Scott Fickerson feels the best is yet to come for his Santa Barbara City College cross country teams.

“They’re training hard and racing as best as they can for where we are,” the Vaqueros’ first-year coach said. “We’re putting all our focus into the WSC (Oct. 28 in Santa Maria), so until now, we have been racing very tired. I expect we’ll see some big drops at SBCC and even more at the WSC Championships.”

The Vaqueros will be in action this Saturday in their only home meet of the year — the SBCC Invitational. Forty-eight teams are expected to compete (26 women’s, 22 men’s) with about 200 female runners in the 3-mile women’s race that starts at 11 a.m. at Shoreline Park and 250 in the 4-mile men’s race that begins at 11:45 a.m. at Leadbetter Beach.

A 3-mile open race will kick off the day at 10 a.m. The entry fee for the open race is $10, and all proceeds will benefit the SBCC cross country teams. Click here to enter online, or enter on the day of the race from 9 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.

Fickerson tabs Orange Coast as the favorite in both men’s and women’s races. Both Pirate teams won the Southern Cal Preview two weeks ago.

“Our women are looking to be a little bit more consistent,” Fickerson said. “We had half the squad perform well at Bakersfield and half perform well at Glendale. If we can put everyone across the finish line at their potential in the same meet, we’ll be a much stronger team.

“The men are going to be keying off Oxnard and Hancock, the two teams ahead of us in the WSC. We will put ourselves up with them in this race as that’s where we need to be next week.”

Dave Loveton is Santa Barbara City College‘s sports information specialist.