By Mason Nesbitt
For The Signal
The Master’s University will host more than 1,400 athletes in Central Park on Saturday for its annual cross country invitational, a record number for the event now in its eighth year.
The dual collegiate-high school meet will feature eight races beginning at 7 a.m. and include the likes of UCLA, USC and Cal State Fullerton.
Castaic, Canyon, Golden Valley, Hart, Saugus and West Ranch highs will represent the Santa Clarita Valley. Admission for fans is free.
“The meet continues to grow,” said 16th-year Master’s head coach Zach Schroeder, whose men will race at 7 a.m., with his women going at 7:45. “I think the Santa Clarita Valley is such a hot spot for runners, and it’s a great place for teams to travel into. We’re excited to be a great host and to hopefully represent the SCV well.”
The Master’s University XC Invitational began in 2012 with 155 athletes from 17 colleges. On Saturday, Schroeder expects more than 40 colleges and universities to be represented, including the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Lewis Clark State College from Idaho.
TMU added a high school portion to the meet in 2018, partnering with Saugus High to draw programs from outside the area to Central Park. This year’s event will feature boys varsity (8:15 a.m.), girls varsity (8:45 a.m.), boys frosh/soph (9:15), girls frosh/soph (9:45), boys JV (10:15) and girls JV (10:45) races.
“There’s going to be some great colleges there, but great high school races too,” said Master’s sophomore Arianna Ghiorso, “and it’s a great opportunity to show up and get our name out there – who we are.”
Ghiorso said one of the benefits of running on TMU’s home course is the familiarity factor.
“We do workouts there every week,” she said, “so having that advantage of knowing that course so well should help us. Today we were doing mile repeats on the actual course we’re going to be racing, so that’s so helpful to have that experience and feeling the pain right where you’re going to feel it during the race.”
It doesn’t hurt that Ghiorso holds a memory of success at Central Park. She finished third place in the Golden State Athletic Conference finals there in 2018 as a freshman.
“Just remembering what I did there last time and learning from that,” she said. “What was good and what can I do better.”
Valencia grad named GSAC Player of the Week
Valencia High grad Dylan Bielanski was named the GSAC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after his dramatic game-winning goal over the weekend.
Bielanski scored a golden goal in the 96th minute Saturday to lift the Mustangs to a 2-1 win over the University of Antelope Valley on the road. It was Bielanski’s team-leading seventh goal of the season, which matched a career-high he set last year.
The Mustangs will host Bethesda University of California at TMU on Saturday at 4 p.m. in what will be their final tune-up before beginning GSAC play on Oct. 3 at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa.
For more information on The Master’s University Athletic Department, visit GoMustangs.com.