Annual meet conflicts with Homecoming

Clovis invitational falls on Homecoming weekend

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A group of 42 boys and girls of the Oak Park High School cross country team ran in the Asics Clovis Invitational Oct. 7 — the day of the Homecoming dance.

Clovis Invitational is a large meet that occurs in Fresno once a year and draws in competitors from schools throughout California. A smaller group than previous years participated in the meet  — less than half of the approximate 125 athletes.

Coach Steve White said he realizes that it is very important for Oak Park to attend this annual meet, as its long-term effects can have a positive impact on later races.

“It’s an invitational, and usually attracts some of the best teams in the state. It’s also important for all the teams to go — especially us too, because it’s the same course as the state finals course,” White said. “We’ve gone to the state course meet every year for the past five or six years, and we [intended] to go this year.”

[We received] complaints from kids that it [fell] on the same weekend, but they understand there’s no way I [could] change that.”

— Steve White

The first race began at 8:10 a.m. and the team competed every half hour until 12:30 p.m. White said he found that arriving back in time for Homecoming was doable, as long as there weren’t too many issues.

“[It wouldn’t be an issue] since we left on time, about 1:30 or 2:00.  We typically make it, unless traffic becomes a big enough problem,” White said.

In previous years, the Clovis Invitational did not fall on the date of the Homecoming dance and did not overlap with any major school events.

“When we changed the [school] schedule to the really early start time, it started to really conflict with it,” White said.

Although not everyone was pleased with the timing of the race, the team understood that the scheduling for it is unavoidable.

“[We received] complaints from kids that it [fell] on the same weekend, but they understand there’s no way I [could] change that,” White said.

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