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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Division IV Pre-Season Rankings

When you look at the past five NCS Division IV boys' races, two teams have top 5 finishes in every championship. The first team is Arcata which has finished 1st in 2002, 5th in 2003, 5th in 2004, 5th in 2005 and 3rd in 2006. Piedmont is the other team with the multiple top 5 finishes with a 3rd in 2002, 1st in 2003, 2nd in 2004, 1st in 2005 (state champions) and 2nd in 2006. St. Mary's College appears to have joined those two as one of the top teams in Division IV by finishing in 4th in 2004, 2nd in 2005 and 1st in 2006.

They will once again be the favorites to repeat this year as they return every runner except their #2, Rob Riccardi. Their leader is Matt Duffy who had a spectacular season last year winning several invitationals (Ed Sias Small School Varsity, Stanford Invitational Division IV, and the Clovis Invitational Division 4 Small Races), the NCS Division IV race and a 7th place finish at the state meet. Duffy went on to record times in Track and Field from 800 to 3200 of 1:58.72, 4:19.18 and 9:23.12. As one Division IV coach said, "Duffy should be able to change his shoes and start his cool down before 2nd place comes in."

With St. Mary's safely locked into the top spot for the team championship, Moreau Catholic seems to return the next best group of runners as they return their top 4 runners and their 6th man. They are also no strangers to success as they have won two NCS titles in the past six years. That would leave one spot remaining for a team to enjoy a Thanksgiving getaway in lovely Fresno, California. At the time of this preview, I will include Sir Francis Drake, Arcata and Piedmont in the battle for that last spot.

With Duffy as the strong favorite for the title, the following group of runners should be part of the chase pack: Brian Fix of Moreau Catholic (4:42.75 and 10:27.71), Kenny Smith of Willits (4:36.74 and 10:06.39), and Joe Withers of Cardinal Newman (1:59.60 and 4:33.51). Watch out for another Newman runner, sophomore Brian King, who was the fastest freshman racer in 12th place. With the ability to train and race with Withers, King should see great improvement during his 2nd year of XC.

During the middle of the 2006 season, Piedmont had problems trying to field a complete girls' team at several of their league meets. When it came to the championship part of the season, they put it all together to win the BSAL and NCS crowns. Quite a season to go from pre-season favorites, mid-season nobody's to late season champions. So here I am again picking Piedmont as the favorites for 2007. The order for the rest of the pre-season rankings will be very similar to the finish of last year's NCS meet with the lone exception being St. Mary's leapfrogging Moreau Catholic for the #2 spot. This is due to the return of their impressive top three runners, Alex Choy (5:23.22 and 12:03.33), Margot Sullivan (5:20.21 and 11:59.56) and Taylor Lawson (2:20.49).

The individual favorite will be Sarah Sumpter of Healdsburg who finished in 2nd place last year as a junior following a 46th place finish during her sophomore season. She also returns with the best track credentials with 1600/3200 times of 5:19.71 and 11:05.74. Not surprisingly, her closest competitors were all freshmen last year: Jamie Kent of Piedmont (11:05.97), Theresa Devine of Marin Catholic, Luz Mejia of Encinal (2:28.21, and Allie Maher of Arcata. Senior to be, Kelsey Ripp of San Rafael, will also be in the mix as she finished in the top 10 last year as a Junior.

Division IV Boys (Top 3 Advance to state)
1) St. Mary's College-Defending champions will make it two in a row.
2) Moreau Catholic-The Fix is in for next NCS finisher.
3) Sir Francis Drake-Bill Taylor's 25th year at the helm of the boys.
4) Arcata-Mystery team from up north will challenge again.
5) Piedmont-History puts them here despite rebuilding year.
On the bubble: San Rafael, Cardinal Newman

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2006 NCS meet time:
Matt Duffy (6) St. Mary's College 15:25
Brian Fix (5) Moreau Catholic 16:08
Kenny Smith (7) Willits 16:10
Joe Withers (8) Cardinal Newman 16:18
Joaquin Smith (11) Arcata 16:23

Division IV Girls (Top 3 Advance to state)
1) Piedmont-Defending champions with 9 lives.
2) St. Mary's Colllege-Top 3 return to challenge Highlanders.
3) Moreau Catholic-One of largest Div. IV teams.
4) Arcata-Sophomore Maher will lead the way.
5) San Rafael-Can they crack the top 3 this year?
One the bubble: Sir Francis Drake, Ursuline

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2006 NCS meet time:
Sarah Sumpter (2) Healdsburg 18:20
Jamie Kent (3) Piedmont 18:56
Theresa Devine (4) Marin Catholic 19:00
Luz Mejia (6) Encinal 19:33
Allie Maher (7) Arcata 19:39

Feel free to comment on above rankings. Division V coming soon.

1 comment:

SMXC4life said...

Thanks for the rankings. Alex Choy's 1600m time is actually 5:23.22 from NCS MOC trials.