The first ever Stanford Invitational was held in 1974 on a Thursday (October 3rd). The course was 2.8 miles long (hand written map below) and was also held on the Stanford golf course thanks to meet director, Menlo Atherton coach, Plato Yanicks. You can check out the results from that meet at this LINK thanks to Central Coast Section historian, Hank Lawson. When I competed in the meet in the mid 80s, the meet was held on a Monday and the course back then included a hill that was fairly challenging. German Fernandez established the course record on a different course in 2007 at 14:42 during his incredible senior season. He was the only runner to break 15 minutes that year. The first year for the current course configuration was the following year in 2008. Ammar Moussa of Arcadia (SS) established the new record of 14:37 in 2010 and that record was broken last year by another Arcadia runner, Phillip Rocha (winning time of 14:32.5). Before 2008, Marie Lawrence of Reno held the course record with her 17:06 in 2006. Once the new course was established, Carrie Verdon of Campolindo (NCS) became the first girl to break 17 minutes by running 16:58.8 in 2011. The following year, Amy-Eloise Neale of Glacier Peak lowered the course record to 16:51.4. Fiona O'Keeffe Davis (SJS) and now current Stanford Cardinal runner, ran 16:39.8 in 2014 and an even faster 16:32.1 last season.
For this Saturday, the races will take place in the following order and you can see the time schedule below. It looks like with the Clovis Invitational taking place the following weekend, many of the top teams from the southern part of the state will save on their travel budget by staying closer to home. The weather will however cooperate with a projected temperature under 70 degrees for most of the day.
The 2015 Stanford Invitational Division IV individual boys' winner, Callum Bolger of San Luis Obispo (SS) is back this year but he will be racing in the loaded seeded race. The fastest returner from last year's race will be Trent Robinett of Oaks Christian (SS) who finished in 7th place with a time of 15:45.2, just ahead of Kellen O'Neill of Arcata (NCS) in 10th place (15:53.7). Robert Miranda of Menlo finished in 12th place last year with a time of 15:58.0 and will be making his season debut here. Miranda was voted as the NorCal sophomore runner of the year at the end of the 2015 season. Team wise, San Luis Obispo is very highly ranked in the Southern Section but without their ace lead runner, that would leave Oaks Christian and Laguna Beach as the top teams from down south. San Lorenzo Valley (CCS) is a young upcoming team that will be looking to make a major statement at this meet under first year coach, Jay Avenmarg.
On the girls' side, Niki Iyer of Harker (CCS) will compete in her natural division and will try to run away from the field early. West Bay Athletic League (WBAL) competitor Natalie Novitsky of Sacred Heart Prep (CCS) finished an impressive 4th at the De La Salle/Carondelet Invitational and will be one of the runners chasing Iyer. Santa Cruz (CCS) junior Mari Friedman, finished just in front of Iyer at the California state meet and will be a big factor here considering her closing abilities as an 800 meter specialist on the track. The team favorite based on their performance at the Woodbridge Classic will be Coronado (SDS). They are led by sophomore Teresa Perez and senior Jasmine Rippey. They will be challenged by Mayfield (SS) which has been one of the top Division IV teams in the state and has made the trip to Palo Alto a successful one over the past few years. From the north, Santa Cruz, San Lorenzo Valley (CCS), Scotts Valley (CCS) and Piedmont (NCS) will all battle for a top 5 finish along with upstart Menlo (CCS).
This is always a most interesting division as the top teams in this division typically run in the seeded race. Their 2nd group of seven runners will typically race here and it's not unusual for a school like Bellarmine to win the Division I Stanford Invitational team title with their JV runners like they did last year. Bellarmine will only be taking part in the seeded race this year which means teams like Arcadia (SS) and Jesuit (SJS) will be out to show off their depth outside of their top 7. Woodcreek (SJS) is the highest returning school from last year when they finished in 5th place. If you are looking for the most traveled team in the United States, that may be McQueen HS from Nevada. They frequently travel into California and are not afraid to go toe to toe with the best in our state.
The clear favorite to win the girls' team title in this division will be Foothill, Santa Ana (SS). They are ranked in the top top in the Southern Section in Division I. They will be led by one of the individual favorites, Hannah Hall. Glendora (SS) seems to be the next team in line and will be led by Taylor Owen and Savannah Yi. Caroline Gee of Cupertino (CCS) has been one of the top runners in her section and will not be afraid to mix it up with the girls up front. The best teams from the north are Woodcreek (SJS) and Dougherty Valley (NCS).
Aside from the two college races, the high school boys seeded race should be the race to watch featuring some of the top individuals in the United States. Defending California Division V cross country and 3200 meters state champion, Cooper Teare of St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS), had a narrow loss to Luis Grijalva of Armijo (SJS) at the Woodbridge Classic and will be looking for the victory here. Michael Vernau of Davis (SJS) has been very impressive so far this season and will set a wicked pace. Callum Bolger of San Luis Obispo (SS) might lay off the hot early pace and make a run at the leaders in the second loop (photo above of all three runners thanks to Kirby Lee). Evert Silva of Fresno (CS) will also be in the mix and will be aiming for a top 5 finish. Palo Alto's Kent Slaney has been very impressive early this season and will not be afraid to run with the front group. The Great Oak (SS) team will be aiming squarely for the win led by Jacob Korgan and Solomon Fountain. Arcadia (SS) and Woodbridge (SS) will be looking for a top team finish as well as they battle Bellarmine (CCS), Monte Vista (NCS), Jesuit (SJS), St. Francis, Mt. View (CCS), Maria Carrillo (NCS) and Palo Alto (CCS).
On the girls' side, the Great Oak (SS) girls come into the meet with outstanding credentials and will be the favorite to win here. They have won the last four Division I state cross country team championships and finished in 3rd place last year at NXN. They were pressed mightily by Davis (SJS) at the state meet and Davis did surpass them with a 2nd place finish at NXN. Both teams will compete here looking to make a major early season statement. Arcadia (SS) seems to be the 3rd team in the mix along with Vista Murrietta (SS) and as a fellow Division I competitors, they will also be testing their team strength against two of the top teams in the state. Bishop Amat (SS) is a highly ranked Division IV team as the defending state champions and they will be here to prove they can race against much bigger schools. Individually, Arcadia teammates Holly Lung and Jasmine He will try to out duel Evelyn Mandel (Kirby Lee photo above) and Nicole Rice of Great Oak. Sofia Castiglioni and Olivia O'Keeffe of Davis will be able to roll on a much different course than they have faced this early season. Kiera Marshall St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS) was impressive at Woodbridge and might have company in the lead pack from Glennis Murphy of Redwood (NCS).
Coach Chris Williams proudly competed for St. Joseph Notre Dame in high school, built a successful distance running program at Skyline High School team in the 2000s, and now hosts one of the top distance track and field meets in Northern California (Dublin Distance Fiesta). This season, Williams has a top tier boys' team at Dublin High School and they are ready to make waves in their first season in the EBAL, Division II at NCS and potentially at the state meet. Dublin is led by the potent duo of Adrian Schroeder and Anirudh Surapaneni and will be tested by Mater Dei (SS). Individually, the Dublin boys will be battling with Brett Beattie of Buena (SS), Robert Sagasta of Liberty HS Bakersfield (CS) and Sam Vandorpe of Mater Dei (SS).
In the girls' race, the team favorite will be Mater Dei (SS). They have a very solid one through five and this will be their opportunity to get noticed in the always tough Southern Section. Kelly Wacker will lead the way for the Monarch Lions. Notre Dame Sherman Oaks (SS), Liberty Bakersfield (CS) and Dublin (NCS) will battle up front aiming for the always coveted Stanford Invitational winning team swag. NDSO may have the edge with the individual favorite. Mariah Moro has already tested herself in several high caliber invitationals and will be well prepared to race away from the field here.
The Campolindo boys and girls teams have used the Stanford Invitational as their coming party over the past several seasons. The boys have won 4 out of the last 5 NCS team titles including the last 3 in a row. They will be aiming for their 4th in a row this year and this will be a good early season test for the Cougars. One of their main section rivals will be Maria Carrillo but they will be racing in the seeded race so that matchup will have to wait until later in the season. Paso Robles (SS) is the highest regarded team from the Southern Section following their 3rd place finish at the state meet last year in Division III. They will be led by senior Luis Armendariz. Jack Emanuel of Chico (NS) finished an impressive 2nd behind Michael Vernau at the Jesuit/Davis Jamboree and will lead a strong Chico team here.
Individually, one of the individual contenders in the girls' race may be Kaylah Grant of Live Oak. Last weekend, Grant won the Westmoor Ram Invitational with a new course record of 14:00 over the rugged 2.4 mile course. She surpassed the course record of Cate Ratliff of Santa Cruz from 2014. Ratliff recorded the fastest time at the state meet last year as well as dipped under the 17 minute mark on the Stanford golf course. Marea Zlatunich of Aptos (CCS) will certainly have her say as one of the top runners in the state in this division and the defending champion at this invitational. Zlatunich will lead the way for the powerful Aptos squad that won the Division III state championship last year and most of their team is back to continue their dominance. Several NCS schools will be testing their team strength here in preparation for the section final in November. Campolindo, El Cerrito, Alameda and Tamalpais all have very capable teams who will challenge for a section crown and state meet berths. University City (SDS) will also contend for a top 5 team finish here led by another individual favorite, Elise Boisvert.
The smallest division in California is never short of talent and keeps getting more competitive by the season. One of the top runners in the state, Cooper Teare SJND (NCS), will be testing his fitness in the seeded race. That would leave the favorite role to Eli Horwitz of Stuart Hall (NCS) who easily won the Lowell Invitational earlier this season with a superb kick. He will be challenged by Jake Lange Nueva (CCS), Sean Laidlaw Lick-Wilmerding (NCS) and Ethan Ashby College Prep (NCS). The team battle will include Lick-Wilmerding and San Francisco University (NCS) who have added a nice influx of freshmen to go along with their veteran runners. Nueva (CCS) eligible to compete in their section for the first time will be battling for a front position as well along with Campbell Hall (SS) and St. Paul High School (SS)
The strong favorite in the girls' team battle will be defending state champion Flintridge Prep (SS). They will be led by individual favorite Sophie Gitlin who already has a sub 18 minute 3 mile time this season. Her closest pursuer may be teammate Sasha Codiga as well as Nueva senior Juliette Love and sophomore teammate Jenna Lange. The depth at the front may be a bit lacking with a couple of top contenders who chose to either race in another division or compete at another invitational like Scott Bauhs in the East Bay. Other teams that will be competing for a top five finish will be Lick-Wilmerding, San Francisco University, and Pomona Catholic (SS).
Race Time Race Race Division Distance
9:00 a.m. Varsity Boys Division 4 5K
9:25 a.m. Varsity Girls Division 4 5K
9:50 a.m. College Women Open 6K
10:30 a.m. College Men Open 8K
11:00 a.m. Varsity Boys Division 1 5K
11:30 a.m. Varsity Girls Division 1 5K
12:00 p.m. Varsity Boys Seeded 5K
12:30 p.m. Varsity Girls Seeded 5K
1:00 p.m. Varsity Boys Division 2 5K
1:30 p.m. Varsity Girls Division 2 5K
2:00 p.m. Varsity Boys Division 3 5K
2:30 p.m. Varsity Girls Division 3 5K
3:00 p.m. Varsity Boys Division 5 5K
3:30 p.m. Varsity Girls Division 5 5K
Current Course Records
Boys: Philip Rocha Arcadia 2015 14:32.5
Girls: Fiona O'Keeffe Davis 2015 16:32.1