Mitch Martin
Mitch Martin, No. 163, finished 21st at last year’s state cross-country championships. He will be running in his third state meet, Saturday.

If, for one moment, Mitch Martin were to be in charge of everything regarding the California Interscholastic Federation cross-country championships, he knows where he'd like to have the meet.

He would love to run his final high school race at the Crystal Springs Cross-Country Course in Belmont.

"It gives an advantage to all the Central Coast Section runners because they have run it before," Martin said.

Not to mention that Martin and the other CCS runners would be sleeping in their own beds the night before the meet instead of in a hotel somewhere in Fresno.

Alas, Martin is just a runner, one of about 200 runners scheduled to run in the Division IV race at 9:40 a.m., Saturday, at Woodward Park in Fresno.

For the second straight year, Martin will be running as an individual contestant. Half Moon Bay High School boys team missed getting a bid to the state meet as a team by one spot and 10 points.

However, Martin, a senior, won't be alone in the race, as teammate Logan Marshall, a sophomore, also qualified as an individual for Saturday's race. Having Marshall in the race means a lot to Martin.

"I have someone to warm up with," Martin said. "I also have a familiar face next to me on the starting line."

It's Marshall's first appearance as a participant at the state meet.

"I'd tell him, it's not going to be like any race he has ever done before," Martin said. "I would also tell him to really push it in the second mile."

Woodward Park has been the site of the state meet since the first one back in 1986. There are no steep hills like at Crystal Springs, though there are a few rolling hills.

"There are no parts I can complain about," Martin said. "It's a fast course."

Last year, Martin finished 21st in the 204-man field, running the 5K course in 16 minutes, 16 seconds.

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