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McAlister can't run for San Clemente

Published by
Catrina McAlister   Apr 14th 2011, 11:31pm

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

Posted: 04/13/2011 11:54:16 PM PDT

It appears Catrina McAlister's high school athletic career may be over.

The three-time Star-News cross country runner of the year from Arcadia High transferred to San Clemente three weeks ago. Her eligibility to compete for the Tritons has been denied.

A CIF-Southern Section spokesman cited Blue Book rule 206 in which the move was considered athletically motivated. McAlister's father, Claron, said paperwork to appeal the ruling was filed Wednesday. One CIF official said he had not seen the information.

McAlister, a senior, was watching former teammates compete at the Arcadia Invitational last Friday. A year ago, she won the invitational 3,200 meters at the meet. But this past weekend she could run only in a race down the street from her former school and won the female portion of the Santa Anita Derby 5K.

"I don't know how it could be an athletically motivated move," she said. "I could see (that it would be) if I didn't have a scholarship or the team wanted to break a record."

The senior, who recently signed a scholarship offer with the University of Colorado, said her parents bought a house in San Clemente less than a month ago.

"They've been looking since I have been in the third grade," she said. "Everything happened so fast. There is no reason for them to make this big investment for me to change schools for the last three months. There was no other reason (to transfer)."

Claron McAlister said he and his wife, Carla, bought the house because the 1,000 square-foot Arcadia property they were renting was too small for a family of five.

"Its disheartening for Catrina," the veteran L.A. County firefighter said. "It's doubtful that she will be able to (compete). But we`re going to try."

Arcadia officials apparently sought the denial of her eligibility after everything had appeared to be OK'd.

Athletic director Ryan Press declined to comment.

It is not the first time the family has disputed with the school.

The Apaches hired Jenny Landis as their coach, but McAlister said she wanted to train with the Arcadia boys, led by two-time CIF State cross country champion Ammar Moussa. She appealed to the school and Arcadia Unified School District board, but was denied the request.

McAlister placed second in the CIF-SS Division 1 meet and 10th in the state meet this past fall.

"It was a difficult season," McAlister said at the time. "It was one I don't want to go through again."

She's still pictured with Moussa on the school's Web site after signing with Colorado.

McAlister said if her season is over, so be it.

"It wasn't because of the situation," she said of the transfer. "It is a little bit sooner then I wanted, I guess. But I have college and other races, like Junior Nationals."

She will compete unattached in the Mt. SAC Relays in Friday's open 1,500.

"We had all the paperwork signed and it appeared OK," Claron McAlister said. "I don't know why they say it is athletically motivated. We signed a 30-year mortgage." 

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4 comment(s)
Chris Nickinson
Just saw the article. Dang, that sucks. Winning HS state titles is always a big deal but there will be bigger and better battles to be won! Good luck at CU!
Catrina McAlister
Thanks Matt! I can't wait until Colorado and even though I don't get to compete in CIF I'm really enjoying my family's new house! :)
I'm from Arcadia and know she did not like how Landis trained her, so she moved with Boy's XC coach. I believe her early season times before moving to Boy's were better than last year. Girls XC shared League title. Now I hear she does not like current coach training her, so they up and left town.
Sorry to hear about that... Good luck with what you can make of the rest of the season and look forward to a fun and exciting career at Colorado :)
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