SCHEDULING UPDATE (3:30 p.m., Wed., Nov. 14)
Due to poor air quality in NorCal and the Central Valley, the start times for this Saturday’s (Nov. 17) CCCAA Cross Country State Championships have been altered to 8:30 a.m. for the women and 9:30 a.m. for the men. The event is still scheduled to take place at Woodward Park in Fresno.
By Woody Wilk
Fresno City College Athletics
FRESNO - It is one thing to win consecutive California Community College Athletic Association Cross Country Championships, but another for both teams from the same school to do it in parallel years. Maybe that is what’s on tap for Mt. San Antonio College’s defending state champions this coming Saturday, November 17 at Woodward Park in Fresno. The women’s 42nd race (3.1 miles) is scheduled for 10 a.m.; the men’s 55th race (4 miles) will follow at 11 a.m.
The only previous “double-double” was achieved by Orange Coast College’s 2003 and 2004 teams. The feat occurred in the middle of OCC women’s record run of six consecutive CCCAA championships from 2001-2006.
In 2017, Mt. SAC provided new extra drama as the Mounties won both team titles in two of the closest CCCAA cross country finals in history. The women nipped Cuyamaca 93-95 and the men shaded Riverside 60-65.
Until the surprising LA Harbor women won the Southern California Championships at Cerritos on Nov. 2, Mt SAC, Glendale, Moorpark and Saddleback had been leading the way this season. LAH won by a large margin, 53-110 over the Mounties with perennial power Glendale third at 122.
Mt. SAC’s men have dominated the state all season and kept stride by winning the SoCal title 59-97 over El Camino with San Diego Mesa third at 109. The Mounties are in strong position to win it all for a second consecutive year.
Meanwhile, up in the Northern California Championships at Shasta College in Redding on Nov. 2, the Hartnell women were near-perfect in winning the title over Santa Rosa, 19-99. Like the South, it was a close battle for runner-up as Sierra was just steps behind SRJC at 101.
It is well-documented that the American River men have a super NorCal and state championship history and 2018 is no different. The Beavers won handily in Redding over Hartnell, 55-99 with College of the Sequoias at 102. Like the women’s race, the runner-up spot was hotly contested.
In the North, Hartnell’s women and the ARC men have dominated all season. However, this year appears to be a huge one for SoCal teams. “Mt. SAC (is in line) to repeat in the men’s race. For the women, LA Harbor is looking pretty good and could make it a race. Potentially, Harbor and Mt. SAC are the two best teams in the state,” said Gary Bluth, meet director and Fresno City College cross country coach.
In spite of distant wild fires, air quality in Fresno is well below high readings which, if reached, could require a change of venue. The forecast for Saturday Nov. 17 is hazy sunshine with race time temperatures in the 60s. Early morning Fresno temps have been in the mid 30s.
It hasn't rained in Fresno since March 22. The good news is, thanks to several generous donations in upgrading marking of the Woodward Park course and minimizing dust, the venue should be fast and clean.