Claire Graves of Citrus Valley
Claire Graves of Citrus Valley took first place in the Cerritos Invitational with a time of 16 minutes and 57 seconds.
It was a familiar setting for Graves, who competed in the event last year and finished second, according to coach Bryan Haddock.
“I was happy with my performance even though, I didn’t run as fast as last year,” Graves said. “We trained through this race to focus on Woodbridge.”
Citrus Valley will compete in the Woodbridge Invite on Sept. 19.
Emily Virtue of Burroughs provided competition for Graves during the Cerritos Invite. She would go on to finish second with a time of 17:02.
“It was a nice push having her there,” Graves added. “She is great competition.”
Serrano would go on to win the overall event on the girls side, led by its top finisher Country Brenner, who took third overall.
Carissa Gomez finished 21st overall, second among Citrus Valley girls, following a time of 18:50 while Becca Loflin finished in 34th place with a time of 19:12. It was a personal best for both on the course.
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).