HMB Girls Win MSACBy Mark Foyer--Coastside Scoop How big was the victory by the Half Moon Bay High School girls' cross country team at the Oct. 22 Mt. SAC Invitational? Dyestatcal.com, the leading Web site in regards to state high school cross country, called it, "The Shocker of the Day!" It was shocking on many levels. Not only did the Cougars win the Division IV Sweepstakes team title, they had the fastest time of the day. The two-day meet concluded Saturday. When it was over, and the last of the 85 races had been run, Half Moon Bay had the second fastest team time recorded. Only Reno High School was faster. Winning the Division IV team title has caused a great rumble among followers of cross country. Half Moon Bay entered the meet ranked fifth in the state in Division IV by Dyestatcal.com. Ahead of the Cougars were, in order, San Lorenzo Valley, Carmel, Riverbank and Orange Lutheran. Both San Lorenzo Valley and Carmel are section rivals. Of the four, Carmel was the only team not at the meet. There have been two constants all year long in the unscientific rankings. San Lorenzo Valley has been ranked No. 1 in the state in Division IV since the start of the year. In Central Coast Section polls, San Lorenzo Valley has been No. 1 since Sept. 22. In the two previous polls, the Cougars were ranked second and fourth. Meanwhile, Half Moon Bay's rankings have been interesting, to say the least. In the state poll, Half Moon Bay went from fourth in the preseason to completely unranked two weeks ago, to No. 5 prior to the Mt. SAC meet. In the CCS poll, Half Moon Bay has been ranked as high as No. 3 (behind San Lorenzo Valley and Aptos), to No. 8 to not even being ranked for a week. So, does the Mt. SAC result mean anything? Yes, it means that there will be some changes when the new polls come out. However, realize that polls don't determine high school titles. Polls are well educated guesses on how good a team is. What was proved with Half Moon Bay's results in Southern California is that the Cougars are a legitimate candidate to contend with San Lorenzo Valley for the Central Coast Section title on Nov. 13. Carmel could play a factor, as could Harbor. But it should come down to the battle between Half Moon Bay and San Lorenzo Valley. The last chapter should be written on Nov. 27 when the two teams should be contending for the state title. Should, that is, because anything can happen. Remember last year Half Moon Bay expected to battle San Lorenzo Valley for the section title. But Half Moon Bay was hit hard by the flu. Not only didn't Half Moon Bay battle San Lorenzo Valley for the title, Half Moon Bay finished a distant third. Two weeks later at the state meet, a healthy Half Moon Bay team finished sixth, still behind San Lorenzo Valley, but well ahead of CCS runner-ups Carmel. But this all brings us back to what do the results from the campus of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut mean for Half Moon Bay? It means that anyone ready to declare that San Lorenzo Valley will be a lock to win both the section and state titles better think again. Which is not to say Half Moon Bay will win, either. The battle for the section and state titles will be intense. That is the one lock. * * * Mark Foyer is the sports writer for the Half Moon Bay Review. Copyright © 2004Half Moon Bay Review and Pescadero Pebble.