defeated El Rancho 25-16 in the third-place match.