On Saturday, we went down to Irvine, CA to race in the Woodbridge Cross Country Invitational. According to Coach Varvas at Woodbridge HS, this is the largest 1-day xc invite in the nation. We left LL at 7:00am in a 3 car caravan. We took the top 7 boys and girls plus one alternate each. We arrived in Irvine at around 3:00pm and checked into the hotel. At 4:00 we headed over to Woodbridge High School for the race. The girls ran at 7:00pm and the boys ran at 9:00pm. We set up our camp on the lower baseball field.
After checking out the course and getting our numbers, we returned to our camp to relax. It was pretty awesome to see the two teams that pulled up next to us while we were gone. One one side of us was Saugus. On the other was Arcadia. Pretty cool stuff.
The race itself was insane. The girls ran at dusk at 7:00pm just as the lights were starting to take effect. Most of the girls ran very well. The best thing was to hear how much fun they had in the race. The atmosphere of Woodbridge is totally electric. The girls had huge smiles on their faces after racing. That was really great to see.
The boys ran in the Varsity boys "Rated Race" at 9:00pm. This is the 2nd fastest race of the entire day. I must admit that the quality of the field we raced against was as good or maybe even a bit better than we see in the DIII State meet race. Every boy ran amazingly well, even our number 7 that day (Michael Gemar, he is usually number 1, 2 or 3, but he was very sick. He gutted it out). Our number 5 on Saturday was sophomore Ryan Kinney, who stepped up huge when we needed it, despite being knocked over in the middle of the race (he got up and ran afterwards, PRing huge). The boys finished well in the race, and 45th out of around 200 varsity teams on the day (if Gemar isn't sick we would have been around 25th). The rated race and sweepstakes races are crazy. It's like a swarm of bees running together the whole race. Nobody is strung out the whole way! The course is flat as a pancake- it makes Hayward look like Mt. Everest.
On Sunday we went to Disneyland during the day before caravanning home at 3:00pm. We arrived back in Walnut Creek at 9:30pm. Whirlwind weekend but well worth it.
I believe that we were the only NCS school who went down. I saw Coach Ibarra from North Monterey Country for a second (CCS) and we also lined up next to Del Campo (SJS) on the starting line. Enterprise had a couple runners there as well (Northern Section). I think that is about it as far as NorCal schools go (there could have been a few more but that's all I know of).
Over the winter at the NorCal Coaches clinic, one thing that we talked a lot about was competing with the SS teams on the State level. I'm so glad that my guys and girls got a chance to compete against the best of the best down there. All of you coaches who take your teams to a meet down there are to be commended- Mt. Sac, etc. It's just great exposure. I think my team knows now that it not only can compete against the schools in DIII from down South, but we also have a chance to stand alongside them as one of the best teams in the state.
What a blast! Thanks to Coach Varvas from Woodbridge High School for hosting a fantastic meet. Good luck to all NorCal teams this year!