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CROSS-COUNTRY

Fountain Valley Runners Are a Well-Traveled Lot

September 12, 2004|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

The Southland cross-country season began in earnest this weekend, giving runners a chance to measure the results of their summer training.

Most ran hundreds of miles since school ended in June. A few traveled much farther.

Crystal Reed, a junior at Fountain Valley, surpassed the 1,000-mile mark late last month, averaging more than 100 miles a week. She wasn't alone in piling up the miles. Teammate Danielle Dabney, a senior, amassed nearly 1,000 miles during the 13-week period from June 1 to Aug. 31, and seven other Fountain Valley runners ran more than 750 miles.

"We should be running really, really fast times toward the end of the season," said Reed, whose biggest one-day output this summer was 22 miles, achieved in three runs.

Several coaches raised eyebrows upon learning the number of miles accumulated by Fountain Valley, ranked second in the Southern Section Division I poll behind Ventura.

Some believe the strenuous workouts and young age of the runners increase the risk of injury, such as shin splints. Others say the training is simply too extreme for a three-mile race.

Corona del Mar Coach Bill Sumner, who operates an adult running club, says when he trains women for marathons, he asks that they run about 85 miles a week.

"I can't see a 15-, 16-, 17-year-old girl running that kind of mileage," said Sumner, whose team is ranked No. 1 in Division III. "When they say they run 100 miles a week, that's scary."

At the Laguna Hills Invitational on Saturday, where hundreds braved 90-degree heat to compete in races that were separated by grades and divisions, Brittany Molleale of Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula won the girls' Division I junior race in 19 minutes 5 seconds. Molleale has been training since mid-August because she broke her foot walking down a set of stairs in late June. She said she has averaged only 35 to 40 miles a week since training resumed, which is on par with her teammates.

"I ran a lot of miles when I was younger," said Peninsula Coach Bill Consolo, whose team is ranked No. 9 in Division I. "That's why I'm beat up today."

Fountain Valley Coach Barry Migliorini subscribes to the theory that distance runners need to run heavy mileage to build a broad base that will allow them to bounce back from races quicker and remain in top shape until early December when the state championships are held. That includes maintaining a 60- to 70-mile-a-week pace after school has started.

"We are forced to taper off a bit," Migliorini said. "We can't have those 17-mile runs anymore."

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