Webb cross country participates in the largest XC competition in the world


Carol Kang ('21)

Valeria Gonzalez is focused on running during the Mt. SAC invitational.

Every year, more than 20,000 high school runners toe the start line at the Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational. This year, Webb runners braved the course at the largest invitational in the world. 

The Mt. SAC Invitational is hosted by Mt. San Antonio Community College. Although just a short drive away from Webb, teams from all over the country gather to compete in this big event. The meets Webb cross country competes in are often smaller, because the Webb teams themselves are small. Mt. SAC is the exception, as it provides an exciting opportunity to be surrounded by so many runners, coaches, and teams.   

Blake Suttner (‘22), who raced in the sophomore race, said, “I definitely felt like it [Mt. SAC] was more competitive than our other races, and also more difficult considering the dust and the number of hills we had to run. Overall I did not think it was terrible, just really dusty.” 

The famous course starts with a flat straight away with the runners traveling around Valley Loop. Shortly after, the runners travel up the switchback set of hills. The switchbacks are the first of three notorious hills that provide an enormous challenge for runners. Around the second mile, the runners go up Poop-Out Hill” Finally, the runners race up Reservoir Hill and sprint down to the finish line. The whole course covers 2.93 miles. 

Since Mt. SAC is such a huge race, Webb athletes were separated by grade level and ability. The first race for Webb started at 12:13 p.m., while the last race started at 5:27 p.m. on Friday, October 25th, 2019. 

The competition was the first time Webb freshmen got to experience Mt. SAC. 

Valeria Gonzalez (’23), who finished 31st out of 59 freshmen, said, “From what everyone was telling me, I expected the Mt. SAC meet to be awful. I didn’t really let this negativity take over, so when I started running the race, I just pushed myself, using the fear of getting kicked off as some kind of motivation. The hills weren’t really that bad since thankfully we have our Mongos, Berthas, & Ognoms to train on. Bottom line, I’m really proud of my outcome at Mt. SAC.” 

Unfortunately, the majority of the VWS sophomore class and VWS junior varsity did not get to complete the competition due to a race policy which required runners to pass a certain checkpoint within a certain time in order to continue the race. 

Alicia Jaqua (‘21) said, “I think Mt. SAC is still one of the most interesting meets that we can compete on, just because it’s crazy how in two days 20,000 runners run. At the same time it’s kind of sad just because this means that not everyone is able to finish the race since they do races back to back and really quickly. Sadly today, and in the last few years, it’s been pretty hot and that made the race a lot harder to run, but you learn a lot from this meet.”

VWS varsity runners also struggled with the challenging course. The temperature was extremely hot with a real feel of 91°F. In addition, the course was very dry and offered no shade. VWS varsity placed 9th out of nine in the division 5 team score. 

The WSC team set foot on the trails after VWS races finished.

WSC freshmen placed 17th out of 17 in the combined division 4 & division 5 race while WSC sophomores placed 16th out of 16 teams. 

WSC junior varsity and varsity raced in the Seeded Team Sweepstakes race. Sweepstakes races are special because only the best teams are chosen to compete in that level. The teams are chosen based off of their potential to perform well at the CIF State Championships and speed level. 

WSC junior varsity placed 14th out of 16 teams in the sweepstakes. WSC varsity placed 22nd out of 22 teams in the sweepstakes.  

For VWS and WSC junior varsity, Mt. SAC was the second to last race before the season ended. While the teams may not have achieved the results they had wanted, it was a good reminder that some runs are better than others.

Many runners feel excited for league finals, since they know they are capable of more. For the varsity teams, Mt. SAC provided an opportunity to see how training is going as they prepare for league finals and the CIF meets in late November.