The league cross-country season culminates Saturday when most Southland teams will be running in one of three conference meets.
La Mirada Park will be the site for both the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet as well as the NAIA District III meet, with men's and women's races in each.
The California Collegiate Athletic Assn. will hold its meet at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but under unusual circumstances. Previously, CCAA teams ran their meet as part of the NCAA Western Regionals. This year, CCAA athletic directors decided to hold their own meet a week before the regionals. But since the meet doesn't qualify entries for the regionals, some coaches will hold out their stars. Cal Poly Pomona won't race its No. 1 woman, Joann Howard, so she can concentrate on training for the race next weekend.
The women's title should belong to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, anyway. The Cal Poly women, four-time defending national champions, are not only running at home, but have been ranked No. 1 all season. Lesley White and Gladees Prieur are the top Mustang runners. Kris Katterhagen also should score well.
Individually, it should be a competitive race even without Howard. Cal State Northridge and Cal State Los Angeles have solid squads. Cal State L.A. has one of the individual favorites in junior Sylvia Mosqueda. She won the state junior college cross-country title last year and has set several course records this season.
Cal Poly Pomona, the defending CCAA men's champion, is rated No. 4 nationally and favored to repeat but could get a tough fight from San Luis Obispo. The teams have split two dual meets this season. Eddie Toro leads Pomona and is one of the individual favorites, and teammate Angel Roman is a close No. 2.
San Luis Obispo has a strong trio in Mike Livingston, Michael Miner and Chris Craig. Other top runners in the meet are Cal State Bakersfield's Mandla Kunene and Cal State L.A.'s Tony Young.
The SCIAC meet pits Occidental against the field. The Oxy men are slight favorites over Claremont-Mudd and, perhaps, Redlands. There is no dominant runner, however, so grouping will determine the title. Occidental usually gets strong performances from Chris Tregillis and Tim Demme, with the others close behind. Claremont has one of the conference's best runners in Mike Scott.
"Nobody has a killer up front," Occidental Coach Bill Harvey said. "The reason we're doing well is we've got five packed in tight."
The Occidental women expect a challenge from Claremont's runners, who defeated them when they weren't at full strength, but Oxy starts out with the best 1-2 duo on the West Coast. Sophomore Michele Trimble is the SCIAC's dominant runner, and teammate Cresey Stewart, who returned after a year away from school, is close behind. "If we didn't have Michele everyone would be raving about Cresey," Harvey said. "I don't think anyone in Division III has a 1-2 like we've got. Still, it will be won or lost in where the groups finish."
NAIA District III probably will follow the finishes in the Golden State Athletic Conference meet, which was won by Westmont's men and Fresno Pacific's women. Point Loma, the defending men's champion, should offer a challenge in the men's meet, and Westmont should be a strong contender in the women's meet. The district winners advance to the nationals in Kenosha, Wis., Nov. 15.
Individually, Cal Lutheran's Art Castle is the favorite among the men and Azusa Pacific's Judy Thomas among the women. Castle won the GSAC meet. Thomas is the defending district champion and won the GSAC title comfortably. She could be challenged by Biola's Stacia Larson.
In a conference that favors passing, Robbie Bristow of Pomona-Pitzer and Mark Van Allen of La Verne are waging an aerial duel in the SCIAC football race.
Both are returning starting quarterbacks who have picked up where they left off last year. Bristow, who has thrown more often, leads in total offense and passing yardage. Van Allen has the edge in passing efficiency and touchdowns but has thrown more interceptions.
Through six games Bristow has a net gain of 1,380 total yards, an average of 230 yards per game. However, he has thrown for 1,522 yards, or 253.7 per game. He has completed 120 of 248 attempts for 8 touchdowns with 6 interceptions. Last weekend, he set a school career record with a total of 6,391 yards passing.
Through five games, Van Allen has produced a total offense of 1,172 yards, a 234.4 average, and has passed for 1,239 yards, 247.8 per game. He has hit 90 of 167 passes for 12 touchdowns and had 11 passes intercepted.
The big difference in total yards and passing yards of the two players is largely the result of sacks. Bristow has been charged with a minus 142 yards rushing, while Van Allen has lost 67.