By Leonard COUTIN
On Saturday, the 38th running of the Asics Clovis Invitational was held on the Woodward Park cross-country course outside the Fresno community of Clovis. It attracts some of the best teams and individual athletes in and out of the state and runners consider this meet of major importance as it marks middle season performances. It also allows runners to test themselves on the future site of the CIF state course, which is held in late November.
The Falcons arrived on Friday to rest and prepare for the early schedule of the Invitational. CV head Coach Mark Evans decided that his top runner Colin FitzGerald would run alone in the championship competition.
Evans shared how he and FitzGerald strategized for the race.
“We told Colin to stay in the group and cover any moves the first two miles and to make any move in the last mile,” Evans said. “That is pretty much what he did. He ran very well. This was a big PR for him.”
When the race got underway, FitzGerald, a junior, jumped out quickly to immediately put himself in front with the lead runners. As he came around on the first loop of the course, FitzGerald looked confident and was positioned right where they had planned. Returning on the second loop, FitzGerald’s pace was extremely faster than past times. Finishing strong the last leg of the race FitzGerald captured seventh place running a final time of 15.24. 50. FitzGerald peeled 15 seconds off his previous time on the course.
Falcons have made history at the Asics Clovis Invitational. It was on this course that CVHS graduate Zack Torres took the 16th fastest time – 15:10 – in 2008. Falcon female star runner Claire Collison logged the seventh fastest time – 17:33 – in 2007.
Great Oak won both the boys and girls races. Their lead runner Jacob Korgan placed ninth running a time of 15:32.1 and lead girl Beatty Kiyena placed eighth running a time of 17:55.8. It was a record day for Luis Grijalva of Armijo (Fairfield) who ran a time of 14:49.90 and Alexandra Beitia of Granite Bay (northern California) who ran 17:38.10.
Boys final top 10 team scores: Great Oak 57, Claremont 105, Dana Hills 117, Beaumont 220, Madera South 221, Jesuit 229, Ayala 234, California
(Whittier) 229, Yucaipa 277, Arcadia 296
The Arcadia girls scored third in the championship race of the day. Senior Holly Lung led her team placing 18th (18:10.30) with junior Jasmine He taking second position and placing 21st (18:12.00).
Girls final top 10 team scores: Great Oak 81, Davis 114, Arcadia 143, Claremont 149, Yucaipa 176, Buchanan 206, Dana Hills 265, San Ramon Valley 270, Monte Vista 278, St. Francis Sacramento 286.
The remaining Falcon varsity runners ran in the Division 1 varsity race. The boys placed seventh in their race. Sophomore Manav Vats ran the first position for his team placing 20th (16:03.20). Junior Zack Johnson placed 25th (16:13.10), junior Artin Allahverdian placed 38th (16:24.40), Spenser Geck took 64th (16:41.30) and senior Matt Brunner placed 73rd (16:45.30).
The Falcon girls were led by sophomore Melissa Owens who placed 97th running 20:33.00, freshman Artin Sophia took 101st, sophomore Gabriela Borraez took 107th (21:40.20), Jacqueline Bau placed 136th (21.12.00), Persiyana Petrova placed 142nd (21:19.90) and Sojeong Kang took 172nd (22:04.80). CV girls placed 26th out of 105 teams.
Evans was pleased with his varsity performances. “They ran well. All ran PRs,” he said. “We are getting better each week.”
Arcadia High School will be hosting the League No. 2 cross-country meet on its home course today, Thursday, Oct. 13, at Arcadia Park starting at 3:30 p.m.