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).
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 PrepCalTrack.com, 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.
Yucaipa went into Friday’s regular season finale looking like a good shot to grab the CIF-SS Inland Division’s one at-large playoff berth.
All Yucaipa needed to do was to beat Redlands.
But, things didn’t go according to plan and Yucaipa lost to Redlands, creating a three-way tie for fourth with Citrus Valley, Yucaipa and Redlands. While fourth place in an eight-team does not get an automatic berth into the playoffs anymore, the tie did need to be broken in order for one of the teams to be considered for the at-large berth.
And it was Citrus Valley that won the coin flip. That leaves the Blackhawks (4-6) likely vying with Hemet (6-4) from the Mountain Pass League and Temescal Canyon (3-7) of the Sunbelt League for the division’s lone at-large berth.
We will know early on Sunday morning which team made it in, and then later on Sunday the playoff draws will be announced.
Who will get it? I don’t know for sure. On the surface, you would think Hemet based on overall record.
But, there are other factors.
Here is the at-large criteria from the football playoff bulletin:
Criteria utilized by the At-Large Selection Committee:
(a) Head-to-head competition of teams under consideration (4 points)
(b) Overall strength of the league from which the team is entered (1 point)
(c) Overall win-loss record (1 point)
(d) Strength against common opponents (1 point)
(e) Strength of schedule (2 points, using overall win-loss record of opponents)
(f) Free lance teams will be part of the pool for the filling of at-large berths
Head-to-head competition? There was none.
Common opponents? I think Temescal Canyon and Hemet shared one, and both teams lost to Temecula Valley.
Strength of league? The Citrus Belt is considered the strongest league in the division, so Citrus Valley would have the advantage there.
Strength of opponents? That advantage goes to Temescal Canyon. Record of TC’s opponents are 61-39, Citrus Valley’s are 56-44 and Hemet’s are 44-56.
So, with strength of schedule weighing more (two points) than other criteria, the pick could be Temescal Canyon.
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.
Here are videos from the last 2 days of 3 CIF championship games.
The below video shows the final out for Mesa Grande in a 16-7 victory over Southlands Christian in a CIF-SS Division 7 championship softball game.
Video No. 2 shows the final out for Aquinas in an 8-1 victory over Montebello in a CIF-SS Division 5 championship softball game.
Video No. 3 shows Citrus Valley scoring the tying run with two outs in the top of the seventh.
Video No. 4 shows Oak Hills scoring the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Moments later, they would score the winning run in a 5-4, eight-inning victory over Citrus Valley in the CIF-SS Division 5 baseball final
That’s the final out of Oak Hills’ CIF-SS Division 5 semifinal win over Ontario Christian, 5-4.
Although it was a tight game, there was not nearly as much drama as Ontario Christian’s quarterfinal win over Templeton when the Knights recorded a triple play and got the benefit of a call when a Templeton runner failed to touch home plate.
This time, the big difference was extra-base hits. Oak Hills had nine hits, including four doubles and a home run. Ontario Christian had seven hits, all singles.
Here is how things shape up for Sun baseball and softball teams in the CIF-SS Finals.
Jurupa Hills coach Scott Cartzdafner said he was “more than positive” his team would see Citrus Valley in the CIF-SS Division 5 championship game in three weeks.
He said that after his team lost to defending Division 6 champ Citrus Valley 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh to give Citrus Valley the Mountain Valley League title on Thursday. That was two days after Jurupa Hills knocked off Citrus Valley 3-2 on a walk-off two-run homer.
Citrus Valley is ranked No. 1 in the division and a favorite to get back to the CIF-SS title game. But what about Jurupa Hills? The Spartans were ranked fifth entering this week.
A year ago, Citrus Valley won its final 21 games en route to the CIF title. In the final 20 of those games, 2 of the 3 closest games were 3-2 and 4-1 wins over Jurupa Hills. The 4-1 win came in the CIF semifinals. Jurupa Hills might’ve been the second-best team in the division last year, but because the Spartans tied for 2nd in league and went into the playoffs as the No. 3 team, they could end up on the same side of the bracket as Citrus Valley, hence meet in the semifinals.
This year, since Jurupa HIlls is the No. 2 team in the league, the Spartans will be on the opposite half of the bracket from No. 1 Citrus Valley. So they could meet in the finals. But will they?
At Monday’s meeting at Arroyo Valley, proposal No. 19, one submitted by Riverside Norte Vista, was the winning bid.
Here’s a look at how the leagues will look for 2 years beginning in the fall of 2014, beginning with leagues that have San Bernardino County schools. New schools in that league in bold:
CITRUS BELT LEAGUE
Cajon, Carter, Citrus Valley, Eisenhower, Miller, Redlands, Redlands East Valley, Yucaipa. DE ANZA LEAGUE
Big Bear, Desert Hot Springs, Desert Mirage, Rancho Mirage, Shadow Hills, Twentynine Palms, Xavier Prep, Yucca Valley. DESERT SKY LEAGUE Adelanto, Barstow, Granite Hills, Silverado, Victor Valley