By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
Sergio Gonzalez has sipped the taste of a championship and so has his Arcadia High School teammates. Bonita’s Marissa Scott, Whittier Christian’s Kellian Hunt, La Salle’s Daniel De La Torre, Rowland’s Nick Rivera and Whittier’s Aaron Mora would like that same taste, too. All six will be among the favorites to win a CIF-Southern Section individual cross country championship on Saturday at Mt. SAC. (To continue click thread)
When Gonzalez finished fourth last year, he helped Arcadia win its first CIF-SS Division 1 title. The Apaches are again one of the favorites to win the team title. Also among the favorites to win titles are Bosco Tech in Division 4, Damien in Division 3, the Bonita girls in Division 3, the Flintridge Prep boys in Division 5, Mayfield in Division 4 and the Pasadena Poly girls in Division 5.
“We’re looking at this as if every race is the most important race of the season,” Arcadia coach James O’Brien said. “This team is capable of great things on any day. We’ve shuffled the lineup all season so we have a lot of guys with experience and nice depth.”
In all, 22 area teams and nine individuals, running without teammates, are scheduled to take part in the meet. The first race, in girls Division4, is scheduled to start at 7:45 a.m. The final race, Division 3 boys, is scheduled to start at 10:45 a.m.
The top seven teams and top five individuals, if they finish among the Top 20, from the five divisions will earn berths in next weekend’s CIF State meet, to be held at Fresno’s Woodward Park.
The race is scheduled to be run on the 2.91-mile hill course, but meet officials could move the meet to the rain course if weather dictates change. Last year’s finals were held on the rain course and last week’s preliminary meet was also held on the course.
“We do not want surprises in the morning, hopefully,” O’Brien said. “But we’re prepared for any course.”
Gonzalez will be trying to keep the Apaches’ individual title streak intact, too. Ammar Moussa won the crown the last two years.
“He has not felt any pressure,” O’Brien said. “He has stepped up to the mantle to lead our team.”
Bosco Tech is the top-ranked team in the Division 4 race. The Tigers finished second last year and last won a CIF-SS title in 2003. In that race, De La Torre will be trying to become La Salle’s fourth CIF-SS champion. He is the favorite to win the race, finishing sixth last year.
Bonita’s Scott was fifth as a sophomore last year in the Division 3 race. Her teammates finished ninth and missed state.
Rowland’s Rivera won his Mt. SAC Invitational race in convincing fashion earlier this year and is one of the favorites to win the Division 2 race.