Last weekend, the final two big cross country Invites for San Diego runners took place in Escondido, and Walnut, California. The Mt. SAC (for Mount San Antonio College) in Walnut is one of the world’s biggest cross country meets with entries from high schools, middle schools, and Junior Colleges. The local meet was the Jaguar Invite held at Kit Carson Park in Escondido, with nearly 60 schools in attendance. Most stronger teams tend to go to Mt. SAC for the competition. This year, we considered it but opted for the local meet on Friday because we wouldn’t have qualified for the sweepstakes races at the end of the day.
The Jaguar Invite ran two sections: the teal division earlier in the day and the black division later in the afternoon. The divisions were not split by team strength but by availability on a first-come-first-serve basis. We ran in the black division when it was a bit cooler. The courses at Kit Carson are challenging, and it was hot. Our girls’ team continued to do well and placed third in our division. The combined results from both divisions placed them sixth overall behind larger schools.
The significant thing, though, was we were the top Division-4 team in front of two teams vying for a spot at the state meet in November, Valley Center and Imperial. The other two schools in the hunt for a state berth, La Jolla and Classical Academy, ran at Mt. SAC. This week’s coaches’ poll lists us as third behind those two schools in that order.
Our top finisher in the girls’ 2.75-mile varsity race was sophomore Morgan Maske, who finished 10th with 19:06. Overall, Maske placed 15th out of nearly 400 runners from all the girls’ races. Our next finisher was Carly DeVore, with a time of 19:59, followed by Gwynne Letcher (20:00), Jaya Jost (20:55), and Maesan Everitt (21:10) to finish the scoring. Our pusher (6th finisher) was Natalia Amkie (21:54).
We only entered three boys in the 3.05-mile varsity race. Nathan Ayan was our top finisher with 19:01, followed by Jack Letcher (19:52), and Jack Shumaker. In the boys’ combined teal/black freshmen race, Xavier Marsh placed 29th out of 147 finishers in 20:40, followed by Tyler Horton with 21:50. In the boys’ JV race, there were two under 23 minutes, with Oscar Alicandri clocking 22:20 and Anton Youngblood at 22:25.