Inland Empire cross-country runners are gearing up for a big weekend.
Locally, the 10th annual Inland Empire Challenge is scheduled for Saturday at Glen Helen Regional Park in Devore. Among the entries is the Vista Murrieta girls’ team, ranked No. 5 in the Southern Section Division I coaches’ poll, and the Redlands girls’ squad, ranked No. 6 in the same division.
Erika Reddish of Vista Murrieta finished first last week at a Southwestern League cluster meet, though Temecula Great Oak, the top-ranked girls' team in Division I and considered one of the best in the nation, rested its top runners in preparation for this weekend’s Manhattan Cross-Country Invitational in New York.
Just how deep is Great Oak? The Wolfpack’s "B" team finished fifth at the prestigious Stanford Invitational last month, second at last week’s cluster meet and is expected to challenge Vista Murrieta this weekend.
Some of the top boys’ cross-country teams in the I.E. are headed north to compete at the Clovis Invitational on Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno. The Corona boys’ team, ranked No. 8 in Division I, is scheduled to compete on the state championship course, as well as No. 10 Riverside King.
Riverside Woodcrest Christian, the five-time Division V defending state champion, is also entered in the Clovis Invitational.
The Murrieta Valley boys’ water polo team can’t be accused of dodging anyone this fall.
The Nighthawks, the top-ranked team in Division II, are slated to play Friday at Laguna Beach, the top-ranked team in Division III.
Murrieta Valley’s wins this season include: Agoura, ranked No. 1 in Division IV; Palos Verdes, No. 2 in Division III; La Verne Damien, No. 3 in Division III; Montebello, No. 8 in Division II. The Nighthawks also won the 32-team Coronado tournament last month.
And down the road is the biggest challenge of the season, a Nov. 1 meeting at Mater Dei, the top-ranked team in Division I.