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Racing weather for SoCals

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Conditions for Saturday's Southern California cross country championships should be much more conducive to running than the last time the teams gathered at Fairfield Park in Costa Mesa.

The temperatures, which are expected to be in the high 60s Saturday, approached triple digits during the SoCal Preview meet Sept. 15.

"Twenty people ended up going to the hospital," Moorpark coach Traycie Kephart said. "This should be much better."

All three local women's teams, Moorpark, Ventura and Oxnard, qualified for SoCals by finishing in the Top 6 at the WSC Championships. All three are aiming to qualify for the state championships, which is Nov. 17 in Fresno.

Moorpark, behind sophomore Megan McNally's third-place finish, was third at the preview event, behind favorite Orange Coast and defending state champion Glendale.

"I think everybody's healthy," Kephart said. "They seem ready... They're very positive and upbeat."

Ventura's Danika Galvan, who finished 22nd at the preview, has recovered from a kidney infection that kept her from running for two weeks last month.

"I think we're healthy," Ventura coach Tony Veney said. "We're pretty well rested... I just need one more solid race."

Oxnard, which finished 20th at the preview, needs to finish at least two places better to qualify for Fresno.

"We have to do some headhunting," Oxnard coach Geno Sharp said.

Oxnard's Andy Chavarin is the lone local male qualifier for the event.

Moorpark looking for run at cross country title

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It may be slight, but Traycie Kephart admits there's a chance.

The Glendale College women's cross-country team has dominated the Western State Conference for the past six years, winning three state championships in that span.

But, behind sophomore Megan McNalley and freshman Karla Vernola, the Moorpark College coach is hoping the Raiders can take a step towards dethroning the dynasty at today's WSC Preview meet at Kenneth Hahn Park in Los Angeles

"It's a pretty small chance," Kephart said. "If you look at the numbers. Everyone would have to run with 'A' game.

"But it's possible if everyone reaches their potential, but it's going to be a big team effort.
That's our goal here to eventually beat them."

Glendale edged Moorpark in the SoCal preview meet Sept. 15 in Costa Mesa and are currently ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in Southern California.

Health will be a big factor for the Raiders when the WSC Championships arrive Oct. 23 in Santa Barbara. Sophomore Rachel Naumann will rest an injury today.

Ventura, powered by sophomore Danika Galvan and freshman Sabrina Sewell, hopes to compete with Santa Barbara City for third.

"Moorpark and Glendale are going to battle," Ventura coach Tony Veney said. "Santa Barbara is really tough. They beat us by a little bit last week, so that's going to be the deal for us."

Oxnard qualified for SoCals last season as an at-large selection.

"This year, I believe our women are going to earn their way there," Oxnard coach Geno Sharp said. "If we can put together a race, collectively, I think we can finish fourth or fifth."

The Condors have added freshman Vannessa Martinez, a Rio Mesa High product, to last year's top runner, sophomore Cristal Gutierrez.

Hahn Park is a fast course that features a 600-meter climb to separate the teams.

"It looks like it will be good weather and it's a challenging course, so it'll be an interesting meet," Sharp said. "It'll be competitive."

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Ventura County Star sports writer and columnist Joe Curley covers college sports and soccer for this Star. This is the place to click for local college football and basketball coverage, including USC, UCLA, Moorpark College, Ventura College and Cal Lutheran.

Curley will update from live events and also interject with periodic comment on both international soccer and the local Ventura County Fusion.