CHS girls cross country top-ranked in nation
The Claremont High School girls cross country team has earned a number one national ranking from the High School Harrier, one of three news websites that rank competitive cross country.
The rank was awarded following the girls breakout victory in last week’s Stanford Invite.
The site announced its Girls Perfect 22 rankings on October 2 and had this to say about the decision to give the top spot to the Pack:
“Your new number-one is Claremont out of California. There will be some noise made about what have they proven, but they won Stanford with 39 points and a 17:58 5k average and have looked great in both their races. With most other teams in the top 10 looking vulnerable lately, giving Claremont the nod for now means they simply have done a great job so far and have looked consistent.”
Claremont is hardly resting on their laurels, however, because this weekend the varsity boys and girls teams will fly to New York to compete in the Manhattan College Cross Country Invitational. It’s a short 2.5-mile dash at Van Cortland Park that Claremont has a serious chance of winning.
“We are excited about this year because there are a handful of teams that could win a national championship,” said Assistant Coach Jose Ancona. “In the past years there were one or two clear favorites, so just the fact that we have a shot is exciting.”
Claremont got a huge boost in their quest to secure a berth in the CIF tournament and maybe even win a league title, after they triumphed over undefeated Alta Loma, 13-10, on Wednesday in Alta Loma.
“We were down the entire game, even starting the fourth quarter we were still down by two,” Coach Kristin Rodriguez said. “Honestly in the fourth quarter we had a couple of counter attacks that we didn’t finish, but it really seemed like it got to the other team. Our reaction time was good and the attention we paid to the ball was great.”
Coach Rodriguez was unsure how the Alta Loma win would affect the league rankings, but it clearly opened a door. The Pack lost to Glendora in the first round, but Glendora lost to Ayala in the second round. Claremont narrowly lost to Alta Loma, 10-11, back on September 20, but easily beat Ayala on October 4.
This all sets up another big game for Claremont as they traveled to take on the Tartans on Thursday, after COURIER press time. Be sure to look for updated scores and highlights on our website.
“I did not think we played particularly well in the first Glendora game, and now we will be at their pool. Generally, they have a pretty solid fan base which can be like the eighth player in the pool.”
With the win, the Pack is now 4-2 in Palomares League and 7-6 overall.
The Pack keeps on winning and with a little luck will have an undefeated Palomares League record and a league title following their last three league matches.
Last Thursday the girls defeated Alta Loma 13-5 in Alta Loma, and then followed up on Wednesday with a 17-1 win over Glendora.
Assuming Claremont can defeat Colony on Thursday and Bonita on Tuesday, the girls will have a rematch with Ayala in Chino Hills on Thursday, which will decide whether the Pack will have a solo league title or will have to share it with the Bulldogs.
“They [Ayala] are going to be ready for us for sure,” Coach Kathy Settles said.
The Pack’s three matches leading up to the one with the Bulldogs may be a lot but it could work in their favor, particularly the non-league match Wednesday against Walnut. “We need practice against players who hit hard,” Coach Settles said.
It was a heartbreaker for CHS last Friday, losing their second Palomares League game, 38-41, to Glendora High School at Citrus College. The Tartans had a comfortable 27-10 lead at the half. However, the Pack added an impressive 21 points in the third quarter, while Glendora only had seven but held the lead 34-31. Both teams added an additional touchdown in the fourth, giving the Tartans the narrow victory.
Claremont’s offensive stats actually look better than Glendora’s, with senior Cole Weaver gaining 17 completions from 25 attempts for 261 yards and four touchdowns. In comparison, Glendora junior Jacob Gonzalez had just nine completions for 117 yards and three touchdowns. Glendora running back Xzavier Ford should get much of the credit for the Tartan’s victory with 23 carries, 258 yards and three touchdowns.
CHS senior Elijah Bennett had 22 carries for 162 yards and one rushing touchdown. Bennett also had three receptions for 100 yards and two more touchdowns. Sophomore Alex Sotolongo had six receptions for 72 yards and one touchdown, while senior Bradan Pichay had four receptions for 65 yards and one touchdown.
Junior Josh Kennedy had 10 tackles, three solo and junior Brandon Fairman had seven tackles, two solo.
The boys, 0-2 in league 3-4 overall, have a league game against Colony on Friday in Ontario. Claremont’s homecoming game will be against Bonita on October 19.
Claremont won its last game of the Palomares League season, 3-2, over Ayala on Wednesday in Chino Hills. The win was not enough to lift the Pack out of fourth place so they will not automatically advance to the CIF tournament. The Pack will, however, be a candidate for a wild card berth that will be announced by CIF officials on Saturday. The girls end 2018 with a 5-5 league record, 8-7 overall.