The Mt. SAC Invitational is a peek at CIF. Remember that the Mt. SAC course is the site of the two CIF Southern Section contests (Prelims and Finals). And, this Invitational attracts most of the teams that will be in the race for the championship. Remember, our D4 division became significantly more challenging this year after the powers that be increased the enrollment upper limit to 1500 students -- which dropped several perennial powerhouses from D3 to D4. The top 16 teams in CIF prelims progress to CIF finals. Because some coaches place Frosh and Soph runners normally competing in Varsity in their respective class-group races at SAC, the results may not line up perfectly - but are a good indication. We will take a look at the teams at the varsity levels, starting out with the men.
Men - There are 91 teams competing in three Men’s D4 Varsity races at the Invitational this Friday. Three key schools on PrepCalTrack’s Top 13 Men’s SS-D4 teams list will not be at Mt. SAC, with #4 Laguna Beach, #5 Covina, and #9 Santa Ynez choosing not to participate. Seven of the Top 13 teams are in the Sweepstakes race. San Marino is in a non-sweeps race along with 35 other teams and has #11 Orange Lutheran from the Top 13 in its race, as well as league rival La Canada. Strangely, it looks like South Pas has chosen to pass on Mt. SAC this year -- maybe Clovis took its place. The core Varsity squad is entered in the race, so it should be a good guide as to how our guys match up in CIF. Last year at SAC Invitational the Titans ran a team time of 1:24:22 with a 48 second spread, then came back on the same course in CIF Prelims and clocked a team time of 1:24:29 with a 41 second spread between the top 5 to reach CIF Finals. PRs will need to be had in abundance for this year’s squad to match last year’s team performance. The winning margin the Titans achieved at League 1 has been narrowed by La Canada at both Staub and League 2, so this will be another interesting test against the Spartans as well.
Girls - Like the guys, there are three Girl’s D4 races and a total of 90 teams will be competing. Twelve of PrepCalTrack’s Top 13 Girl’s SS-D4 list will be participating at Mt. SAC this Friday -- the only exception being #7 Covina. Six of the Top 13 are in the Sweepstakes (La Canada, not part of the Top 13, has chosen to try its luck in the Sweeps as well). The Lady Titans are in one of the non-sweeps races, along with 34 other teams including two teams from the Top 13 - #3 Laguna Beach and #13 Oaks Christian. The Girls are still rebuilding, so expectations on the team score are modest. But, there is still room for some personal bests. Based on the entries, Sana is expected to replace Alejandra from the League 2 Varsity lineup (with Alejandra racing against her fellow Sophs). Looking ahead, last year at CIF Prelims the Lady Titans had a team time of 1:40:48 with a 2:17 spread among the top 5 to make it to CIF Finals. We’ll see how far they need to climb in the next 4 weeks in order to repeat their trip to Finals this year.