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PREVIEW:Having to change courses

CROSS-COUNTRY SEASON

Three teams — with have their share of talent — ousted from Griffith Park home digs because of fire damage.

August 29, 2007|By Jeff Tully

BURBANK — All four local high school cross-country programs have been forced to make changes this season — and the campaign hasn’t even started yet.

In one way or another, Burroughs, Burbank, Bellarmine-Jefferson and Providence have been affected by the fires that ravished Griffith Park in May.

The fire that scorched more than 817 acres burned many of the trails in the park. Unfortunately, it also burnt areas around two cross-country courses that are used by the Indians, Bulldogs and Guards.

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As a result, local meets and the 34th Bellarmine/Griffith Park Cross-Country Invitational have had to be moved.

“Basically, our course is unusable this year because of the fires,” Burroughs Coach John Peebles said. “They have blocked some of the trails behind the zoo where we usually run

they’re all fenced off.

“It’s unfortunate that we can’t run on our own course, but that’s the way it goes.”

Bell-Jeff Coach Mike Morgan, whose teams’ home course is near the Greek Theater, said he is searching for a place to hold the school’s invitational.

“We were hoping to hold it on the side the Burbank and Burroughs usually use, but we don’t know if that will be possible,” he said. “It has been tough for us.”

The annual Burbank All-City Meet — featuring all the local schools — scheduled for Sept. 5, has been moved from Griffith Park to Providence’s home course in Johnny Carson Park.

The event should feature the area’s top two female runners in seniors Sadee Martinez of Burroughs and Gaby Gonzalez of Bell-Jeff. Martinez has won the meet the past two seasons.

“Gaby is really looking forward to facing Sadee in that race,” Morgan said. “She didn’t run well and had some problems in the race last year.

“I think having the race at Providence, where it is flatter, will be better for Gaby. Hopefully, she can use her speed to her advantage.”

Burbank and Burroughs’ first Pacific League meet, scheduled for Sept. 19, has been moved from Griffith Park to Crescenta Valley Park.

Burbank Coach Trevor Marca said he is hoping the schools will be able to return to their home course next season. However, as of now, that is yet to be determined.

With the season set to begin next week, here is a closer look at the teams:

The Indians girls’ team returns the top female runner in the area in Martinez.

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