A 4,304-person high school cross country meet scheduled on an early October weekend would suggest they let just about anybody in.
Nope, not at the Asics Clovis Invitational.
Actually, more than 30 schools were denied admittance simply because there’s no more room in an event that will deliver a record-size field in its 37th year Saturday at Woodward Park.
Furthermore, consider the most distinguished of guests on a 5,000-meter course that also continues to serve as the official state venue, hosting all 28 finals since 1987:
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▪ Arcadia senior Phillip Rocha is ranked sixth in the nation by DyeStat.com a year after winning the state Division I race by 9 seconds, in 14:58. Two weeks ago, he torched the prestigious Stanford Invitational field by 29 seconds, winning the 5K in a course-record 14:32.5. Yet Woodward’s standard-bearing time remains seemingly unapproachable – 14:24 in the 2007 state meet by Riverbank’s German Fernandez.
Arcadia’s Phillip Rocha and Davis’ Fiona O’Keeffe are state defending champions showcased in Saturday’s Clovis Invitational.
▪ Davis senior Fiona O’Keeffe is the state’s two-time reigning Division I girls cross country champion, is ranked second nationally by DyeStat, and could be headed to Stanford. Her state-winning 16:57 last year is No. 6 all-time for a female prep at Woodward, according to PrepCalTrack.com editor Rich Gonzalez. The record is 16:40 by Simi Valley then-junior Sarah Baxter in the 2012 state D-I final.
▪ Great Oak-Temecula senior Destiny Collins, at 16:57, soundly defeated O’Keeffe in this meet and on this diverse 5,000-meter course a year ago, dominated the state track and field 3,200 meters a little more than six months later, was ranked No. 1 nationally by DyeStat in preseason cross country this fall and reportedly has narrowed her college short list to Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas and North Carolina.
▪ Great Oak of the Southern Section, as a team, is top-ranked nationally by DyeStat in girls and No. 6 in boys a year after sweeping the state D-I titles.
And where does all this leave Eduardo Herrera, Lauren Moffett, Gabby Satterlee, Madera South, Clovis North, Central Valley Christian, Buchanan, specifically, and the Who’s Who of Central Section cross country competing at the Clovis Invitational?
Hanging with the state’s pace-setters, apparently.
Eloy Quintana, in fact, thinks Herrera has the ability to win the state D-I after finishing fourth last year (15:12) and seventh as a sophomore (15:21). The 2013 Bee Runner of the Year captured the Central Section D-I gold last year in 15:07.
“With all my confidence, yes,” the Stallions’ Quintana says of a student-athlete more commonly known as “Lalo,” and one who is attracting attention from Stanford, UCLA, Harvard and Georgetown.
“Some of the best schools, running and academically,” Quintana said. “Usually, an athlete is recruited for one or the other; Lalo has both.”
This can be applied to siblings excellence in regard to Herreras and Moffetts.
Eduardo Herrera’s older brother, Jose, was The Bee’s Runner of the Year in 2012, an anchor in establishing a Stallions run of seven consecutive section titles in three divisions.
Lauren Moffett’s older sister, Leigh, was a Bee Runner of the Year in 2013, now competing at Dartmouth.
Lauren already has been to Vanderbilt and Syracuse on recruiting visits.
ASICS CLOVIS INVITATIONAL
Saturday, Woodward Park
- Admission: $5 per bus or car
- Schedule: 7:15 a.m., Division IV varsity girls; 7:40 a.m., D-IV varsity boys; 8 a.m., D-III varsity girls; 8:25 a.m., D-III varsity boys; 8:55 a.m., championship girls; 9:30 a.m., championship boys; 9:50 a.m., D-III/IV freshman/sophomore girls; 10:15 a.m., D-III/IV freshman/sophomore boys; 10:35 a.m., D-III/IV JV girls; 11:05 a.m., D-III/IV JV boys; 11:30 a.m., D-II varsity girls; 11:55 a.m., D-II varsity boys; 12:15 p.m., D-I varsity girls; 12:40 p.m., D-1 varsity boys; 1 p.m., D-I/II freshman/sophomore girls; 1:25 p.m., D-I/II freshman/sophomore boys; 1:45 p.m., D-I/II JV girls; 2:15 p.m., D-I/II JV boys.