A year after graduating a distinguished senior class, the Central Section returns to Saturday’s CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park with continued respect.
While the section isn’t as deep in talent as it has been in recent years, it will arrive for the 30th event – all at this venue – with state-ranked representation nonetheless from Madera South and Buchanan with boys and girls teams in Division I and Fresno High’s Evert Silva in boys D-III.
And this after the 2015 meet delivered Central Section signature performances in the boys meets, with Madera South placing fourth as a team in Division I and Stallions senior Eduardo Herrera (now running for Colorado) second in section-record time (14 minutes, 48.8 seconds); and in the girls meets, with Buchanan placing fourth as a team and Clovis North’s Lauren Moffett (Vanderbilt) and Central Valley Christian’s Gabby Satterlee (Baylor) climbing atop the podium with thirds in D-I and D-III.
The 10-race meet will begin (47 degree forecast) at 8:30 a.m. with Division IV boys and will finish at 1:20 p.m. (57 degrees and expected rain) with D-III girls.
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It was on the diverse 3.1-mile course that Buchanan freshman Corie Smith made a splash in last week’s Central Section finals.
Arriving with a personal best of 18:18, she torched a 17:48.5 to win the Division I title by 21 seconds with the 21st-best freshman time in Woodward history, according to prepcaltrack.com editor Rich Gonzalez.
That mark would have placed 11th at the state D-I meet last year.
Bears coach Brian Weaver credits Smith’s development in part to training daily with state-ranked teammate Meagen Lowe, a sophomore who placed 26th in the state last year.
“Just working with Meagen and having Meagen challenge her the entire season has helped Corie mature,” Weaver said. “Corie’s a very talented, really hard worker who had a lot of success in junior high.”
Buchanan’s girls roar onto the state stage after placing six runners among the top 10 while scoring a near-perfect 22 points and winning the section team title by 45 points over Clovis North. It was the Bears’ 15th section crown in the past 17 years.
In addition to Smith, Buchanan received a third from Lowe (18:24.2), a fourth from junior Katie Nili (18:43.7), a fifth from junior Clare Hernandez (18:45.6), a ninth from senior Mackenzie Mora (18:53.9) and a 10th from freshman Amanda Dolberg (18:57.2).
Scoring 22 points, that was pretty special, especially with only one senior. I was wowed.
Buchanan coach Brian Weaver
“Scoring 22 points, that was pretty special, especially with only one senior,” Weaver said. “I was wowed. They talked among themselves about their expectations. They want to be on the (state) podium.”
The same dialogue can be heard among Madera South’s boys squad after the Stallions placed fourth, third and second in the past three state D-I boys finals.
Madera South, which has won nine consecutive section titles – the past five in D-I – is led by senior Miguel Villar, the section champion who placed 11th, 10th and 29th in the state as a junior, sophomore and freshman, respectively.
The Stallions and Buchanan girls will chase Great Oak-Temecula, which is favored to win a third consecutive D-I boys title and fifth in a row in the girls competition. The Wolfpack boys and girls are ranked third and second nationally by dyestat.com.
Race times for Saturday’s CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park.
- Division IV Boys: 8:30 a.m.
- D-V Boys: 9 a.m.
- D-IV Girls: 9:30 a.m.
- D-V Girls: 10:05 a.m.
- D-I Boys: 10:40 a.m.
- D-II Girls: 11:10 a.m.
- D-III Boys: 11:45 a.m.
- D-I Girls: 12:15 p.m.
- D-II Boys: 12:50 p.m.
- D-III Girls: 1:20 p.m.
State cross country rankings
(updated by prepcaltrack.com Nov. 24)
Division I: 1. Great Oak; 2. Dana Hills, Dana Point; 3. Roosevelt, Eastvale
Division II: 1. Dublin; 2. Ventura; 3. Claremont
Division III: 1. West Torrance, Torrance; 2. Brea Olinda, Brea; 3. (tie) Campolindo, Moraga, and Paso Robles
Division IV: 1. Foothill Technology, Ventura; 2. (tie) JSerra, San Juan Capistrano, and Sage Creek, Carlsbad
Division V: 1. Desert Christian, Lancaster; 2. Flintridge Prep, La Cañada Flintridge; 3. Valley Christian, Cerritos
Division I: 1. Great Oak, Temecula; 2. Davis; 3. Dana Hills, Dana Point
Division II: 1. Claremont; 2. Granada, Livermore; 3. Canyon, Anaheim
Division III: 1. Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates; 2. La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad; 3. Cathedral Catholic, San Diego
Division IV: 1. JSerra, San Juan Capistrano; 2. Foothill Technology, Ventura; 3. Bishop Amat, La Puente
Division V: 1. Flintridge Prep, La Cañada Flintridge; 2. Francis Parker, San Diego; 3. St. Joseph Notre Dame, Alameda