By Jeremiah Dollins
After a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Colton High School hosted the 52nd annual Swarm Cross-Country Invitational at Yellowjacket Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 4.
Over 800 runners representing 30 Southern California high schools competed in this event, which sounds the starter’s gun on the 2021-22 Cross-Country season.
“This is the biggest Swarm in probably 50 years since we’ve been doing this,” said Mateo Cisneros, the event’s organizer, and Assistant Coach for Colton High’s Cross-Country team.
The Swarm gives runners an opportunity to compete before official schedules begin later in September. This relaxed atmosphere places an emphasis on growth, personal improvement, and teambuilding between those wearing familiar and unfamiliar colors alike.
As temperatures climbed into the mid-90s, student-athletes took off on their three-mile races throughout the football and baseball fields, over the Yellowjacket bridge, and twice around the perimeter of Colton High before returning to the stadium for the finish line.
Cross-Country races are organized by grade level and gender, each group designated to leave 30 minutes after the previous. Team points are earned by where runners place in their respective groups.
Beaumont High School showed out strongly today, taking team victories in both Freshmen groups, 1st place in the Senior Boys group, and 2nd in the Junior Girls.
Other notable schools were San Gorgonio High (1st, Sophomore Girls), Ridgecrest High (1st, Sophomore Boys), Norte Vista High (1st, Junior Girls), Oak Hills (1st, Junior Boys), and Fontana High (1st, Senior Girls).
The Yellowjackets did not place as a team in any of the groups.
“We have a lot of new runners this year,” said Frank A. Ibarra, Cross-Country Head Coach. “This is their first big race. So far, I am very impressed and happy that they are able to finish the race.”
Standouts for Colton High were sophomore Juan Barron, who came in 12th in his race with a time of 19:19.5, and senior Alma Vasquez, who placed 15th with a time of 23:15.3.
Natalie Solis, a sophomore participating in her first Cross-Country event, was happy with her performance at today’s Swarm. “I felt like I did pretty good for me joining about a week ago.” Now she sets her eyes on “getting a better time.”
Some on the team were very nervous, like team leader Alanna Anderson. “It’s nerve-wracking! I haven’t done this in about two years,” she said. “I’m really scared about what my time’s gonna be.”
As the Yellowjackets shake off the rust and the jitters, the overall feeling for the Swarm is excitement being part of the biggest Cross-Country event in Colton High School history.
ASB Athletic Commissioner and Cross-Country Team Manager Julia Romo thinks the event has an even better future: “I think Colton can get really big.”