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DAILY REPORT

Meet to Feature Races at Night

September 16, 2003|Lauren Peterson | From Staff Reports

The Irvine Woodbridge Invitational cross-country meet is expected to establish a first of sorts when the final eight races of Saturday's event are contested at night.

The Woodbridge Invitational is regarded as the third- or fourth-largest high school cross-country meet in the nation, depending on the source.

But it is believed that this year's event will be the first to hold races at night with the aid of light towers stationed along the three-mile course that starts and finishes on the Woodbridge campus and, in between, lights nearby bicycle paths in Alton Athletic Park and alongside San Diego Creek.

"This has been a dream of ours for two or three years," said George Varvas, Woodbridge coach and meet director. "The kids have talked about how neat it would be to race at night and now some of them will get a chance to do that."

The highlights of the meet, which is expected to attract more than 6,000 runners from more than 180 schools, will be the girls' and boys' sweepstakes races.

The girls' race will start at 8:40 p.m. and the boys' event will begin at 9:05.

Many of the state's top teams and individual competitors are expected to run in those two races.

The Murrieta Valley girls' and boys' cross-country teams got off to winning starts with their season-opening efforts in the Bronco Invitational at Prado Regional Park in Chino on Saturday.

Murrieta Valley, the defending state Division I girls' champion, posted a 29-122 victory over runner-up Santa Margarita.

The cumulative time of the Nighthawks' top five runners was nearly two minutes faster than what they ran in the same meet last year.

Murrieta Valley won the boys' race with a 37-45 upset of Chino Don Lugo, the top-ranked Division I team in the state.

In addition, the cumulative time of the Nighthawks' top five runners was three minutes faster than last season's team that finished fifth in the state championships.

"There was a feeling out there that we weren't going to be as good this year as we were last year," Murrieta Valley Coach Steve Chavez said.

"That we had lost a lot of runners [to graduation in June]," he added. "But we wanted to show people that we're back and better than ever."

-- John Ortega

The booster club of the Covina Charter Oak football team used its weekly 50-50 ticket drawing to raise $550 for the family of Sgt. Scott Hanson of the Covina Police Department.

Hanson, married and the father of two children, is in a coma in a Covina-area hospital.

He was injured in a traffic accident while on duty in his patrol car Aug. 14.

"We wanted to help out one of our own," said Dan Rangel, the booster club president and father of Charter Oak junior lineman Luke Rangel.

"We may win football games, but we win when we help the community out too," he said.

Two years ago, the club made a similar $1,600 donation to New York's Fire Department after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

-- Lauren Peterson

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