All CIF Southern Section cross-country runners know the path to Fresno's Woodward Park, site of the CIF State Championships, goes through the rigorous course at Mt. San Antonio College.
Before even approaching the Central Valley, the local runners must do their best to conquer "Pool-Out Hill," at Mt. SAC to get that shot at Woodward Park.
Corona del Mar High, Costa Mesa, Newport Harbor and Sage Hill School runners will make that attempt Saturday at the CIF Southern Section preliminaries, trying to move on to the finals again at Mt. SAC and then hopefully on to Fresno.
CdM's boys' and girls' teams will be competing in Division 3 Saturday.
The CdM boys finished second in the Pacific Coast League finals, behind champion Woodbridge, Nov. 8 at Irvine Park in Orange.
The Sea Kings scored 59 to the Warriors' 33.
Senior Spencer Keith led CdM with a second-place finish in 15 minutes, 8 seconds. He came in behind Woodbridge's Jackson Marshall, who finished in 14:29.
Senior Ethan Hold (10th in 15:56), freshman Leif Hellgren (13th in 15:57) sophomore Matt Paragas (15th in 16:00), sophomore Thomas Robertson (19th in 16:07) and senior Alex Wilde (20th in 16:09) finished in the top 20 to help with CdM's second-place finish. That has given the Sea Kings confidence that they can advance.
The CdM girls finished third at the PCL finals with 55 points. Northwood (35) won and Woodbridge (40) was second.
Freshman Raquel Powers led the Sea Kings, finishing fifth in 17:43.
Junior Kirsten Hansen (10th in 18:17), junior Elin Wolker (11th in 18:17), sophomore Jacqueline Choe (13th in 18:19), sophomore Lilly Schmidt (16th in 18:23), senior Ellen Naruse (19th in 18:37) and senior Emily Glenn (20th in 18:48) also finished in the top 20 for CdM.
Newport Harbor's girls will be competing in Division 2. The Sailors, led by Emily Bacon, finished second in the Sunset League finals.
Costa Mesa High also has two teams competing in Division 4.
The Costa Mesa boys, led by senior Brett Bermudez, finished second in the Orange Coast League finals.
The CMHS girls, led by Emily Olvera, finished third in the OCL finals.
Sage Hill also has two teams competing at Mt. SAC in Division 5.
The Sage Hill girls, led by Brittany Andressoo, finished third in the Academy League finals.
The Lightning boys, led by Patrick Hynes, finished fourth in the Academy League finals.
8:46 a.m. – Corona del Mar boys in Division 3 heat
10:16 a.m. – Costa Mesa girls in Division 4 heat
10:41 a.m. – CdM girls in Division 3 heat
11:24 a.m. – Costa Mesa boys in Division 4 heat
1:37 p.m. – Newport Harbor girls in Division 2 heat
2:18 p.m. – Sage Hill boys in Division 5 heat
3:28 p.m. – Sage Hill girls in Division 5 heat