Courtesy of the Veidt Family
Months of preparation have led up to this point. The runners line up on the starting line and wait to begin. Finally, the gun goes off and hundreds of runners per race start one of the most intense trials of their season. Dubbed the “world’s largest cross country invitational” Mt. San Antonio College, or Mt. SAC, is a well-known name in the running world. Famous for its gruesome hills, especially the one called “Poop Out Hill,” this is not a course for the weak.
This year was the 66th anniversary of the meet, and thousands of runners came to race. In 2012, there were 25,000 runners from 500 schools, which takes two weekends to cover because the meet is so popular. This year, Carlsbad High School’s varsity team competed in the Varsity Sub-Sweeps race and took second out of all of the boys within that race. This year was junior Jack Conklin’s first time running the Mount SAC course and he placed fifth out of Carlsbad’s varsity squad.
“We were glad to get second because we have put in so much work for this meet,” Conklin said. “We do workouts, distance runs hill workouts and cross train every week.”
Carlsbad’s cross country team has practiced every day since mid-summer, logging about 70 miles per week. The best-of-the-best compete in Mt. SAC, and last year, Carlsbad’s team placed the fastest time ever for a San Diego team in the history of the meet.
Throughout this highly acclaimed race, it is more of a mental race than physical. Consisting of three hills: Switchbacks, Poop Out Hill, and Reservoir Hill, many racers have trouble throughout this course because of the hilly terrain, and a fast, flat, first mile.
“What race we run depends on how we did in the Mt. Carmel invitational. We ended up running in the Varsity Sub-sweeps [at Mt. SAC], which was pretty tough,” Conklin said. “The start was hard because there were so many people in our race.”
Now wrapping up their season, Carlsbad’s varsity team has hopes to duplicate their success from Mt. SAC during League, CIF, and if qualified, State. The main competition this year is Torrey Pines and Rancho Buena Vista, and Carlsbad beat both of them at Mt. SAC, so they are hoping to do it again.
“I think we can win CIFs and go to state this year,” junior Nathan Williams said. “All we need to do is stay healthy and avoid injuries.”