Visiting Fresno has become tradition for the Corona del Mar High girls' cross country team.
Coach Bill Sumner has made sure to make reservations for his girls in the Central Valley town, site of the CIF State Meet. Sumner has memorized the course at Woodward Park. He knows all the routes to the course and the best parking spots too.
This is the 23rd straight year Sumner's girls' team has reached the state meet. That feat is unprecedented in the state, Sumner said.
"But that's not what we come for," Sumner said by telephone Friday night. "We just didn't come to make it. We come to try to do something."
The Sea Kings, along with the Sage Hill boys' team and Newport Harbor junior Paige Tennison, will try to do something special Saturday in the state meet at Woodward Park.
CdM qualified in Division III by finishing fifth in the Southern Section Championships last week at Mt. San Antonio College. Sage Hill finished fifth in Division V to also qualify. Tennison, one of the top runners in the state, qualified for Saturday's meet as an individual after earning third place in 17:15 at last week's Division II race at Mt. SAC.
No rain is expected during the races, as the runners should enjoy temperatures in the 60s in Fresno, virtually perfect for distance runners.
Sage Hill races at 10:10 a.m., CdM starts at 11:45 a.m. and Tennison begins at 12:50 p.m.
Dyestatcal, a popular website for the runners, has picked CdM to finish 10th.
Sumner believes his girls can finish higher. They have had struggles, but he expects the girls to run their best race Saturday.
Senior Ashlee Powers leads the way. She led the Sea Kings with her fifth-place finish last week, coming in at 18:17. Senior Kristen Rivera, who was 14th in 18:42 last week, is usually CdM's No. 2 runner. Ellen Naruse (43rd, 19:36), Shelby Perez (66th, 20:09) and Kristen Hansen (71st, 20:15) are also key runners for the Sea Kings, who have won seven state titles for the school.
The Sage Hill boys will be making their third appearance at the state meet. The Lightning finished 12th in 2005 and eighth in 2007.
Dylan Thies is among the leaders for Sage. He was 25th in 16:32 last week. Chris Andras (32nd, 16:42), Jack Percival (35th, 16:46), Ryan Fishel (54th, 17:13) and Brennan Hicks (55th, 17:17) are also key runners for Sage.