The Riverside Showcase, contested on the same course that hosts this year's CIF-SS Prelims and Finals in November, featured 29 schools that allowed for a variety of agendas. Some squads simply used the course as a tune-up or workout, while others planted the seeds of ending the season on a positive note on this same course. In a great move by meet management, they consolidated the affair to six races where the last race was contested at 9:30 am. They easily avoided the heat and allowed for some nice efforts all throughout.
Yucaipa's boys, fifth in the CIF-SS rankings, shined in the varsity boys race. Justin Briscoe pulled away from the pack midway through and never looked back in his 11:04.7 victory and overall top time of the day. Head coach Jason Carney said he was happy with boys' efforts and mentioned how we would like to have seen his No. 2 runner closer to front-running Briscoe. But, overall, satisfied with their 2018 opener.
Brea Olinda head coach, Bruno Morlan, was pleased with the effort of his boys, who are currently tied for 10th in recent CIF-SS Division III rankings. Shane Gaffikin (11:16.4) ran the third fastest time of the day. Their top five is comprised of four juniors and a sophomore and finished with an impressive 34-second scoring gap. This young group seems poised to make a run back to the state meet.
On the girls side, Fountain Valley supported our projections and came out firing. Although claiming that they will be kept under the radar this first half of the season, the Barons revealed one of their new weapons to an already loaded lineup. Freshman Ashlee Gallegos opened up her high school career with a wire-to-wire, 13:27.5 victory in the Frosh/Soph Girls race. After the Varsity Girls race, where Ashley Faller (13:03.4) and Sara Feitz (13:08.9) excelled with 2nd and 3rd place finishes, Fountain Valley was easily the best team of the day and impressively finished with five of the top 11 times of the day.
Two programs, off our radar until this morning, caught our eye. With head coach Anthony Barnes preparing us for a nice showing, Burroughs of Ridgecrest now jumps into the Division IV picture. Freshman Leah Tomlinson (13:49.7) along with juniors Madeline Acosta and Alana Nagy led the way for the Burros. Their boys also impressed with sophomores Bryce Hill (11:32.5), Ben Washburn (11:45.8) and Michael Hoyer (11:51.6) up front.
Meanwhile, the Patriots of Beckman displayed a youth movement on the girls' side. With Jocelyn Hill (13:25.7) up front in the varsity affair, Estella Knobbe (13:32.5) led her freshmen to the victory in the F/S Girls race. In her third year as head coach, Leilani Rios was very pleased with the overall improvement of her girls. Beckman's boys also impressed us with their improvement as the trio of Ryan Muto, Caleb Suhr and Rahul Aggarwal finished within four seconds of one another.
Vista Murrieta's girls are ranked No. 2 in the CIF-SS preseason rankings. Citing a number of ailments throughout their main core, the Broncos quartet used the race as a 'tempo run' and shined as all four crossed the line together at 13:41. Meanwhile, fellow Southwestern League foe, the Pumas of Chaparral also impressed. Up front, Cynthia Martin (a CIF finalist as an individual in 2017) controlled the race all throughout, moving away with an impressive 12:54.4 victory. We expect Chaparral to qualify for the postseason this year and finish in the top 20 squads in Division I.