It might not have been quite as good a race as they had hoped, but it was still very good.
The Rancho Cucamonga High boys cross country team finished third in Division 1 at the CIF State Championships on Saturday in Fresno, the best finish in school history.
Later on Saturday, coach Terry Tierney was informed that the Cougars got one of four bids from the state to run next week at prestigious Nike Nationals in Portland, Oregon.
“We had a better team time than the Division 2 champion,” Tierney said. “After the power merge, we were behind them, but we both got to go.”
The event, including travel expenses, is paid for by Nike.
It’s a complicated process to earn a bid to Nationals that goes beyond team time or team score.
After all the divisions run Saturday, they take many of the top teams and “merge” the times together. Then they take the top few teams after that merge and merge them again, and find the top four teams. California gets two automatically, but there are also two at-large berths and California got those as well.
The top three teams in Division 1 got to go (Rancho Cucamonga, Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills and Arcadia) as did the top team in Division 2 (Santa Clarita Golden Valley).
Here are CIF-SS quarterfnal football scores from Friday. How about both Carter (who I predicted) and Rim (which I didn’t) pull off upsets of the No. 3 seeds?
The CIF-SS, in all of its wisdom, changed the scheduling for semifinals this year. In the past, in each division, 1 semifinal was on Friday and the other was on Saturday. Now, they’re all on Friday, so it keeps fans from seeing both semifinal games in a particular division.
No. 1 Corona Centennial 56, Temecula Chaparral 21
Rancho Cucamonga 9, No. 4 Redlands East Valley 6
No. 3 Upland 51, Covina Charter Oak 13
No. 2 Vista Murrieta 58, Riverside North 14
Next Friday’s semifinals: No. 1 Corona Centennial vs. Rancho Cucamonga at Los Osos HS; No. 3 Upland at No. 2 Vista Murrieta
No. 1 Moreno Valley Rancho Verde 42, San Gorgonio 28
No. 4 Colony 31, Moreno Valley 28
Carter 15, No. 3 Riverside La Sierra 14
No. 2 Palm Springs 42, Chino 14
Next Friday’s semifinals: No. 4 Colony at No. 1 Rancho Verde, Carter at No. 2 Palm Springs
No. 1 Summit 42, SIlverado 10
No. 4 Serrano 35, Wildomar Elsinore 7
No. 3 Romoland Heritage 42, Kaiser 14
No. 2 Perris Citrus Hill 45, Ridgecrest Burroughs 10
Next Friday’s semifinals: No. 4 Serrano vs. No. 1 Summit at Miller HS, No. 2 Citrus Hill at No. 3 Heritage
EAST VALLEY DIVISION
No. 1 Chatsworth Sierra Canyon 38, Ontario Christian 0
No. 4 Santa Barbara Bishop Diego 21, Twentynine Palms 14
Rim of the World 23, No. 3 San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret’s 13
No. 2 Lancaster Paraclete 42, Aquinas 7
Next Friday’s semifinals: No. 4 Bishop Diego at No. 1 Sierra Canyon, No. 2 Paraclete at Rim of the World
The CIF State Championships for cross country take place on Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno. Unlike previous years, I will not be there. Ace reporter J.P. Hoornstra will be there instead.
Here is a look at the county teams/individuals that will be competing:
Division 1 boys, 12:20 p.m.
The Cougars were ranked No. 1 in the state last week before finishing second at CIF-SS Finals. As well as Arcadia ran last week, it will take a vast improvement by Rancho Cucamonga and a drop off by Arcadia to win, but second place would still be impressive. This is the fourth straight year at state for the team, and for seniors Luis Gutierrez and Calvin Davis, who were on the varsity as freshmen.
Division 2 boys, 11:15 a.m.
For the longest time, Ayala’s girls had the better reputation, but this is the third time in the last five years the boys are going. The boys finished fourth last week and will have to run well to maintain that position.
Division 2 girls, 12:50 p.m.
The Colony girls have had Xochitl Navarrete and Valerie Mares go as individuals before, but never had their team go. The Titans are happy to be there after finishing seventh and grabbing the last qualifying spot, so just running a solid race is a good goal.
Melissa Fairchild, Serrano
The Sun’s runner of the year last year, she isn’t able to go with her team. Her team was expected to make it to state, but didn’t even make it to finals. She should be near the front of the pack.
Division 3 boys, 1:25 p.m.
Ismael Griego, Granite Hills
He was the No. 1 runner on the team that went to state last year. The team around him wasn’t as strong this year, so he’ll have to go it alone.
Division 3 girls, 11:45 a.m.
Last year, Granite Hills took both the boys and the girls. Only the girls as a team are back, and looking to improve on their ninth-place finish last year.
Division 4 boys, 9:40 a.m.
Big Bear was a Division 4 mainstay at state for years, even after Ryan and Chad Hall graduated. After winning back-to-back state titles in 2007-08, they finished fourth in 2009. They didn’t qualify last year, so taking fourth at CIF-SS Finals is a step back in the right direction. Big Bear, led by Bryan Hayes (second at CIF-SS Finals), has a history of coming up big at the state meet.