Nico Young traverses the dirt hills and valleys of the iconic CIF-State Championship cross country course that is Woodward Park in Fresno. (Photo: DeAnna Turner)
- - -
In a recent survey on ca.milesplit.com, we asked three questions about cross country courses in California:
- What's the most challenging XC course in CA you have ever run?
- What's the fastest XC course in CA you have ever run?
- When you dream about XC, what course do you dream of?
The hilly, winding layout at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) in Walnut east of Los Angeles was the runaway choice of respondents as the most challenging course in the state.
There were 23 courses mentioned by respondents but only Crystal Springs in Belmont, Woodward Park in Fresno (site of the CIF-State Championships), and Willow Hills in Folsom received more than two votes.
Woodbridge, held at the SilverLakes Sports Complex in Norco, was the popular choice -- to no surprise -- as the fastest course in the state. The flat layout on mostly manicured soccer fields like putting greens with some hard surface, annually produces many of the fastest 3-mile times in the U.S.
Of the 20 courses mentioned as the fastest, only Capital Cross held at Arcade Creek in Sacramento, received more than two responses. Notably, the Mt. SAC rain course, which produced some of the fastest 5K times on both CA and U.S. leaderboards, received just one mention.
And finally, we asked about the cross country course in your dreams. There were 14 courses mentioned, some as part of a multiple-course response. The most noted course "of your dreams" is Woodward Park, followed by Woodbridge, Mt. SAC, Crystal Springs and the Riverside Championship Course.
For some, the interpretation of that final question produced surprising answers:
- "Crystal Springs but it's more like nightmares."
- "The massive hill dead center in the middle of the 3 mile Crystal Springs course. Nightmare more likely than dream."
- "Some up hills with a winding course."
- "Woodbridge, under the lights."
- "A few decent hills and dirt."
- "Something easy."
Thank you to all those who shared their cross country course experiences with us.
Wide lanes on tightly cut grass help make Woodbridge at SilverLakes the fastest 3-mile cross country course in the U.S. (Photo: Jeffrey Parenti)