By Bob Ramsey, Correspondent
This is League Championship week for cross country. After months of training and racing, league titles and CIF berths will be settled. For most athletes, this will be the end of their season, but a number of local teams will advance from league finals to a postseason that could lead to the Southern Section finals and state meet. The top half of each league advances to the Nov. 12 CIF prelims, but teams ranked in the top 13 in the most recent CIF divisional polls can earn an at-large place in the meet. Here’s a breakdown of the contenders for the league titles and CIF spots. (To continue click thread).
Baseline League at Mt.SAC: The Glendora girls have won the first two cluster meets but will face a strong challenge from Rancho Cucamonga. Glendora’s strength is the close grouping of their runners. Sophomores Emily Hoey and Cori Harral and freshman Micaela Lamb have been their best runners in the last three meets, and each could win a league title. The Glendora boys have been second in both league meets to national power Rancho Cucamonga and will do well to hold their spot.
Sierra League at Mt.SAC: The competition will be fierce. The Ayala boys and girls, the Damien boys and the South Hills girls already have earned CIF at-large berths. Damien won the first cluster meet and Ayala surged to the front in the second. The league title will go to the winner today. Damien senior Tom Ebiner was the winner of both cluster meets, but Ayala’s Christian Eagan and teammate Douglas Negrete can challenge him. South Hills was third at both cluster meets but had a rough time at Mt. SAC and will face a real battle with Chino Hills and Claremont for the final CIF spot. Ayala has been the class of the Sierra girls in easily winning both meets, but they finished behind rapidly improving Claremont at Mt. SAC. South Hills also struggled at Mt. SAC, which could lead to a battle for first. Ayala’s Chandler Colquitt has won twice in league, but she’ll face strong competition from Claremont sophomores Merin Arft and Megan Renken and from South Hills’ Alex Borunda and freshman Danielle Murrietta.
Valle Vista at Bonelli Park: The Covina boys, featuring a trio of front-runners, and the Northview girls, with a tight 1-5 pack, have won the two clusters and are strong favorites to repeat. The boys champ likely will come from Covina’s Kevin Mejia, Chris Maldonado and Paul Gonzalez. Nogales’ Jorge Hernandez could break through, and his team is likely to advance along with a young Baldwin Park team. The fourth spot is up for grabs. Northview should hold the girls top spot, with Ashli Baddorf (Covina) Anna Barcelo (Nogales) Alyssa Martinez (San Dimas) and Baldwin Park’s Susie Garcia contending for the individual title. This league has not produced official results, making it difficult to break down the rest of the qualifying spots.
Mission Valley League at Bonelli Park: Rosemead has been the class of the league on the girls side and beat a short-handed Arroyo boys team in the second cluster meet. The Panthers are a near lock to win the girls race while the boys title should go to the Knights if they’re at full strength. South El Monte is likely to take the third girls CIF spot, while Gabrielino should earn the other boys spot.
The boys individual title will be a battle between South El Monte’s Josue Linarte and Jaime Perez, Arroyo’s Diego Lopez and Andrew Aparicio and Rosemead’s Freddy Cerezo. On the girls side, Kelly Luc (Rosemead) is the favorite, but Cindy Ngo (Arroyo) could challenge.
Montview League at Schabarum Park: The Azusa girls, spurred by the midseason debut of frosh Roxanne Valle are on top after three cluster meets and pushed aside defending champ Sierra Vista, which stand second. Ganesha, winners of the first meet, likely will be third and Bassett is the pick for the fourth CIF spot. Valle and teammate Shaina Pardo are the individual favorites, along with Jessica Lopez (Sierra Vista). Ganesha and Sierra Vista will contend for the boys title, with an edge to the Giants. Azusa and Bassett are likely to contend for the other two spots, with the Aztecs’ Ernie Castro the clear individual favorite.
Hacienda League at Mt. SAC: The Bonita girls have earned an at-large spot, and the Los Altos boys will if they hold their place in this week’s rankings. The Bearcats are the favorites in the girls race, but Walnut will make a strong challenge. Los Altos looks solid for third with Diamond Bar and Rowland battling for the final CIF spot. Two-time CIF qualifier Marissa Scott (Bonita) is the individual favorite, but she could be challenged by Walnut freshman Anahi Betart and Rachel Shapiro.
Los Altos stumbled in the last cluster meet and likely will take the boys title with Walnut, Bonita and Rowland battling for the three other CIF spots. Jair Juarez (Los Altos), Rowland’s Nick Rivera and David Galvez and James McCreary (Diamond Bar) will vie for the individual crown.