A special City Section qualifying meet that would enable top City runners to compete in the state cross-country championships still faces a major hurdle despite the apparent support of the California Interscholastic Federation.
CIF Commissioner Thomas Byrnes said Wednesday that the meet would be approved if the City presents a strong case at a CIF executive board meeting in Palm Springs on Friday. "The state federated council could do anything it wanted," Byrnes said.
But the proposal may never make it that far. The City rules committee will meet today to consider the plan, but Don Thomas, chairman of the 12-member rules committee, isn't convinced it will pass.
Thomas fears that runners will be overextended if they are asked to run in the qualifying meet along with the league championships, which are scheduled Nov. 23-25.
"I can see a lot of obstacles," he said. "The main one being that our schedule is already set."
The City championships are scheduled Dec. 12, too late to be used to select qualifiers for the Nov. 28 state meet. Without the qualifying meet, the City will be the only one of 10 sections in the state not to compete in the state championships, which are being held for the first time.
Ron Lawson, father of Granada Hills High runner Craig Lawson and Kennedy High runner Sheri Lawson, delivered the proposal to Thomas on Tuesday. Lawson's plan calls for the state qualifying meet on Nov. 14 or 21. Eight teams and 20 individuals from four races would qualify for the state meet.
"It's ridiculous that the City Section doesn't plan to send teams to the state meet," Lawson said. "It doesn't make sense. It would be a great opportunity to see how the City's best runners stack up against the best in the state."
City Section Commissioner Hal Harkness declined comment on the proposal.
The qualifying meet will not be mandatory, under Lawson's plan, however. "If teams don't want to run in it, they don't have to," he said.
Although the City voted not to compete in the state championships September, 1986, Lawson's proposal has been signed by 12 cross-country coaches, including Bob Augello of Granada Hills, Gary Mazziotti of Birmingham and Pete Nelson of Kennedy.
A committee of coaches headed by Mazziotti has been formed to compile a schedule that would allow the City Section to compete in next year's state meet.