Friday, July 04, 2008

NCS Division II Pre-Season Rankings '08

For all those teams hammering away the past few years to make the state meet, the road to Fresno got a little easier as perennial contenders (Eureka) dropped down to Division III for the '07 season and two time defending champions (Petaluma HS) dropped down this year. If you want to see a complete list of all the schools in each division for NCS, check out this link.

Since 1989, the De La Salle football team won 18 NCS championships (16 straight) and along the way won 151 straight games (national record)!!! At most campuses, those numbers would overshadow any other teams but at DLS, the football team is not the only fall sport with a running attack. Taking a gander at the same time period, the DLS cross country team won 11 NCS titles (5 straight in Division II from 1994-1998) and was ranked 3 times in the Harrier national rankings (5th in 1989, 11th in 1991 and 12th and 1996). They are still the only boys' team to be ranked in the top 25 in the nation from NCS.

Following their 3rd place finish in '06 and 2nd place finish last year, DLS will be the favorites to win the NCS title in '08 despite not returning the most fire power to this division. At this point, this is solely based on past history and the incredible depth they display each season. Since this division sends 3 teams to the state meet, the next few teams appear to be a toss up between Washington (return 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7), Santa Rosa (return 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7), Montgomery (return 3, 5, 6, and 7) and Alameda (return 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and yes you guessed it, 7...wow!).

The battle for the individual title will be Lockert (Sterling and Devin) free as the top 2 finishers from last year will now compete with their teammates in Division III. That means that the individual favorite(s) will be 1600m. victor at the NCS Meet of Champions and 3rd place finish here last year, Clayton Valley's Nathanael Litwiller and 3200m. NCS MOC champion and 2nd placer in Division I, Liberty's Wyatt Landrum. Their closest pursuer appears to be Andrew Zellman of Ukiah HS who finished just 3 seconds behind Litwiller last year on the Hayward course. De La Salle's top returning runner Spencer Sheaff and Arroyo's Danny Thomas should also be part of the lead pack.

The girls' team title will once again go through DLS neighbor, Carondelet HS. They return their top 3 runners based on the results of the '07 NCS and state meets. Following their '06 state championship, Carondelet finished a surprising 5th at state but don't count them out of making the podium again in Fresno this year. Now, if Carondelet was to stumble at NCS, the team that appears best equipped to unseat them is Livermore HS which returns possibly the best #1 runner in this division (Diana George) and oh by the way, their entire top 7 from last year.

With 3 teams making state from this division, the favorite for the last spot appears to be Casa Grande which qualified for their first state meet last year. Jacque Taylor leads this group with most of their state qualifying team returning except for their #3 runner. Keeping CG honest will be Irvington HS (4th here last year) who return their top 5 and Santa Rosa who return their top 3 runners.

The individual title comes down once again to the defending champion (Carondelet's Nicole Hood), the '06 champion and 4:49.63 1600 runner (Casa Grande's Jacque Taylor) and 2 time defending NCS 1600/3200 champion (Livermore's Diana George). Kellie Houser, 3200m. state meet qualifier (11:01.83) appears to be the only runner that can touch the big three based on her success on the track.

Division II Boys (Top 3 teams advance to state)
1) De La Salle-Historically tough team no matter division.
2) Washington-Tough top 3 back this year after elusive Fresno spot.
3) Alameda-Top 5 are back from last year.
4) Santa Rosa-Rory McLeod leads way here.
5) Montgomery-State meet qualifiers last year.
On the bubble: Liberty, Arroyo

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2007 NCS meet time:
Nathanael Litwiller (3) Clayton Valley 15:35
Andrew Zellman (4) Ukiah 15:38
Spencer Sheaff (8) De La Salle 15:53
Rory McLeod (11) Santa Rosa 16:05
Bisrat Zerehaimanot (13) Hayward 16:13
From Division I-Wyatt Landrum (2) Liberty 15:09

Division II Girls (Top 3 teams advance to state)
1) Carondelet-Two-time defending champions.
2) Livermore-Will be closer to Carondelet this year.
3) Casa Grande-Looking to qualifying for 2nd state meet as a team.
4) Irvington-Top 5 return following 4th place finish.
5) Santa Rosa-Top 5 return after 5th place finish.
On the bubble: Alameda, Montgomery, Washington

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2007 NCS meet time:
Nicole Hood (1) Carondelet 17:08
Jacque Taylor (2) Casa Grande 17:21
Diana George (3) Livermore 17:52
Heather Cerney (5) Carondelet 18:25
Kellie Houser (6) Carondelet 18:33

Feel free to comment on the above rankings.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is Jacque 2nd? She's a stud.

Albert Caruana said...

That's where she finished last year at the NCS MOC cross country meet.

Anonymous said...

any ideas of who will fill the void for dls?

Anonymous said...

Didn't Casa Grande girls qualify as a team in 07?

Albert Caruana said...

Casa did qualify as a team last year. I believe it was their first as a team in their school's history.

Thanks for catching that. I corrected the error.

Anonymous said...

Bring on those DIII rankings Albert! This is gonna be a great division.

Anonymous said...

GO CASA XC!!

Anonymous said...

DLS always has incredible depth like albert commented in his rankings. Their sixth and seventh last year at NCS were sophomores and both came in ahead of Peteluma's 6th. They had another sophomore last year that won the JV race at Stanford as well as a senior now who was plauged with injuries last year but ran 4:27 1600 at league and a 10:49 3200 at MOC during track.

fuel tank said...

DLS should win NCS with no problem especially with Fausto Melara returning.

Paul Johnson said...

Fausto Melara should have a good season. look at him to finish near the top individually at state.

Thomas Houser said...

Hey guys!

Steve said...

Shut up thomas!