Citrus Valley’s Claire Graves readies for Foot Locker Nationals

Claire Graves, above, talks after the 2013 Foot Locker West race

Citrus Valley sophomore Claire Graves still has one more race in her high school cross country season.
After finishing seventh at last Saturday’s Foot Locker West Regional at Mt. San Antonio College, Graves advanced to this Saturday’s Foot Locker National Championships at San Diego’s Balboa Park.
Last year, on a sloppy, wet day, she finished 21st at the West Regional, while this year, she finished the five kilometer course in seventh place. The top 10 advance.
“I wasn’t prepared to run in mud,” said of last year’s race. “My shoes weren’t proper for that.”
This year, with the weather more favorable, she focused on finishing in the top 10, rather than a time.
“I wasn’t worried about my time. Usually, I’m a front-runner, but I didn’t want to go out super-fast,” she said.
But, last week was on a course with which she was very familiar. This one will be new.
“I have friends who have run that course,” she said. “It’s fairly flat. I’m not too worried. I’m hoping to come in the top 15 and end the season on a good note.”
Other top county runners ran at Foot Locker West, including Sultana’s Stefani Gaskell, who was 22nd (19:12.4),
The Nike Nationals were also run last week, in Portland, Ore. and Big Bear’s Caleb Webb was third in 15:21, while Jurupa Hills was 10th, led by Devon Reed, who was 31st overall (15:54).

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Nike Cross Nationals, Footlocker West: local results

Here are some results from Saturday’s Nike Cross Country Nationals in Portland, Oregon and the Footlocker West Regional at Mt. SAC:

At Nike, Jurupa Hills boys were 10th as a team. Big Bear’s Caleb Webb was third in the country running 15:21. Jurupa Hills’ Devon Reed was 31st in 15:54, teammate Michael Teran was 40th in 16:00.

At Footlocker, Citrus Valley’s Claire Graves was 7th, running the 5K course (longer than the usual 3 miles, it finishes on the track), and her time was 18:32.0.

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CIF-SS Cross Country Finals San Bernardino County Results

Jurupa Hills’ Michael Teran, above en route to winning the CIF-SS Division 2 title

Here are results from CIF-SS cross country finals
Top 7 teams and 5 individuals on non-qualifying teams advance to CIF State Championships

Division 1 boys winner: Burbank Burroughts (70)
Qualified: Alta Loma’s Koby Pederson 7th (15:10) as an individual
Did not qualify: 15. Chino Hills 324, 16. Yucaipa 401.

Division 2 boys winner: Ventura 83
Qualified: 1. Jurupa Hills 101 (top runner: 1. Michael Teran 14:44)
Ayala’s Christian Barajas 15th (15:17) as an individual
Did not qualify: 10. Ayala 264, 13. Colony 292, 16. Bloomington 411.

Division 3 boys winner: Brea Olinda 44
Qualified: None
Did not qualify: Sultana’s Manuel Ramirez 26th (15:41)

Division 4 boys winner: Bishop Amat 90
Qualified: Big Bear’s Caleb Webb 1st (14:42) as an individual
Did not qualify: 10. Big Bear 237
Yucca Valley’s Saul Tamayo 16th (15:52) as an individual

Division 5 boys winner: Xavier Prep 65
Qualified: Ontario Christian’s Jakob Eichor 17th (16:11) as an individual
Did not qualify: 14. Ontario Christian 307.

Division 1 girls winner: Great Oak 20
Qualified: 2. Yucaipa 98 (top runner: 15. Mackenna Mason 18:15)
Did not qualify: 16. Rancho Cucamonga 364
Chino Hills’ Grace Staton 18th (18:20) as an individual
Cajon’s Samantha Poliakon 23rd (18:37) as an individual

Division 2 girls winner: Saugus 81
Qualified: 3. Serrano 113 (top runner: 12. Kelly Fairchild 18:01)
Citrus Valley’s Claire Graves 2nd (17:07) as an individual
Did not qualify: 12. Citrus Valley 291, 16 Ayala 361
Summit’s Jennifer Sandoval 31st (18:24) as an individual

Division 3 girls winner: Palos Verdes 80
Qualified: Sultana’s Stefani Gaskell 5th (17:52) as an individual
Did not qualify: none

Division 4 girls winner: Bishop Amat 63
Qualified: none
Did not qualify: none

Division 5 girls winner: Flintridge Prep 36
Qualified: None
Did not qualify: 13. Arrowhead Christian 307

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CIF-SS cross country: Claire Graves, Michael Teran, Caleb Webb, Mackenna Mason talk

Citrus Valley’s Claire Graves talks about finishing rummer up to Redondo’s Amber Gore at CIF-SS Division 2 finals

Jurupa Hills’ Michael Teran talks about winning the CIF-SS Division 2 title.

Big Bear’s Caleb Webb talks about winning the CIF-SS Division 4 title

Yucaipa’s Mackenna Mason talks about her team finishing second in CIF-SS Division 1.

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CIF-SS Cross Country Finals, San Bernardino County Schedule

Here is the schedule for San Bernardino County qualifiers for the CIF-SS Cross Country Finals, Saturday at Mt. SAC.
To see the Sun preview on CIF-SS Finals, go here.
Check back on this blog for an updates entry.

Race. 1 7:45 a.m., Boys Division 2
Jurupa Hills

Race 2, 8:05 a.m., Boys Division 3
Sultana individual (Manuel Ramirez)

Race 3, 8:25 a.m., Girls Division 2
Citrus Valley
Summit individual (Jennifer Sandoval)

Race 4 8:45 a.m. Girls Division 3
Sultana individual (Stefani Gaskell)

Race 5, 9:05 a.m. Boys Division 4
Big Bear
Yucca Valley individual (Saul Tamayo)

Race 6, 9:25 a.m. Girls Division 5
Arrowhead Christian

Race 7, 9:45 a.m. Boys Division 1
Alta Loma individual (Koby Pederson)
Chino Hills

Race 8, 10:05 a.m. Girls Division 4

Race 9, 10:25 a.m. Boys Division 5
Ontario Christian

Race 10, 10:45 a.m. Girls Division 1
Cajon individual (Samantha Poliakon)
Chino Hills individual (Grace Staton
Rancho Cucamonga

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Different format would’ve kept Citrus Valley girls cross country from CIF-SS Finals

Citrus Valley sophomore Claire Graves, above, talks about how she and her cross country got the final spot into CIF-SS Division 2 Finals, but it would not have been under a different tiebreaker

It has not been as much of an issue before, but it certainly is now. In cross country, every division (boys and girls) required a tiebreaker to decide the final spot from CIF-SS Prelims to CIF-SS Finals.

A brief explanation: The number of prelims heats, 2, 3 or 4, depends on the number of automatic entries for prelims. From those heats, there are 16 teams that qualify for CIF-SS Finals.
In years past, many divisions had either 2 or 4 heats, which made it easy to have top eight in each heat in two-heat division and top four in each heat for four-heat divisions.
In the instances where there were three heats the top five in those heats would advance automatically, and the final qualifier would be the sixth-place team with the best team time.

This year, with the realignment of the divisions, every division had three heats and requires a tiebreaker. And that’s how Citrus Valley girls advanced to CIF-SS Finals, but it’s not necessarily the best way.
An alternative tiebreaker, that I heard from Rich Gonzalez of, is to take the times (down to the fractions) of runners from the top six teams in each heat, merge them together and re-score. The best score among those sixth-place teams would advance. Rich Gonzalez reports that he did that in Citrus Valley’s division and Newport Harbor would’ve been the team advancing instead.

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There are intriguing matchups in CIF-SS cross country prelims

Above, Citrus Valley’s Claire Graves talks after winning the Citrus Belt League title

The CIF-SS cross country prelims heat sheets are out, and while they are of critical importance to some competitors and a foregone conclusion for others, there are some intriguing matchups for Saturday’s races at Mt. San Antonio College.
The third Division 2 girls heat is one of those intriguing matchups.
Not only are Jurupa Hills, Redlands East Valley and Sunkist League champion Jennifer Sandoval of Summit running in that heat, but the top runner in the county, Claire Graves (who will be running with her Citrus Valley teammates) and the top team in the county, Serrano (ranked No. 3 in the division) will be in that 8:55 a.m. race.
TX Body: Later, at 10:29 a.m., is the first Division 2 boys heat, which will include Bloomington, Citrus Valley, Jurupa Hills, Serrano and Silverado. Jurupa Hills was the state champion last year in Division 3 and is ranked No. 1 in Division 2 in the CIF-SS this year. Bloomington is coached by Lun Son, who was the Jurupa Hills coach and started the Spartans on their journey towards a state championship before temporarily leaving the area for his wife’s career.
The top five teams in each race will qualify for finals, plus the sixth-place team from the three heats with the fastest team time. If a runner’s team does not qualify for finals, that runner could finish among the top eight places to make it to finals as an individual.
Rich Gonzalez of, who does the rankings and is involved in the heat sheets, says that new enrollment breakdowns by CIF State have caused the divisions to be more evenly distributed with teams and it’s just how it turned out that there would be 3 heats per division. If more or less teams qualified in those divisions, there could have been only two heats or as many as four.

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High school cross country teams ready for Mt. SAC Invitational

With 113 races spread out over two days, the high school portion of the Mt. SAC Invitational for cross country, set for Friday and Saturday, has plenty of racing to go around.
TX Body: The elite races are the sweepstakes races, divided into different divisions.
TX Body: But the top teams aren’t necessarily in the sweepstakes races, and even if they are, they aren’t necessarily in the division they would normally belong in.
TX Body: For instance, Big Bear is in Division 4, but defending Sun Runner of the Year Caleb Webb is running instead in the Division 1 and 2 individual sweepstakes at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, while the rest of his team runs in the Division 4 sweepstakes at 4:25 p.m. Friday. Division 3, 4 and 5 races are Friday, while Division 1 and 2 are Saturday. Varsity sweepstakes run from about 4:05-6 p.m. Friday and 8:45-10 a.m. Saturday.
TX Body: On the girls’ side, the Nos. 2 and 4 ranked teams in San Bernardino County, Yucaipa and Citrus Valley, respectively, will be competing, but neither one will be in sweepstakes races.
TX Body: Other San Bernardino County teams in sweepstakes races includes: Big Bear girls (Division 4), Yucca Valley boys (5), Ontario Christian boys (5), Victor Valley boys (3), Rancho Cucamonga girls (1 & 2 individual), Ayala boys and girls (1 & 2 team), Jurupa Hills boys (1 & 2 team), and Serrano girls (1 & 2 team).
TX Body: Yucaipa girls are scheduled to compete in a Division 1 varsity race at 10:46 a.m. Saturday, and the Citrus Valley girls are in a Division 2 varsity race at 3:56 p.m. Saturday.
TX Body: Yucaipa coach Jason Carney said via text message that when entries were due two weeks ago, he didn’t think his girls team was ready for sweepstakes. Citrus Valley coach Bryan Haddock said his team had initially been told it would be in a sweepstakes race.

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Inland Empire Challenge: Is it a true county championship?

You can see videos above of two of the top San Bernardino County runners on Saturday at the Inland Empire Challenge: Alta Loma’s Koby Pederson, who was third in the boys sweepstakes and Serrano’s Kelly Fairchild, who was third in the girls sweepstakes.

I’ve covered this event several times over the years and the organizers, which include Alta Loma’s Rich Morales and Rancho Cucamonga’s Terry Tierney (and formerly included former Rancho Cucamonga girls coach Mark Cushman), bill it as a battle between the counties and to crown county champions.

They know it’s not really determining who is best in each county. They’ve tried hard to get more of the top schools from the two counties to commit. The problem is, it’s also the same weekend as the Clovis Invitational, run on the same Woodward Park course that hosts the state meet.

So, programs that are among the top 10 in the county perennially, such as Yucaipa and Ayala don’t go to the Inland Empire Challenge. Many of the top Riverside County teams also don’t come for the same reason.

Serrano coach Ken Quinn said he would love sometime to have his teams go to Clovis, but they can’t afford it. And he loves the IE Challenge, because as he says, “it’s closer than some of our league meets.”

He’d love to see the IE Challenge moved to the third Saturday in October, the same weekend as the Orange County Championships, because there would be fewer conflicts for San Bernardino County schools.

It will continue to be a great event, regardless. But to be true championships for both counties, something needs to change.

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