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Friday, June 15, 2007

NCS Division II Pre-Season Rankings

The 2006 NCS Division II boys' race was easily one of the most competitive at last year's Meet of Champions on the Hayward HS course. Petaluma was the heavy favorite following their sweep (1-5) at their league final. Montgomery was an impressive 2nd to Maria Carrillo in the NBL finals led by eventual NCS champion, Blake McDowell. De La Salle was well, De La Salle. Going back to 1990, DLS has won 10 NCS titles combined in Division I and II. The wild card was Eureka HS which has not been a stranger to success with their 3 NCS titles as well as a state championship in 1999.

While Petaluma did win the race, it certainly wasn't as easy as many anticipated. Eureka gave Petaluma all they can handle packing their five runners before Petaluma's 5th runner. Any way you look at it, it was a great battle for NCS title as well as the state meet births. De La Salle, without the majority of runners that won three consecutive NCS titles, ran their best race of the year to capture the last state meet qualifying spot. Montgomery missed out on qualifying to the state meet while running very well as their top six runners finished in the top 33.

This year, the team favorite will once again be Petaluma. They return every team member and with 5 juniors in their top 6, they will be a force to reckon with for at least two more years. With Eureka losing 3 out of their top 5 and possibly moved to Division III, Petaluma's closest pursuers appear to be De La Salle. While they do lose their #1 runner Alex Davies, the rest of the team is back. Montgomery without McDowell and last year's #2 runner, Jeremy Cutcher, still has a nice pack that will contend.

The individual title for the boys will have to go through Sterling Lockert of Petaluma. He finished 13th as a freshman and 3rd last year as a sophomore. He also recorded an impressive 9:23.55 at the NCS MOC for Track to qualify for his first and definitely not last state Track meet. Teammates Brandon Felipe (4:39.67 and 9:58.07) and Devin Lockert, Sterling's twin (4:28.64 and 10:08.89), along with Nathanael Litwiller of Clayton Valley (4:21.61 and 9:46.9h) should all be part of the lead pack.

Carondelet is the best girls' team in NCS and oh by the way, defending Division II state champions. They return everybody with their top two runners (Nicole Hood and Heather Cerney) just completing their freshmen years. This could be the beginning of a long string of titles for this very talented group of runners. Their closest pursuers appear to be Washington and their lead runner, Elizabeth Raymond.

The race at the front of the girls' lead pack will feature the three best runners from this past Track and Field season. Much heralded freshmen Jacque Taylor of Casa Grande and Nicole Hood of Carandelet received all the press during XC season and much of the Track season. However at the NCS Meet of Champions meet, Diana George of Livermore completed a very difficult double, winning the 1600 (4:52.83) and 3200 (10:38.16). Taylor narrowly defeated George at the state meet as they both finished in the top 5 (10:34.39 and 10:35.55). Should be a great battle between the two front runners (Taylor and Hood) and the kicker (George).

Division II Boys (Top 3 teams advance to state)
1) Petaluma-Clear favorite for consecutive titles.
2) De La Salle-Solid 2nd, can they challenge Petaluma?
3) Montgomery-Just missed state meet last year.
4) Washington-Young team from last year all back.
5) Eureka-Loggers might be in Div. III.
On the bubble: Santa Rosa, Arroyo

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2006 NCS meet time:
Sterling Lockert (3) Petaluma 15:54
Nathanael Litwiller (5) Clayton Valley 16:00
Brandon Felipe (6) Petaluma 16:01
Devin Lockert (9) Petaluma 16:05
Eric Johnson (11) De La Salle 16:12

Division II Girls (Top 3 teams advance to state)
1) Carondelet-Reserve rooms for Fresno now.
2) Washington-Return top 3 runners.
3) Montgomery-Celeste Berg leads the way.
4) Santa Rosa-Top 5 return after 5th place finish.
5) Casa Grande-Looking to qualifying for first state meet as a team.
On the bubble: Livermore, Alameda

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2006 NCS meet time:
Jacque Taylor (1) Casa Grande 17:23
Nicole Hood (2) Carondelet 17:53
Kellie Houser (3) Carondelet 17:59
Heather Cerney (4) Carondelet 18:17
Sara Alliotti (6) Carondelet 18:29
From Div. I-Diana George (2) Livermore 18:08

Feel free to comment on the above rankings. Division III will be posted by end of the week.

12 comments:

generalkaia said...

I'm looking forward to DIII!

Anonymous said...

petaluma's website for XC is actually this one:
http://216.82.92.50/Cross_Country_Home.htm

Anonymous said...

Who is coming back for de la salle? who will be top 5?

Albert Caruana said...

Looking at the results from last year, they have their #2, #3, #4, and #6 runners returning. That would be Eric Johnson, Scott Riccabona, Quin Coughlin and Will Forrester. You would also have to add Mike Miller (2:05.16), Matt Savage (4:45.88), Spencer Sheaff (9:58.39) and Robb Vanwyck (10:08.2h) from this past Track season.

They will once again be a solid team.

Paul Berg said...

Division II Girls (Top 3 teams advance to state)
1) Carondelet-Reserve rooms for Fresno now.
2) Washington-Return top 3 runners.
3) Montgomery-Celeste Montgomery leads the way.
4) Santa Rosa-Top 5 return after 5th place finish.
5) Casa Grande-Looking to qualifying for first

#3Montgomery: She hasn't changed her name yet:
it's Celeste BERG!!

Paul Berg said...

Regarding your answer of who's coming back to de la salle, you're a bit confused:
Quin Coughlin runs for Montgomery HS

Albert Caruana said...

Paul, all fixed and thanks for catching those errors.

I meant to say Spencer Sheaff as one of the returning DLS runners. Quin, as you correctly stated, runs for Montgomery.

Best of luck to Celeste this coming season.

Anonymous said...

are those really the times for devin lockert and brandon felipe in the 3200m? It seems like they should have ran faster than that.

Albert Caruana said...

Those times are from the Press Democrat and compiled by Jim Crowhurst who does a great job compiling all the stats for Redwood Empire runners.

Link to 2007 times:
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/running/07bests.html

Anonymous said...

thank you paul, and thank you albert for this in-depth compilation. I too am looking forward to this season, its going to be a battle up in the NBL. The Montgomery/Carillo playing field has been leveled, and most all of the top boys have run together for a club.

Anonymous said...

Those are the times for Lockert and Felipe. Lockert focused on the mile this season. His fastest time was a "group run 3200"in a league meet with no competition. He never had a all out 3200 in track. Felipe had 9:58 3200. His strength is really cross country. Track has been an adjustment. He will be there come November.

Anonymous said...

Another watch out is the return of Benjamin Stern for Petaluma. He has been plagued by some freak injuries and growth issues since his frosh cross country season. His performance at NCS last year was on no summer running!!! Word on the streets is he is challenging Sterling Lockert this summer in team runs.