WALNUT — The State cross-country championships are five weeks away, but many of the top Division I and II teams expected to be at that meet will compete in today's Mt. San Antonio College Invitational.
The boys' team sweepstakes race at 9:30 a.m. will be loaded, with seven of the top-10 ranked Division I teams in the state and five of the top six Division II squads slated to run.
Carmichael Jesuit, the eighth-ranked team in Harrier magazine's national poll, is favored but the Marauders will be challenged by a slew of quality teams.
Concord De La Salle, ninth in Harrier's West region poll; Hoover, the top-ranked Division I team in the state, and Grass Valley Nevada Union, second in the Division I poll, head the list of challengers.
Hoover, led by junior David Lopez, has been the state's top-ranked Division I team all season, but the Tornadoes have not raced Jesuit, De La Salle or Nevada Union.
"We've got a lot to play off of," Hoover Coach Greg Switzer said. "Jesuit is the top-ranked team in the state. De La Salle is ranked ninth in the West region and Nevada Union is second in Division I behind us.
"We're just going to go see what happens."
The girls' team sweepstakes will not have as much depth as the boys'--partly because several of the state's top teams will run in today's Orange County championships--but the front end of the race might be stronger with the entries of Concord Clayton Valley, Yucaipa and Thousand Oaks.
Clayton Valley, the defending state Division III champion, is ranked third in the nation. Yucaipa is 11th nationally and Thousand Oaks is sixth in the West region poll.
Santa Rosa junior Julia Stamps and Thousand Oaks senior Kim Mortensen will meet for the second time this season in the team sweepstakes race.
Stamps, the defending Foot Locker national champion, handed Mortensen her only loss of the season in last month's Stanford Invitational.