MEETS ON TAP Sampling of XC Events Across CA This Weekend

With its unique match-racing format and iconic and quirky course overlooking the Pacific Ocean, what's not to love about the super-cool Palos Verdes Invitational. (Jeffrey Parenti photo)

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With two huge invitationals on the calendar for next week, this very well could be a light week for many high school cross country teams across the Golden State. However, we've identified seven meets in CA scheduled this weekend to spotlight in this week's Meets on Tap article. 

Friday, Sept. 30

Coach Jerry Downey Classic

Morley Field, San Diego

5,000 Meters

The Skinny: This event named after legendary St. Augustine (SD) coach and meet founder, has been around since 1989 and is a showcase for small schools in the San Diego Section. Crawford, Francis Parker, Santa Fe Christian, The Bishop's School, and High Tech High are among the 35-some schools scheduled to compete on the course that is a variation of the Champs (formerly EastBay/Foot Locker) national championship layout. Finished Results is the timer. Download the app for live results.

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Palos Verdes Invitational 

Palos Verdes XC Course

2 Miles

The Skinny: One of the more unique competition formats in CA is held on the iconic PVXC course that includes Agony Hill and hay bale jumps. Two miles is plenty for this invite that has been on the calendar since 1975. From the meet website preview, explaining the format: "The PV Invite ... features one-on-one races, so that the No. 7 runners have their own race, the No. 6s, and so on, culminating with the No. 1 runners showcased on the big stage! The team champion is crowned by totaling a team's best five positions out of the seven varsity races. So a 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 5 is a perfect score. The 2-mile course typically runs about one minute slower than a 3200m on the track for elite runners."


Artichoke Invitational 

Half Moon Bay HS

2.3 Miles

The Skinny: This Bay Area staple has been on calendars since 1971 and this year will host some 80 schools, including Archie Williams, Los Altos, Scotts Valley, Menlo-Atherton, St. Francis (CC), St. Mary's College (NC), and University Prep (SF) among them. 

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Bellarmine/Sacred Heart Invitational

Griffith Park/Central Park

2.94 Miles

The Skinny: The date and course changed but the attraction of running in LA's Griffith Park still remains. The event has been around since 1973, bills itself as a Southern California institution, and rightfully so. More than 80 schools are expected, including Loyola, Palisades, Granda Hills Charter, and Eagle Rock. The highlight is the Doug Speck boys championship which awards backpacks to all seven members of the winning team

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Central Park Invitational

Huntington Beach Central Park

3 Miles

The Skinny: Another massive draw with 75-plus schools expected over the two-section, all-day event. Top boys scheduled include Matthew Galindo (Savanna/SS), Jimmy Dominguez (Santa Ana/SS), Aaron Thomas (Redondo Union/SS), and Eyan Turk (Woodcrest Christian/SS). There are roughly a dozen girls with sub-18 credentials for 3 miles, including Lyla Fedio (Redondo Union/SS), Danica Brinkman (Trabuco Hills/SS), Makena Oliva (Anaheim Canyon/SS), Sydney Rome (Yorba Linda/SS), and Meztli Velazquez (Granada Hills Charter/LA). Finished Results is the timer. Download the app for live results.

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Temecula Twilight

Galway Downs, Temecula

3 Miles

The Skinny: Once you experience it, it's hard to forget the sunset view at dusk at the multi-use equestrian facility on Temecula's east end. One, if not the last twilight meet of the fall season, this one has attracted some 45 schools including 13 girls with sub-18 credentials and 12 boys with sub 15:30 resumes. Top athletes scheduled include Jie Yi Denise Chen (Claremont/SS), Gioana Lopizzo (La Costa Canyon/SD), Marjourie Lopez (Shadow Hills/SS), Samantha Spaulding (Newbury Park/SS), Danielle Hollander (Beverly Hills/SS), Angelina Vasquez (Barstow/SS), and Emma Arredondo leading a deep Bishop Amat (SS) lineup. Scheduled on the boys side, Jason Parra (Millikan/SS_), Diego Varela (Bishop Amat/SS), Kevin Sandoval (Glendora/SS), and Jacob Niednagel (La Costa Canyon/SD). Finished Results is the timer. Download the app for live results.

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Tom Laythe Invitational

Willow Hills at Folsom HS

3.04 Miles

The Skinny: This one has drawn many of the top programs in the Sac-Joaquin Section, including Davis, Jesuit, Granite Pay, Lodi, Placer, McClatchy, Sonora, St. Francis, Vacaville, and Whitney expected. Scheduled to make her '22 season debut is defending CIF-State Division I champion Anna McNatt. The senior at McClatchy has been recovering from a back injury that knocked her out of most of her junior track season.