For that to happen, the likes of junior Elise Partos and seniors Alex Hubert and Candice Jung will have to do their part, but Roffina’s also excited about the potential of some freshmen.
“I think we’ve got potential,” he said, “but it’s a long, long season.”
Elsewhere in the Pacific League, Hoover Coach Jack Sallakian hopes for big improvement with aspirations of his Tornadoes not only qualifying for the CIF prelims, but finishing third in league after a fifth-place mark a season ago.
“The goal for the girls is to finish third this year,” said Sallakian, who returns his top runner, Katherine Brouwer, for her senior year. “That’s something that I think we can do.”
Hoover, which opens its season Saturday at the Don Bosco Invitational, also features juniors Kimberly Rodriguez, Frances Ramas and Asia Schmidt. More than any other factor for Sallakian, he believes his team’s improvement will come due to experience and maturation, citing that, “they finally get the point,” in regards to all the mileage and work.
A spot behind Hoover last season, was Glendale, which took sixth in the Pacific League.
The Nitros also return their top runner, Frances Pasamba, and lost just one runner to graduation. However, even with the addition of a couple runners from the track team, Bob Bailey’s squad is still a small one.
“Our team is still small, so we have very little margin for error,” he said.
Holy Family’s cross-country team returns junior Gladys Hernandez, who emerged as an individual CIF qualifier from the Horizon League and finished 60th at the Southern Section Division IV prelims.
First-year Gaels Coach James Spellman said Hernandez will no doubt lead a very young squad that’s starting from scratch more or less.
“She’s definitely the premier runner,” he said. “The majority of [the team is] freshmen and sophomores.”
Spellman, who’s “new to the sport,” inherits a program that had only nine runners last season, but is up to 19 this year. Thus far, increasing his numbers is already one goal accomplished. Beyond that, he’s hoping to gradually build up a formidable program.
“The main goal is just to build a program, the numbers was the first step,” said Spellman, whose team opens its season Sept. 26 at the Bellarmine-Invitational and opens Horizon League competition on Sept. 30. “The goal is to build a competitive program and just get them better and better each year.”