Signs of hope as cross-country teams around Southern California compete Saturday

Cross-country runners cross a grassy field.
The Big VIII League resumed cross-country competition Saturday at Riverside King, holding three dual meets. This is Norco versus Corona Santiago.
(Bill Pollock)

Smiles, feelings of excitement and hope were on display at several venues in Southern California on Saturday as high school cross-country teams resumed competition in the first big weekend of multiple dual meets since the state stay-at-home guidelines were lifted Jan. 25, clearing the way for teams to begin competitions after 10 months of being sidelined because of the coronavirus.

Under the watchful eyes of athletic directors making sure safety protocols were followed, the six teams from the Big VIII League competed in dual meets at Riverside King, featuring boys and girls finally getting the opportunity to stretch their legs and sweat a little. Corona Santiago raced against Norco, Corona Centennial and King competed, and Corona faced Eastvale Roosevelt.

In Orange County, St. Margaret’s and Laguna Beach held their first meet. San Clemente competed against Mission Viejo, with Lily O’Rourke of San Clemente running 18:35 to lead her team to victory. The Pacific Coast League held its dual meets at Beckman.

In Lancaster, Sierra Canyon and Paraclete ran under a clear sky in the first Los Angeles County meet. Isis Diaz won the girls’ race for Sierra Canyon.


Cross-country is one of the few sports allowed to take place under the state’s most-restrictive purple tier, along with tennis, golf, and track and field.

CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti urged attendees at Friday’s state Federated Council meeting to “hold off” a little longer from canceling any sports because the CIF and a group of coaches have been meeting with representatives of the governor in an attempt to come up with a compromise to get more sports started.

“We’ve had some very good conversations,” Nocetti said. “I’m encouraged.”