By Keith Lair, SGVN
The Station Fire of 2009 forced Bosco Tech cross country coach Sal Perez to change the course at the annual season-opening meet at Santa Fe Dam.
Athletes and other coaches liked the new course so much that Perez hasn’t altered it since. He has not had to think about it until the Williams Fire erupted near Camp Williams along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River last weekend.
Fire crews are back at Santa Fe Dam and Perez said the 12th annual meet might face another altered course.
“We’re not sure about the last mile,” Perez said. “They might be bringing in more firefighters and we’ll have to change that part of the course. It will all work out fine.”
The firefighter encampment, which serves as fire headquarters and as a rest area for weary firefighters, is set up on the north side of the lake. Perez said more crews are expected to arrive and may take up residence along the beach side, where the race has traditionally finished.
“We could finish on some trails away from the lake, but it is desert-like and a bit hotter,” Perez said.
Sixty-five teams had entered the meet as of Tuesday. The entrant deadline is today. Some of the state’s smaller powerhouse schools, such as Flintridge Prep, Pasadena Poly and Xavier Prep will be competing. The Arcadia girls will battle the Foothill girls and the El Rancho boys face Marina in the large schools race.
Flintridge Prep (third), Poly (eighth) and Xavier (second) are all ranked in the CIF-Southern Section Top 10 Division 5 poll. So are the Arcadia (eighth in Division 1) and Foothill (sixth in Division 2) girls and El Rancho boys (10th in Division 1). Bosco is ranked second in Division 4.
The draw of the meet, Perez said, is the emphasis on divisional showdowns.
“It helps a lot having the large schools separated from the small schools,” he said. “I think coaches like bringing their athletes so that the caliber of racing will be against others in their division.”
The first of 13 races is scheduled to start at 8 a.m.
AN OCEAN VIEW
Mayfield, which is considered a contender for a CIF-SS Division 4 title, could have gone to Santa Fe Dam, but coach Eric Sun elected to run along the Ventura beach in the Seaside Invitational on Friday.
“It’s nice and flat at the beach and it’s nice to get away from the inland,” he said. “Our workouts have been fairly consistent. We’re looking for someone to step up.”
The Cubs, ranked second in the CIF-SS Division 4 poll, have four returnees, none of which Sun considers a No. 1 runner for now. They are seniors Karina Alvarez, Christina Cordano and Lauren Joseph and junior Alyssa Rivas.
“They are all veterans and showing maturity as runners,” sun said.
“It’s kind of good and bad to have a No. 1 runner. If you’re No. 1 runner doesn’t do well, it’s good for the team because someone can step up.”
LOADING UP IN CIF-SS
In addition to the aforementioned teams, six other west San Gabriel Valley teams are ranked in the first CIF-SS poll, including reigning CIF-SS Division 1 champion Arcadia. The Apaches are ranked first.
The Poly girls are third and Flintridge Prep girls fourth in Division 5. The South Pasadena boys and La Ca ada girls are both ninth in Division 3 and Flintridge Sacred Heart is ninth in Division 4.