This year, the Brooks Mt. SAC XC Invitational is looking to be as big and as fast as ever with 60 races, hundreds of teams and thousands of athletes. Some of the top teams and individuals from California and nationally will look to throw down on Saturday morning in the D1 and D2 individual and team sweepstakes races.
Boys D1/D2 Individual Sweepstakes
When: 8:50 AM Saturday
Flo50 Individuals: Liam Anderson Flo50 No. 20
Challengers: Kevin Ramos, Xavier Court, Marcus Mota, Robert Miranda
Watch the 2016 Mt. SAC XC Boys D1/D2 Individual Sweepstakes race.
The main guy we're going to be watching here is Liam Anderson from Redwood High School. Anderson is ranked No. 20 in the Flo50 national rankings. He earned that spot after a big race at the Clovis Invitational, where he placed second behind El Camino Real's Justin Hazell. That race was only Anderson's second race of the year and his only loss. Look for him to be relatively fresh and ready to throw down come Saturday. Anderson won't have to worry about Hazell in this race, as he will more than likely be running with his team in the D1-D2 teams sweepstakes.
But just because Hazell isn't in the race it doesn't mean it will be an easy win for Anderson. He will need to be on the lookout for some of California's top talents, including Kevin Ramos and Xavier Court. Ramos was the 10th-place finisher in last year's D3 state championships. He also went on to finish 28th at last year's Foot Locker West Regional. This year he's already won four meets including the Laguna Hills Invitational (14:50.00) and most recently the Brea Invitational (15:16.70). His biggest race of the season was at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, where he finished third behind Hazell and Elias Opsahl of Redlands East Valley High.
Xavier Court of Costa Mira also cannot be counted out as he finished second in the boys-rated race at the Woodbridge Cross Country Festival earlier this season, running 14:25.90, which was also the ninth-fastest time of the meet. He was also seventh earlier this season at the Desert Twilight XC Festival, where he ran 15:10.20 for 5K.
Two other guys to watch are Marcus Mota from Stockdale High School and Robert Miranda of Menlo School. Mota has the third-fastest 3-mile run this year out of this field of guys with his 14:29.70 from the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, while Miranda has the second-fastest 3-mile time in the field with his 15:09.0 from the Pacific Tiger Invitational.
Girls D1/D2 Individual Sweepstakes
When: 9:10 AM Saturday
Flo50 Individuals: Claudia Lane Flo50 No. 2
Challengers: Akemi Von Scherr, Chloe Arriaga, Ashley Messineo, Caitlin Cornell, Lauren Peurifoy, Gillian Wagner
Claudia Lane after winning Mt. SAC in 16:32; she would go on to become the 2016 Foot Locker champion.
One name the entire country should be watching at this meet is Claudia Lane from Malibu High School. She's last year's Foot Locker National Champion. This will be Lane's first major race of the 2017 season and she's looking to go all-out. She's already had two wins at smaller races this season, one at the Lake Casitas Twilight Invitational (16:32.00 - 5K) and the other at TCAA Cluster (16:20.81- 5K). According to her coach, Lane was holding off on big meets or racing too early as she's looking to perform well again at the end of the season and go later into the year with more international races.
According to her coach, this race is one where she's looking to run fast. He said Lane will be shooting to run in the low 16s after last year's 16:32 performance.
Running in the low 16s would put the course record of 16:00.00 in jeopardy. The record is currently held by 2014 Simi Vally High graduate Sarah Baxter, who now runs for the University of Oregon. She set that record back in 2012. We could see Lane break the record and run sub 16 minutes if conditions are right.
A time under 16 minutes would be a big response to what Flo50 No. 1 Katelyn Tuohy of North Rockland was able to do last weekend at Manhattan when she smashed Corning (NY) graduate Jess Lawson's course record of 13:53 by running 13:21.
Other girls who will look to be in the mix for the title are Akemi Von Scherr of La Quinta High, and Chloe Arriaga of Walnut High. Von Scherr has the fourth-fastest 3-mile and fifth-fastest 5K time in the race; she was only 25th in the Wood Bridge Cross Country Classic girls sweepstakes race, but she's finished first or second in almost every race since. Last year she was 12th at the D1 girls CIF state cross country championships and 10th in the D1-D2 Individual Sweepstakes at Mt. SAC as a freshman. Arriaga was one of only a handful of underclassmen to finish in front of Von Scherr at last year's Mt. SAC Relays. Look for both to be near the top again in 2017.
We also can't count out Ashley Messineo, Caitlin Cornell, Lauren Peurifoy, and Gillian Wagner, as they have all run solid 5K and 3-mile times already this year.
Boys D1/D2 Team Sweepstakes
When: 9:35 AM Saturday
Flo50 Team: Flo 50 No. 2 Great Oak, Crescenta Valley Flo50 Bubble Team
Individuals: Flo50 No. 9 Justin Hazell, Carlos Carvajal, William Frankenfeld, Colin Fitzgerald, Jacob Korgan
Challengers: El Toro High School, Long Beach Poly, Arcadia, Loyola High School, West Ranch
Great Oak head coach Doug Soles talks after his girls and boys teams swept the 2016 Brooks Mt. SAC D1/D2 Team Sweepstakes races.
In the team sweepstakes race, the Great Oak boys are the heavy favorites to win the title. This year they should be looking to not only win it but do something special as well and clock a total team time under 76 minutes. Only one other team has done this and it was the Arcadia boys in 2010. Not to mention Great Oak has won the D1/D2 team sweepstakes three of the past four years.
Great Oak by the Year:
Some schools that could give them a challenge are Crescenta Valley, El Toro High School, Long Beach Poly, Arcadia, Loyola High School, and West Ranch. Crescenta Valley had a solid race at the Clovis Invitational finishing fifth overall in the loaded pre-state meet field. Based on our team scores and virtual meet, Long Beach Poly, El Toro High School and Arcadia High School could also be in the mix for a podium finish.
On the individual side of things, Justin Hazell will be looking to not only be the low stick on his team but also chase after his third major race victory. The El Camino Real senior has been having an absolutely stellar season, winning both the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic and the Clovis Invitational sweepstakes races. He's ranked Flo50 No. 9 after his most recent victory at the Clovis Invitational.
The boys individual course record is currently held by 2016 Brea Olinda High's Austin Tamagno, who ran 14:23.20 in 2014. Based on what Hazell ran at Woodbridge compared to what Tamagno ran at Woodbridge the same year he broke the Mt. SAC course record, Hazell has already run faster. Keep in mind circumstances, race tactics, and conditions can all play into the time, but regardless it looks like Hazell could have a shot at the record.
He will not be alone as the Great Oak duo of Carlos Carvajal and Jacob Korgan should be in the mix pushing the pace to not only chase the record but also those low spots to help their squad. Also, watch out for William Frankenfeld and Colin Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was third at the Clovis Invitational and Frankenfeld was eighth at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic.
Girls D1/D2 Team Sweepstakes
When: 9:55 AM Saturday
Flo50 Teams: Flo50 No. 3 Great Oak, Flo50 No. 8 Claremont High
Individuals: Haley Herberg, Tori Gaitan, and Paige Haynes
Challengers: Mira Costa High School, Serrano High School, Vista Murrieta, Saugus High
Watch the 2016 Mt. SAC XC Girls D1/D2 Team Sweepstakes race.
Watch out for Great Oak again in this one as they are coming in hot off the win at the Clovis Invitational, where they unleashed their secret weapons of Arianna Griffiths and Devin Ito. Both girls are sophomores who helped to bring down Great Oak's average time and close the one-to-five gap. They helped propel their team to the win at the Clovis Invitational over Buchanan High School, who beat them only a few weeks prior a the Wood Bridge Cross country Classic. Both Griffiths and Ito will look to help their team to victory in the same fashion at Mt. SAC.
Great Oak by the Year:
This time Great Oak will not need to be worried about the ladies from Buchanan High School, as they're not running, but they will have to watch out for the just as talented ladies from Claremont High. Claremont took second at the Clovis Invitational over Buchanan, who took third. Claremont is ranked Flo50 No. 8 and will look to improve upon that if the can takedown or close the gap between them and Great Oak.
In the individual battle watch out for Capistrano Valley High's Haley Herberg, Great Oak's Tori Gaitan, and Vista Murrieta's Paige Haynes. Herberg was third at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic and has the fastest 3-mile time in the field so far this year with her 16:00.60 from Woodbridge. She also has the fastest 5K time in the field with her 17:18.70 fourth-place finish at the Clovis Invitational.