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CHS cross country preps for Southern Section finals

Claremont High School cross country got the job done during the Division 2 Southern Section Prelims last Saturday, saving their big effort for the finals this weekend at Riverside.

Claremont boys won their heat with a score of 95 and team time of 1:17:02, which was just a tad slower than Loyola, who won the first heat with a team time of 1:16:21. Ryan Renken and Owen Bishop crossed the finish line shoulder to shoulder at 15:07 for a sixth and seventh place finish.

The girls came in second in their heat with a team time of 1:31:17, and with a score of 76 narrowly edged out San Marcos at 73. Of the three heats in Division 2, Claremont was the fourth fastest behind Saugus Capistrano Valley and San Marcos. Annie Boos was the top finisher for Claremont at 17:33, earning her fourth place.

But if these times seem underwhelming, it was really all part of Coach Bill Reeves’ strategy, which included cautioning his runners not to peak too early.

“We are looking to win CIF with top two on the podium,” Coach Reeves said following practice on Monday. During the Prelims the plan was to place high enough to qualify and that is precisely what everyone did.

“We did what we had to do to qualify next week will look to get a PR [personal record],” said Boos.

Both the prelims and the finals will be run on the Riverside Cross Country Course, which is on a former golf course north of downtown Riverside. The course is flat, but the surface is uneven, so the runners said caution was in order. Bishop and Renken said they planned to position themselves toward the front and keep an eye out for the rough spots.

Additionally, Coach Reeves chose to rest a few runners so that they will have their best day at the finals. His team is running fewer miles this week and is resting up.

“We had a great year, both teams are ranked number one but rankings are meaningless when the gun goes off on Saturday,” Coach Reeves said.

The boys race starts things off at 9:45, followed by the girls at 10:45. Even if Claremont does not get a win, the top seven will qualify for the state meet in Fresno next month.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com