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Campus Canvass

No standstill for Stancliff

Music-loving Placer graduate adjusts to stiff competition at junior college power American River
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Luke Stancliff did not do much chasing in his cross country career at Placer High. He’s still having a tough time getting used to it at the college level. The competition at American River College is so fierce that even the most talented prep runners often find it difficult to crack the Beavers’ lineup. “We’ve been top three in NorCal for nine straight years,” Beavers coach Rick Anderson said. “The kids that come here know they’re going to have to fight to be in the top seven. This year is probably the strongest team we’ve ever had.” Stancliff raced to sixth place at the Big 8 Conference Championships last week at American River, helping the Beavers cost to their sixth straight conference title. However ARC held out its top five runners to save them for the NorCal Championships in San Mateo, leaving Stancliff as an alternate for Saturday’s meet. “I wanted to be up higher,” Stancliff said. “I could have done better, I just got lost (from the lead group) after one of the hills and couldn’t get back up there. I’m staying motivated and focused this week, trying to kick my own (butt) to get that spot in the lineup.” Stancliff said he truly appreciates the competitive atmosphere at ARC, where every day’s workout is a battle against top runners from schools around the region. “It’s like an all-star lineup from all around Sacramento,” Stancliff said. “It’s great. I have great teammates and coaches. It’s hard coming here and not being up top, but I still like to do it. I’m just not as talented at the four-mile races.” Stancliff will certainly play a more prominent role when the Beavers hit the track in the spring. He was a key freshman on ARC’s state championship squad last season, slicing seconds off both his 1,500-meter (3:57.52) and 800-meter (1:54.15) times. He finished in the top 10 in the state in the 1,500 and earned a trip to the national junior college championships in Eugene, Ore. He led the national race for 1,000 meters before running out of pace down the stretch. “He’s definitely stronger in track,” Anderson said. “Cross-country doesn’t suit him as well, but it gives him an outstanding base and he ran very well all year.” Stancliff lives near the ARC campus with some teammates and former teammates. “It’s a big bonding experience,” he said. And he’s got the perfect job for a college student — serving up ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. Stancliff said he would love to run at a four-year school next year, but he’s still pondering his academic future. He has not decided on a major, but is leaning toward something music-related. “I really like music, my whole family’s always been in to music, but I’m just not sure exactly what I want to do,” Stancliff explained. “I like listening to new things, music from all over the world. Music is everything to me.”