What a difference one year can make.
Cross country runners Saylah Barserian of Clovis High and Heath Reedy of Buchanan proved that Saturday in the Clovis Invitational at Woodward Park.
Barserian, a senior, took second in the Division I race after finishing the 5,000- meter course in 17 minutes, 51 seconds and shattering her time from a year ago by 47 seconds.
"I feel like I'm in better shape, that I can run fast and for a longer period than before," Barserian said. "I could feel the difference in the final mile when I started to pull away."
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Reedy was 11th in the championship race at 15:19, improving his 2008 Clovis Invitational mark by 33 seconds.
"It wasn't even close," the senior said of setting a personal best. "I just sprinted as fast as I could in the beginning so I wouldn't get caught up in the group. And then I set a good pace from there.
"It feels great to see how much I've improved from where I was before."
Viewed as a good preview of November's CIF state meet that also takes places at Woodward, the Clovis Invitational brought 150 schools to the park on an ideal day to run, sunny and gorgeous.
No Central Section team enjoyed the moment more perhaps than the McFarland boys, who won the Division IV race.
Led by freshman Erik Garcia's mark of 16:32, McFarland won with five runners among the top 13 and 40 points.
The Division I boys race went to Dana Hills, which had 60 points. Clovis West (185 points) and Madera South (191) finished fourth and fifth. Madera South junior Isaiah Lorenzo posted the top time from the Central Section, 15:43.
In the boys championship race, Royal won with 138 points. Buchanan, paced by Reedy, was the top Central Section team at 223 points and sixth place. South Pasadena's Samuel Pons had a day-best time of 14:53.
The Crescenta Valley girls beat Clovis in the Division I race 119 points to 150.
And Great Oaks won the girls championship race with 71 points. Buchanan took fourth with 147 points, led by junior Macy Bricks, who came in second in 17:56. Montgomery's Julie Nacouzi was first in 17:42.