Poor air quality as a result of the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise forced the San Francisco Section to cancel the All-City Championships after twice rescheduling in hopes of improved air quality.
For the State Meet, the SFS advanced a team and individual runners based on their qualifying marks.
What was lost, aside for a chance for individuals to earn a trip to the State Championships on the course, was the opportunity for Lowell to extend its dominance of the section.
Lowell has won 12 boys section titles in a row, hasn't been defeated in the All-City Finals since 2005, and has placed first or second in the SFS since 1977.
Lowell's girls have been equally -- if not more -- dominant, winning eight consecutive sections in a row since last losing in 2009. That lone outlier is the only season that separates the Lowell girls from a what would otherwise be a 41-year winning streak!!
Heading into 2019, Lowell's boys will miss section runner of the year Noah Battaglia, who placed 59th among scoring runners in Division I at the State Meet. Returning from State for Lowell are senior Zachary Parker (90th, 16:31.10), junior Andrew Blelloch (123rd, 16:57.50) and senior Norton Choy (133, 17:05.40 - DeAnna Turner photo). Jamison Smallwood, a junior at Burton Academic, is the only other returning SFS runner who was able to compete at State.
Lowell returns the top two girls in the section in a pair of sophomores, Elizabeth Holcombe and Jenna Satovsky (DeAnna Turner photo). Holcombe, whose 19:20.90 from the State Meet is the top returning girls 5K mark in the section, was selected as the MileSplitCA San Francisco Section Girls Runner of the Year in 2018. As we wrote last winter, it was a challenging decision over Statovsky, primarily based on better finishing as State, the Clovis Invitational and the Stanford Invitational.
Also, Holcombe's 14:23.50 for second at the Lowell Invitational for the 2.x short course was also a SFS best.
Lowell has six girls returning who ran at the State Meet last November, but Holcombe and Satovsky are clearly Nos. 1 and 2. Satovsky went 19:40.60 at State, while senior Emi Steedman went (20:53.20) as the team's No. 3. Junior Paloma Suarez-Davila (21:01.10) and senior Michelle Wong (21:15.90) are the other returners who scored at State.
Two returning runners from Galileo Academy of Science & Technology also represented the SFS at State: Maia Piomelli (21:31.40) and Freya Wehrheim (22:25.90).
The 47th San Francisco Cross Country Invitational
(aka Lowell Invitational) is scheduled for Sept. 7 at Golden Gate Park (Speedway and Lindley Meadows) where varsity will run 2.93 miles and frosh/soph will go 2.13 miles. There are approximately 80 teams entered.
The All-City Championships (aka CIF-San Francisco Section Championship) is scheduled for Nov. 20 at Golden Gate Park.