The Buchanan High girls cross-country team figures to be on a collision course Saturday morning with a juggernaut from Southern California when the 31st annual state cross-country championships run through Woodward Park.
The state meet has never been anywhere else but Fresno’s 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course. It annually attracts 2,000 runners and 10,000 spectators.
Fans will want to get there early Saturday because while there are 10 races total (five divisions, boys and girls), the Division I race at 9:05 a.m. figures to be the dandy of the day.
Five-time defending girls D-I champ Great Oak-Temecula glides in as the favorite again. But Erik Boal, editor of DyeStat (the pre-eminent source for running news and statistics), predicts that Buchanan has a shot in what Boal expects to be one of the fastest girls D-I finals in history. Boal says that eight girls entered in the D-I final have the potential to break 17 minutes Saturday. Buchanan junior Meagen Lowe ran 17:18 to win the Central Section championship last week on the same course, with teammate and sophomore Corie Smith second in 17:27.
Great Oak, led by junior Fatima Cortes and sophomore Tori Gaitan, won the Southern Section championship last week. And the Wolfpack won the Clovis Invitational at Woodward Park in October, beating Claremont and Buchanan. Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills’ Maddy Denner won that day in 16:58.7, with Buchanan’s Smith second in 17:05.3.
Buchanan knows how to beat the top teams: The Bears beat Great Oak in September at the Woodbridge Classic Sweepstakes in Norco.
Six of the top 10 finishers in last year’s girls’ D-I race are back, including defending champion Olivia O’Keefe, a senior from Davis who ran 17:28.9 last year. Smith was fourth in 17:35.8 and Lowe was sixth in 17:36.7.
Buchanan is gunning for its second state title; it won in 1994 in D-II.
Here are other stories to watch Saturday:
Weather watch: The National Weather Service predicts temperatures to reach the upper 70s Saturday under hazy skies. More important to race conditions, it might only dip to the mid-50s overnight Friday, creating a warmer-than-usual morning temperature for runners to push through.
Record pace? Malibu junior Claudia Lane ran 16:45 to win last year’s D-IV race, No. 3 all-time among girls at Woodward. The record is 16:39.7 set five years ago by Simi Valley’s Sarah Baxter; former three-time state winner Julia Stamps of Santa Rosa ran 16:43 in 1996.
The all-time boys’ record is 14:24 by Riverbank’s German Fernandez to win D-IV in 2007.
Buchanan boys in mix: Buchanan figures to provide the local highlights on the boys’ side after winning the Central Section title. Hayden Hansen led three Bears into the top 10 at the section meet with a fourth-place finish; he was 28th in state last year as a junior.
Get out the brooms: Great Oak’s boys are running for their fourth straight state title. DyeStat’s Boal says only three boys’ teams have won four straight state meets: Woodcrest Christian-Riverside, 2005-09; Barstow, 2005-08; and McFarland, 1992-95.
Great Oak has nine combined team titles, so a sweep Saturday by its runners would tie the school with Nordhoff-Ojai’s 11 from 1990-98.
More sweepology: Flintridge Prep is looking to equal the girls’ D-V record of four consecutive titles, Boal says, set by University-San Francisco (2009-12). And Claremont in D-II, coming off a boys-girls sweep last year, can join Great Oak and Nordhoff as the only schools to get a title sweep multiple times.
Is this their year? The top returning boys from last year are Redwood-Larkspur junior Liam Anderson (second in D-III, 15:05.3) and two from D-I, Bellarmine Prep-San Jose senior Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau (third, 15:09.7) and El Camino Real-Woodland Hills senior Justin Hazell (fourth, 15:10.7).
State cross country meet
When: Saturday at Woodward Park
Tickets: On sale noon-4 p.m. Friday at Woodward Park or day of race
Price: $10; $5 children, students, seniors; 5-under free. There is also a $5 city entry fee per vehicle
Spectator gate: Northeast gate off Friant Road only
Division V Girls Race, 8:30 a.m
Division I Girls Race, 9:05 a.m.
Division V Boys Race, 9:35 a.m.
Division I Boys Race, 10:05 a.m.
Division II Girls Race, 10:35 a.m.
Division III Boys Race, 11:05 a.m.
Division IV Girls Race, 11:35 a.m.
Division II Boys Race, 12:05 p.m.
Division III Girls Race, 12:35 p.m.
Division IV Boys Race, 1:05 p.m.
Central Section state meet qualifiers
Buchanan: Kelly Brewer, Andrew Goff, Hayden Hansen, Dustyn McKenney, Bo Olsen, Thor Swanson, Ryan Toto. Chowchilla: Christopher Bettencourt, Connor Borba, Michael Eggert, Jose Ramirez, Kristian Robles, Kolton Stonier, Christian Willden. Clovis: Jordan Marroquin, Tyler Murphy, Fernando Sandoval, Andrew Scherf, Bryan Trujillo, Chris Watkins, Zane West. Clovis East: Jared Falcone. Clovis North: Thomas Allen, Nicholas Carter, Ethan Fusselman, Isaiah Galiondo, Spencer Hauxhurst, Reed Lienau, Charlie Swanson. Madera South: Seth Garcia. Redwood: Bailey Darnell, Ismael Ramirez. Stockdale: Marcus Mota.
Dinuba: Jonathan Padilla, Oscar Perez. Highland: Moises Medrano. Monache: Aaron Aparicio, Joachim Del Rosario, Joel Garcia, Ivan Mendez, Giovanni Sanchez, Isaiah Sotelo, Jaden Uphoff. Mt. Whitney: Andrew Wolfert. Reedley: Diego Duarte, Alex Garcia, Cristian Gomez, Matthew Jarrett, Alonso Lemus, Adrian Rodriguez, Mauro Sanchez. Sanger: Mohammed Saleh.
Corcoran: Ahmed Ahmed, Joe Gomez, Christian Miguel, Miguel Mendez, Marcos Ramirez, Vicente Rojas. Edison: Bryan Banuelos. Frontier: Andrew Swanson. Ridgeview: Ased Adus, Jordan Bueno, Alex Cuevas, Paytopn Fox, Austin Garcia, Bryan Gaxiola, Gerardo Moreno.
Avenal: Mohmmaed Ali, Jaime Bravo, Juan Martinez, Alan Rangel, Angel Salcedo, Alexis Sanchez. Coalinga: Jasmit Briana. Fresno: Francis Orgill. Hanford: Miguel Andrade. Lindsay: Victor Cisneros. McLane: Eliei Payan. Memorial: Diego Carrasco, Ryan Frietas, Carlos Garcia, Matt Garza, Matthew Magill, Noah Menezes, Matthew Taska.
California City: Skylar Bokelman, Ethan Escamilla, Dillion Glasener, Abdias Gomez, Chris Lawson, Colby Lopez, Justin Sample. Desert: Dylan Cook. Granite Hills: Jonah Flores. Summit Collegiate: Daniel Jimenez.
Runner, school, time, event
1. Anthony Grover, JSerra-San Juan Capistrano, 14:45.6, Orange County Championships
2. Jack Landgraf, Dana Hills-Dana Point, 14:48.0, Orange County Championships
3. Isaac Cassidy, Mission Oak, 14:49.0, Mission Oak vs. Tulare Western
4. Denny Rich, Washington, 14:53.7, MVAL League Meet
5. Luis Chavez, Mission Viejo, 14:55.1, Orange County Championships
6. Adrian Vargas, El Toro-Lake Forest, 14:57.6, Orange County Championships
7. Simon Fuller, Dana Hills-Dana Point, 14:58.6, Orange County Championships
8. Nolan Valdivia, Beaumont, 14:58.7, Mountain Pass No. 1
9. Ben McKenna, Aliso Niguel, 14:59.8, Orange County Championships
10. Alexis Garcia, Newport Harbor-Newport Beach, 15:00.6, Orange County Championships
11. Justin Hazell, El Camino Real-Los Angeles, 15:01.9, Clovis Invitational
12. William Sanchez, Beaumont, 15:02.2, Mountain Pass No. 1
13. Liam Anderson, Redwood-Larkspur, 15:03.0, Clovis Invitational
T14. Ezequiel Gurule, California-Whittier, 15:05.0, Pride of the Valley 5K
T14. Seth Diaz, McFarland, 15:05.0, East Sierra League Finals
16. Peter Herold, JSerra-San Juan Capistrano, 15:05.6, Orange County Championships
17. Ethan Frisone, Valencia-Palcentia, 15:07.7, Orange County Championships
18. Tyler Spencer, E. Roosevelt-Eastvale, 15:08.0, BIG VIII League Finals
T19. Robert Miranda, Menlo-Atherton, 15:09.0, Pacific Tiger Invitational
T19. Melecio Gonzalez, McFarland, 15:09.0, East Sierra League Finals
Buchanan: Alyssa Destasio, Amanda Dolberg, Sydney Fox, Clare Hernandez, Meagan Lowe, Katie Nili, Corie Smith. Bullard: Rebeca Coronado. Clovis: Kiley Butchert, Natalie Curtis, Megan Dean, Olivia Herrera, McKenna Lewis, Kesha McDermott, Jordyn Ohashi. Clovis North: Blayney Dolan. Madera South: Veronica Ortega. McFarland: Maria Chavez, Kaylie Gonzales, Hilda Gonzalez, Katilyn Hernandez, Devianna Salcedo, Yuviana Torres, Brianna Valles. Stockdale: Alexandra Cholometes.
Liberty-Bakersfield: Hannah Champness, Ellen Palmgreen, Nickie Sanchez. Madera: Julia Martinez, Olivia Zambrano. Monache: Chanel Bradley, Charlotte Kouyoumtjian, Mikayli Moore, Alyssa Quionones, Marilou Ruiz, Imelda Suarez, Aislin Taylor. Redwood: Maria Barillas, Kylee Dismuke, Isabella Haberman, Victoria Nino, Alyssa Nunez, Kate Pippen, Jennifer Suarez.
Dinuba: Luz Diaz. Edison: Sarah Renberg. Exeter: Rosalind Dixon. Foothill: Jacqueline Barrios, Atziri Castellanos, Sofia Garcia, Virginia Lopez, Ana Bertha Medel, Rosie Medina, Gabby Ramos. Kerman: Jose Mosqueda. Ridgeview: Andrea Ferrer, Alea Gaona, Emily Ibarra, Whitney Matsuda, Isabel Medina, Paulette Rios, Lucero Rojas. Sunnyside: Jessica Valles. Wasco: Sayra Raya.
Corcoran: Casandra Gonzalez, Paulina Guerrero, Jasmine Guzman, Nadia Rojas, Ashley Salas, Jocelyn San Juan. Fresno: Gabriela Jimenez. Hanford: Skyler Martinez. Hanford West: Natalie Gonzalez, Erika Guzman, Myrka Madrigal, Yamilet Romo, Courtney Santos, Kiana Trujillo, Carissa Viehbeck. Highland: Haley Ulloa, Alex Coburn. Lindsay: Briana Amador, MaKaylie Caesar, Belen Ferreira, Jeanette Ramirez, Crystal Reyes, Bianca Valdez, Nancy Vasquez.
Avenal: Jeorgina Torres. Bishop: Christie Linnard. Central Valley Christian: Josh Dykstra, Garrin Schaap. Chowchilla: Paulina Granados. Granite Hills: Elizabeth Tovar. Kennedy: Evelyn Astorga, Esperanza Corrales, Cecilia Garcia, Victoria Lennon, Lissete Valdez, Crystal Vega. Memorial: Marianne Gleason. Washington: Caliska Avila.
Runner, school, time, event
1. Keerstin Augustin, Olympian-Chula Vista, 16:17.0, Olympian vs. Mater Dei
2. Rosanna Javier, Olympian-Chula Vista, 16:26.0, Olympian vs. Mater Dei
3. Maddy Denner, Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, 16:58.7, Clovis Invitational
4. Amalia Koch, Mater Dei Catholic-San Diego, 16:59.0, Olympian vs. Mater Dei
5. Corie Smith, Buchanan, 17:05.3, Clovis Invitational
6. Haley Herberg, Capistrano Valley-Mission Viejo, 17:16.5, Orange County Championships
7. Elena Denner, Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, 17:18.1, Clovis Invitational
8. Meagen Lowe, Buchanan, 17:18.3, CIF Central Section Finals
9. Lauren Peurifoy, Martin Luther King-Riverside, 17:20.1, Clovis Invitational
10. Sara Leonard, Canyon-Anaheim, 17:24.5, Orange County Championships
11. Gillian Wagner, Redwood-Larkspur, 17:28.2, Clovis Invitational
12. Tori Gaitan, Great Oak-Temecula, 17:29.7, Clovis Invitational
13. Hailey Watson, Olympian-Chula Vista, 17:31.0, Olympian vs. Mater Dei
14. Aliza Hartke, Oakmont-Roseville, 17:31.6, CVC Finals
15. Cassi Land, Sonora, 17:31.7, Pacific Tiger Invitational
16. Fatima Cortes, Great Oak-Temecula, 17:32.8, Clovis Invitational
17. Natalie Chavaria, Mater Dei Catholic-San Diego, 17:35.0, Olympian vs. Mater Dei
18. Sydney Hwang, Claremont, 17:35.9, Clovis Invitational
19. Kaela Dishion, Bret Harte, 17:36.1, Pacific Tiger Invitational
20. Kelli Hines, Mission Viejo, 17:41.0, Orange County Championships