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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Hayward High School NCS XC Course

Below is the NCS Course. For more maps of cross country courses, go to the front page of this blog and scroll down the right side of the page.

Courtesy of Miramonte XC website.

N.C.S. Division I Mid-Season Rankings

Just as in many other sections, Division I doesn't always yield the most powerful teams or deepest competition. The majority of the teams usually fall in either Division II or III unless you are one of the many SS Division I teams. NCS Division I might not be the deepest division but the top teams can compete favorably with any of the stellar teams in the other divisions.

It appears that College Park will be the team to beat in both boys and girls. After longtime coach, Chuck Woolridge, moved to rival Campolindo during the summer, CP still has the culture of winning that has been in place there for many years. They have run very well in league and at Stanford and continued their fine running at the Castro Valley Invitational.

Without the presence of three time defending champion De La Salle which got bumped down to Division II, the road to the state meet opens up a bit. CP's closest pursuer will be Deer Valley which finished 5th behind the Falcons' victory at Stanford. They will be lead by senior Anthony Palermini although their top returner from last year is senior James Avery. The last state meet birth could come down to a trio of teams that will hope to peak at Hayward. Those three teams will be Liberty, Castro Valley and San Ramon Valley. Liberty got the best of Castro Valley on CV's "home" course so they appear to have the upper hand at this point.

The boy's individual favorite will be Andy Peabody of College Park. He's the fastest returner from last year's championship meet as well as a state meet qualifier in the 3200 meters on the Track. The race will be for second among the following runners: James Fazzio of Castro Valley, Doug Whichard of Granada, and the much improved Bhavik Kanzaria of Monte Vista and Pallermini of DV. Liberty's sophomore Wyatt Landrum should be in the mix come November and keep on eye out for junior Jeremy Rubio of College Park who is CP's #2 man behind Peabody.

On the girl's side in this division, it's top two or stay at home during Thanksgiving. With College Park appearing to be the favorite for the 1st place, the 2nd. state meet qualifier will come down to a battle between California H.S. and Castro Valley. CV upended Cal High at their invitational and gave CP quite a scare but SAT Saturday leaves many teams just shy of their top lineup.

The girls individual title will go through Diana George of Livermore who handily won the title last year as a freshman. She is currently nursing an injury so that might open the door for the next freshman phenom, Alycia Cridebring of College Park. She finished a strong 2nd. at Stanford as well as another 2nd. place finish to Jacque Taylor at the Castro Valley Invitational. Yet another freshman, California's Colleen Lillig could also be in the mix if any of the top runners falter.

Division I Boys (Top 3 advance to state)
1) College Park-Peabody will be favorite for individual crown.
2) Liberty-Strong 2nd at Castro Valley Invite.
3) Deer Valley-Could be sleeper this year.
4) Castro Valley-Run well when it counts.
5) San Ramon Valley-Returns top 7 runners.

Top 5 Individuals based on season to date:
Andy Peabody (12) College Park
Doug Whichard (12) Granada
Jeremy Rubio (11) College Park
Wyatt Landrum (10) Liberty
James Fazzio (11) Castro Valley

Division I Girls (Top 2 advance to state)
1) College Park-The cupboard is definitely not bare.
2) Castro Valley-Historically strong program.
3) California H.S.-Strong up front with star freshman.
4) San Ramon Valley-One of best combined programs.
5) Deer Valley-Strong upside with Hodges.
On the bubble: Antioch

Top Five Individuals based on season to date:
Alycia Cridebring (9) College Park
Diana George (10) Livermore
Zuna Portillo (12) Pittsburgh
Colleen Lillig (9) California H.S.
Alexis Nordine (12) San Ramon Valley

Feel free to comment on the above rankings. The next rankings will be at NCS. Any helpful information would be appreciated.

Monday, October 09, 2006

N.C.S. Divison II Mid-Season Rankings

Trying to figure out the top teams in each division can be very difficult but when it comes to Divison II, there are two teams that stand above the rest. Petaluma will be the team to beat in the boys while Carandolet seems to be the lock of the meet when it comes to NCS time for the girls. Both teams are young and talented and their best running seems to lay ahead of them considering their youth.

Petaluma has the opportunity to claim their first section championship since 1978 as they return the best team in this division. With Maria Carrillo moving down to Division III, it appears that many fans will miss out on a great team battle in Hayward. How close are those two teams? In a head to head battle with Maria Carrillo, Petaluma defeated them 28-33 and at Stanford in different races, Petaluma had a team average of 16:37 and team time of 83:01 while Maria Carrillo recorded a team average of 16:37 (sound familiar?) and team time of 83:02! The battle here will be for second and it seems to be a tight battle between Montgomery, Eureka and making a return to Divison II will be De La Salle.

The individual battle will go through Blake McDowell of Santa Rosa who has established himself as the runner to beat in this division with some fine running in the big races including a victory at Stanford. Sterling Lockert and Brandon Felipe bested McDowell in league meet so don't count them out.

During the summer, I picked Carandolet as the team to beat in this division but in no way could I have predicted how good this team would be this year. In a short stretch of time, Carandolet has quickly established themselves as the best team in NCS, period. They are lead by a very talented freshman who runs with more experience than your typical freshman. The rest of the teams will be battling for second and those teams include Arroyo

In what should be a great individual battle, Nicole Hood of Carandolet and Jacque Taylor of Casa Grande will start what appears to be a great rivalry that we will get to watch for the next four years. Carandolet could finish with four in the top 10 with Ashley Chan of Arroyo somewhere in the mix of that group.

Division II Boys (Top 3 Advance to state)
1) Petaluma-Four freshmen on their varsity last year.
2) Montgomery-Everybody is back from 4th place finish last year.
3) Eureka-Watch out for them.
4) De La Salle-Success in past puts them here.
5) Santa Rosa-Returns 5 out top 7 runners.

Top 5 Individuals based on season so far:
Blake McDowall (12) Montgomery
Sterling Lockert (10) Petaluma
Miguel Castro (12) Alameda
Brandon Felipe (10) Petaluma
Alex Davies (12) De La Salle

Division II Girls (Top 4 advance to state)
1) Carondelet-Top team in NCS.
2) Arroyo-Ashley Chan leads the way.
3) Alameda-Not a stranger to Woodward Park.
4) Santa Rosa-Can break into top 3.
5) Montgomery Toss up with Santa Rosa.

Top 5 Individuals based on season so far:
Nicole Hood (9) Carandolet
Jacque Taylor (9) Casa Grande
Kellie Houser (9) Carandolet
Sara Alliotti (10) Carondelet
Beth Raymond (11) Washington

Feel free to comment on the above rankings. Division I is on the way.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

N.C.S. Division III Mid-Season Rankings

What the Bay Area Conference is to Division V, the DFAL is to Division III. The winning teams and state meet qualifiers usually come from the who’s who in the DFAL. This year a familiar foe returns to the Division III battles as Maria Carrillo drops down from Division II. MC definitely has the runners to compete with anybody in this division in both races. Dan Aldridge made a name for himself as an outstanding runner and now is in charge of one of the best combined programs in NCS.

The boys' division winners will have to go through Acalanes once again this year. They return the most ammunition from last year's 2nd place finisher but that does not always lead to an NCS title. At this point they are ranked 2nd in state and first in NCS based on their performance from last year and their impressive run in the DFAL this year. Time will tell whether they deserve their #1 ranking here.

The top individual in this division has been Joey Kochlacs of Campolindo who has proved himself against many of the top runners in the state. James Attarian of Dublin finished a close 4th behind Kochlacs' 3rd place finish at Stanford. Acalanes teammates Nate Beach and Connor Mooney will challenge for the individual crown. Greg Drosky of Las Lomas claimed 1st place at Clovis and should be not be forgotten.

Maria Carrillo's girls seem to be the team to beat at this point after defeating Campolindo in a head to head battle at Stanford. Las Lomas has impressed early with a very young and talented team. Close behind those three teams will be Miramonte who won the Lowell Invitational and have been known to peak well come November. Las Lomas got the upper hand over Miramonte as the Matadors will now have to regroup without their injured #1 runner. Should make for a very exciting and competitive race.

With Alexi Pappas of Bishop O'Dowd not running this year and with Miramonte's Elaine Tansky's season apparently over, the early favorite for the girls is Laurie Finnegan of Campolindo after her impressive run at Stanford. She will battle with Jenny Bergren from Miramonte as well as senior Kristen Sanzari of Maria Carrillo. Watch out for Campolindo's Murrillo at the end of year who always runs well comes championship time.

Division III Boys (Top 4 Advance to state)
1) Acalanes-Top 4 return to win first crown.
2) Maria Carrillo-Deep, competitive team that could upset.
3) Campolindo-Kochlacs has been impressive early.
4) Las Lomas-Young talented team.
5) Bishop O’Dowd-In a battle to hold this spot.
On the bubble: Miramonte, Redwood H.S.

Top 5 Individuals based on season so far:
Joey Kochlacs (12) Campolindo
James Attarian (11) Dublin
Greg Drosky (11) Las Lomas
Nate Beach (11) Acalanes
Calvin Thigpen (12) Maria Carrillo

Division III Girls (Top 4 Advance to state)
1) Maria Carrillo-Ready to battle best of DFAL.
2) Campolindo-Return strongest lineup to defend crown.
3) Las LomasImpressive victory at Clovis.
4) Miramonte-Not to be overlooked in this division.
5) Bishop O’Dowd-Tough sledding without Pappas.
One the bubble: Albany

Top 5 Individuals based on season so far:
Laurie Finnegan (11) Campolindo
Elaine Tanski (10) Miramonte (Could be done this year.)
Jenny Bergren (12) Miramonte
Kristen Sanzari (12) Maria Carrillo
Alia Gray (12) Maria Carrillo

Division II will will be posted shortly. Feel free to comment on above rankings.

Monday, October 02, 2006

N.C.S. Division IV Mid-Season Rankings

In day's past, teams would stay undercover until they ran in their league finals, section championship and then hopefully at state. That day has come and gone with the internet boom and the coverage from dyestatcal for California teams. With that in mind, we have some NCS Division IV teams who have managed to hide in the weeds which makes it tough to identify the top teams for ranking purposes.

So that leaves me with the unenviable task of ranking Division IV teams for NCS but here goes. Looking at the top boys' teams, without question, the hottest team to date has been St. Mary's of Berkeley. They are lead by Matt Duffy who is coming into his own as a Junior. With an impressive victory at the Stanford Invitational, Duffy lead the Panthers to a 3rd place finish behind the 6th and 7th state ranked teams, Carmel and Oaks Christian.

Who are the best teams behind St. Mary's of Berkeley? Piedmont has been the most consistent team in Division IV and they oh by the way won the state championship last year. Mark Ceraldi and Jesse Baldridge return giving the Highlanders a nice 1/2 punch. With a traditionally small field in the NCS Division IV final, Piedmont should have enough behind their top duo to make a return trip to state.

The final state meet birth should come down to a battle between Sir Francis Drake, San Rafael, and Arcata. Looking at the Stanford and Lowell Invitational results, the difference between those four teams is minimal at best. It should be interesting what happens in the next month as teams gear up for the post season.

The girls' division IV race should be quite interesting now that Arcata lost the majority of last year's NCS championship team. Before the season, it looked like Piedmont had the most returning firepower but at this point, they remain a mystery. So for now, San Rafael seems to be the team to beat with an impressive 6th place showing at Stanford.

The individual battle has a new contender as Sarah Sumpter of Healdsburg who turned in an eye popping 19:05 at Stanford to finish in 6th place. This is not a surprise considering all her early season times which make her one of the most improved runners in NCS, if not the state. Kelsey Ripp of San Rafael, Allie Maher of Arcata and Lora Morchini of Salesian all recorded top 15 finishes at Stanford. Brittany Escamila of El Molino will find this division to her liking as she moves into this division from the ultra competitive Division III battles.

Division IV Boys (Top 3 Advance to state)
1) St. Mary's Berkeley-Best Div. IV team so far this season.
2) Piedmont-Can they put it together again this year?
3) San Rafael-Dave Buscho leads the way for the Bulldogs.
4) Sir Francis Drake-Will challenge for state meet birth.
5) Arcata-Deep, competitive team that could upset.

Top 5 Individuals based on season to date:
Matt Duffy (11) St. Mary's Berkeley
Mark Ceraldi (12) Piedmont
David Buscho (12) San Rafael
Joe Withers (11) Cardinal Newman
Jesse Baldridge (12) Piedmont

Division IV Girls (Top 3 Advance to state)
1) San Rafael-Looking for their 1st State Meet berth.
2) Arcata They know how to run well in November.
3) Moreau Catholic-Consistent top program.
4) El Molino H.S.-Senior Brittany Escamila leads the way.
5) Ursuline H.S.-They have made state 3 out of the last 4 years.

Top 5 Individuals based on season to date:
Sarah Sumpter (11) Healdsburg
Kelsey Ripp (11) San Rafael
Allie Maher (9) Arcata
Brittany Escamila (12) El Molino
Lora Marchini (12) Salesian

Division III will be posted shortly. Feel free to comment on above rankings.