May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Fifth PCL girls and boys cross country dual meets Saturday at Portola

Sophomore Jadyn Zdanavage has been leading the Portola varsity girls team this year. (Photo courtesy Stephanie Zdanavage)

Another in a series of Pacific Coast League girls and boys cross country dual meets will be held Saturday at Portola High School. It will be the fifth of seven planned events for the league.

As in the other league meets, Saturday’s meets will be held on a campus course. Portola will be closed to the general public with the course starting at the stadium and going around the school. It will also finish at the stadium.

No fans will be allowed to attend.

Both girls and boys varsity races will be held among six teams. There are seven teams in the league and Irvine has the bye this week.

The first competition will be held at 7 a.m. between Portola and Beckman starting with the girls varsity. Then the boys varsity meet will start around 7:30 a.m. followed by lower level meets.

The other meets, Woodbridge vs. Laguna Hills at 10 a.m. and University vs. Northwood at 1 p.m., will follow the same order of events.

“Since we have seven schools, we started back on Feb. 6 and every single Saturday we have a dual meet at seven different locations so every high school is hosting a Saturday meet,” said Portola Coach Victor Quiros, who has been the Bulldogs coach since the start of the program.

“Since we’re only allowed to have two schools competing against each other at one particular time, the seven schools are able to compete against the six other schools in the seven week period and during those seven weeks each school gets a week off, so it’s a bye week.

“It works out, seven races in seven weeks would be a little too much for the coaches and the athletes and the wear and tear on their bodies.”

Portola’s girls team will be led by sophomore Jadyn Zdanavage.

“She was the Pacific Coast League champion last year as a freshman,” Quiros said. “So far this year, she still has the fastest PCL time, around 17:30.

“It will be some competition. Beckman is such a strong team on both the boys and the girls sides. We don’t have the depth that Beckman has, but we have Jadyn. Jadyn gets us the top position each week.”

The boys team is looking for another strong effort from senior Nathan Lo.

“We’re looking at probably a number four or five finish in the race tomorrow for him,” Quiros said.

Beckman’s boys team has been led by Joshua Schuld while the girls team has been led by Joy Weber. Both runners are expected to compete Saturday, according to Beckman Athletic Director Steve Fischel. The two have set school records in previous meets this year.

“They (the boys team) have some runners in the 14 minute range and that’s just so impressive,” Quiros said.

Quiros said the meets have gone well and the athletes have enjoyed the competition.

“We’re going to have a great day tomorrow because of the strength of the competition,” he said. “That’s why we’re looking forward to the competition. Cross country is always a friendly competition but this year you really feel the essence of the feeling of the athletes who are getting to compete without pressure.

“All the coaches are putting these meets together each week just for the benefit of getting them to be able to compete to see where they are, get some times and it’s important to some of them for their collegiate careers to have some times their senior year.”

Among the top runners on the Woodbridge team are Ryan Welton, who took first in a time of 15:34.1 in the opening meet of the season. Welton is expected to lead the Warriors Saturday.

Another top Woodbridge runner, Bryce Shaver, is also expected to compete with the varsity for the first time this season after recovering from an injury.

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com

Send cross country news to:

timburt@ocsportszone.com