Results: Mt. SAC XC Invitational

Posted on October 24, 2010 - Filed Under Bay League, California State Championship, CIF, Cross Country, Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational, New items, Redondo Beach, Redondo Union, Sea Hawk cross country, Sea Hawks | Leave a Comment

The Redondo Union results & stats for the Mt. SAC XC Invitational, held Saturday October 23rd, are now posted in the Meet Results section of the Booster Club website at http://runruhs.com/. Or, to go straight to the results sheet, click here http://tinyurl.com/MtSACXC.

The Timing Team would like to express our appreciation for all those that have been assisting in the Results & Stats project. This week Cameron’s dad Brian Lindquist and Daniel Nunes mom Shirley Otsubo, helped with taking times and making up the lists of runners as they went by the mile and 2-mile marks. The support we received from the XC runners themselves, helping us identify their teammates so we could match them up with the times was crucial to making this work. Thanks for pitching in where you could Anique, Danielle, Bennie, Allie, Erin, Mitchell, Cailin, Cameron, and all the rest. I know I left a few people out, but just know that without you, we couldn’t put these times and splits together.

You can read a very similar version of the meet summary in the story posted on Redondo Beach Patch here http://patch.com/A-QGJ. It includes a number of pictures not on the runruhs.com site just yet, as well as many great shots by Laurie Baker.

Many more pictures from the meet can be found on the Booster Club website in the Meet Photos section by clicking here http://runruhs.com/meet-photos/ and following the links to the pictures for Mt. SAC.

For the full official results posted on the Mt. SAC website, click here http://events.mtsac.edu/ccinvite/results.htm, then scroll down and click on the race number to show that race’s results.

Meet Summary

Saturday at the 62nd Annual Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational, the freshman boys team dominated their race with a combination of high-placing stars Will Tait and Dustin Herold, backed up by the solid support of their next three runners. Placing first was all the more impressive as their 87:02 top-five team-time was the second fastest on the All-Time List for CIF Division 2 Freshmen on this course.

Then barely an hour later, the sophomore boys won their race in an entirely different way, when Joe Levine placed 16th and led his teammates to victory as the next four streamed through the finish in 13 seconds.

The freshman boys race separated out in the first 600 meters with the Vargas brothers of Huntington Beach getting out to a fast start around the fairly flat two-lap circuit called the Valley Loop. Redondo’s top two, Tait and Herold, fell into a chase pack of their own after the first lap, and finished the second coming through the mile mark in 5:11. Near the front of the large secondary chase pack, brothers Tomohiro and Takehiro Yamaya were only five seconds back, with Robert Meadows right behind, mid-pack. As the field of 188 runners flowed through the mile mark, the next group of 4 Sea Hawks came through in 5:35 to 5:39.

After a virtually flat first mile, this course makes a radical change, sending the runners up a hillside in a series of steep hairpin turns called the Switchbacks. The turns are followed by a long moderate incline to the summit. The trail up this hill would be the most dreaded feature on almost any other XC course. But here, at this storied invitational meet, now in it’s 62nd year, it’s only a painful preview of what’s in store.

The top of the Switchbacks finds Tait and Harold a little closer to the Vargas brothers. They have also separated further from the pack behind them. In an encouraging sign of things to come, the boys now hold five of the top 15 spots. When the runners crest the peak, they begin to pick up speed as the downhill slope stretches out over the next half mile. The Vargas brothers are still in front, Tait and Harold still side-by-side, and the Yamaya brothers are separating a bit from each other, and from Meadows.

The downhill continues through sections called the National Guard Corridor and the Crossover, then there’s an abrupt change again to steep uphill. Nearing the two-mile mark, the runners now are faced with the steepest hill on the course, perhaps the steepest hill featured by any XC invitational, anywhere. Aptly named Poop Out Hill, it starts out very steep, eases up a little in the middle to merely steep, then becomes very steep the rest of the way to its peek. For all but the most elite, this is not a hill to push, it’s a place to work to maintain your position and hope that your competitors fold.

As our Redondo freshmen hit the two-mile mark, Tait is in third, with Harold 5 seconds back, Tomohiro another 10 seconds back and 12 seconds ahead of brother Takehiro. Meadows is now trailing by another 8 seconds, but still solidly the team’s fifth man, as Paul Bodin and Ahmad Kabbani, though still in the top 30, are 18 seconds behind him.

After a short downhill section coming off Poop Out Hill, the course ducks out of sight behind the final hill for a quarter mile of mostly flat dirt road. It then makes a U-turn to the right and proceeds up Reservoir Hill. Technically, it’s about 350 meters of uphill in two sections separated by a short, almost flat tease of a segment. But face it; at this point in a race it’s just one long lung-busting hill. And our boys are charging up it.

From off in the distance, race observers see the tiny figures silently moving up the ridgeline. Vargas brothers, one, two. Tait, three. Four. Five, Harold, six, seven, that’s Tomohiro in 8th, Takehiro in 12th, Meadows in 17th. Looks like it’s going to be a win for the Sea Hawks, if they can just hold onto those positions.

The downhill side of Reservoir Hill starts off steep, curving down toward the Airstrip where the race began, tempting exhausted runners with the false relief of a half mile of almost all downhill to the finish line. But no one slacks off; no one pulls back on their effort. It’s now a mad dash as runners open up their strides, trying to take advantage of the slope and the pull of gravity, with the fear of being passed and the prospect of passing others fueling their efforts.

Whatever momentum they’ve gained is quickly tapped as they come off the dirt and road turn the corner onto a grass strip that runs alongside the incline of the asphalt Airstrip. Tait appears to have a comfortable lead over teammate Harold, who is back in 4th place. By the time he reaches the top, all five of Redondo’s scoring runners are on the grass. The field is mostly spread out, but anything can still happen.

The final stretch on this course is called the Gauntlet. It’s comprised of 150 meters of flat dirt road that runs along a wood-post fence that acts as a barrier holding back hundreds of fans that line the pathway yelling encouragement to their teams, screaming and ringing cow bells and such. This is where you kick, if you have anything left to kick with. And as if there weren’t enough hills on this course already, there’s one more waiting down at the end of the Gauntlet that leads up to the finish line.

Tait makes the turn onto the Gauntlet. The Varges’ are almost at the finish line. Harold makes the turn and seems to be gaining on Tait. Tomohiro is some 35 seconds back. Tait takes 3rd in 16:52 with Harold in 4th with 16:58. Tomohiro finishes 9th, securing his position against two others that came in barley behind him, all having the same time of 17:28. Takehiro takes 16th in 17:44 and Meadows takes 19th in 18 minutes flat. The spread from Tait to Meadows is an impressive 1:08.

Redondo’s low score of 49 points bested Canyon of Anaheim’s 91 points in 2nd, and Thousand Oaks’ 95 points in 3rd.

The sophomore boys race developed quite differently. From the start, the Redondo runners were swallowed up during the opening sprint down the Airstrip incline the races start on. Even after the Valley Loop the first Sea Hawks came through the mile mark in the mid-5:20s, well behind the lead and chase packs, and still buried in the crowded field of 171.

But things were looking up for our boys as they came off a successful run up the Switchbacks, improving their position as the field stretched out. Like they have done in races all season, they grouped together into a series of packs that made it easier to run faster and not be left behind. These runners know each other’s abilities well, and when one runs faster, they all have the confidence to match his pace. The first Redondo pack had seven runners, there were two more of three each, with only a few Sea Hawks running solo in between.

After another improvement in position going up Poop Out Hill, the now six-man lead Redondo pack had only stretched out to 3 seconds, lead by RJ Mushaney. Number seven-runner Kevin White, was only six seconds off the pace.

Coming out from behind Reservoir Hill the pack was less bunched up as Mushaney worked his way up the hill, followed by Sergey Ganous, Art Fontana, Andrew Hazeltine, and Joe Levine. David Alexander was now trailing back. They all ran the downhill at breakneck speed passing others and advancing their team position even further.

Something definitely had happened along that third mile. As they powered up the grass incline along the Airstrip and rounded the turn into the Gauntlet, they were all pretty close together and even though five other teams had two runners each ahead of them, no team had their third man ahead of their pack.

Unfortunately they weren’t alone. Their competitors were all around them, and it was going to be a mass finish. The pressure was on to sprint all-out and not let up all the way down the Gauntlet and up the short final hill to the finish line. Levine took 16th in 17:57 ahead of two runners that had moved between him and 19th place finisher Ganous who clocked 17:59. Likewise, another team’s runner was between Ganous and Mushaney’s 21st place at 18:01. Then six more runners came through in a four second spread, followed by Fontana taking 28th in 18:09, with final scoring-man Hazeltine in 29th at 18:10, for a 13 second 1st to 5th man spread that included 14 runners. Sixth-man Alexander was only two more second back, making it a 15 second 6-man spread. Now that’s good grouping!

And good grouping is what won it for these boys. No race leaders in this bunch, just six tough runners that could each be 3rd man or better on any other team in the race. Their low score of 94 points put them ahead of teams from well-respected XC programs at Westlake, who took 2nd with 113 points, and Saugus who took 3rd with 127.

In other races:

  • The varsity boys placed 13th in their race.
  • The JV girls stepped up and ran in a varsity race, and were able to manage 16th.
  • The freshman girls took 3rd with 83 points close behind Canyon of Canyon Country’s 71 point 2nd place, with 1st going to Canyon of Anaheim with 58.
  • The JV boys and the sophomore girls ran with less than the required 5-person team minimum, and were not able to get scores.

This meet summary appeared as an article in Redondo Beach Patch on 10/24/10, and can be accessed through this link, http://patch.com/A-QGJ. For more articles on the Redondo XC team and local news and events visit Redondo Beach Patch at http://redondobeach.patch.com/.

Next Up

Bay League #3, aka the Bay League Final’s, will be held on November 4th on the Palos Verdes XC course at the Lunada Bay Little League Fields on Palos Verdes Drive West. Look for the meet announcement and the meet preview article coming out a few days before on Redondo Beach Patch http://redondobeach.patch.com/. Hope to see you all there.

Wear red. Be loud. Go Sea Hawks!

~ Doug Boswell ~ XC Info Director ~ dougboswell@verizon.net

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