- Ben Eversole (Castro Valley)-Finished fourth at NCS last year as a sophomore and followed that up with a track season where he ran 4:20.45 and 9:32.18. Moreover, he has a strong finishing kick and he doesn’t give up. This means it will be hard for anyone to separate from him during the race and even harder to pull away at the end. Eversole did not have a great state meet last year and just missed out on the state meet in track. He has also been described to me by an unnamed former Castro Valley coach, who now coaches at Northgate, as a bit cocky. When you take a cocky athlete with the physical tools that Eversole has, and two disappointing postseason meets and mix it all together, you’re likely going to end up with a motivated athlete who could very well make the jump from good to great.
- Alex Summers (Granada)-He has been unpredictable at times during his career, but one meet you can always pencil him in for a strong performance is at NCS (Cross Country or Track). Here is a listing of Alex’s NCS placings since his sophomore year. 2007 Cross Country: 15:43 for 8th. 2008 MOC’s 3200: 9:30.65. 2008 Cross Country: 15:41 for 3rd. 2009 MOC’s: 9:28.28. Each of those races was a pr for Alex at the time and given the health problems that Alex had late last track season, his 9:28 at MOC becomes all the more impressive.
- Ben Rich (Washington)-The MVAL champion ran 15:48 at NCS and neither one of those feats is his top highlight. Rich put an exclamation on his cross season last year by running 15:55 at Woodward Park. Rich continued his success into track season by winning both the 1600 and 3200 and finishing 2nd in the 800 at the MVAL finals. He also ran a pr of 9:33.96 in the 3200 and was on a very good DMR team for Washington that ran 10:35.72 at Arcadia.
- Paul Johnson (DeLaSalle)-Was a top 5 scorer last year for De La Salle and had a very strong finish to the track season, dropping his pr from about 9:50, into the mid 9:40’s to 9:35.30 during the postseason. If he can gain strength over the summer and peak as effectively in the fall as he did in the spring, the Spartan leader will have a shot at the individual title. De La Salle on the whole generally runs pretty well at NCS, so it is fair to expect Johnson to be at his best on November 21st.
- Parker Deuel (San Ramon Valley)-There are safer choices here (like Smiley of Monte Vista and Ashby of Castro Valley), but I would not be surprised if Deuel actually finished higher than fifth in this race. He had a very special freshman year that went largely unnoticed because he was often hiding in the frosh/soph division. He boasted times of 2:02.38, 4:34.18, and 10:06.67. He won all three of those events at the EBAL frosh/soph race and also ran away with the EBAL frosh/soph race in cross country. He would have easily been a top 7 runner for the Wolves on last year’s team had they decided to race him varsity and his times suggest we would have seen him at NCS Tri-Valley if he had raced varsity at the EBAL track meet. Watch out for Parker Deuel.
Girls Division 1
- Colleen Lillig (Cal High)-Colleen is the defending champ in this division and her track season did nothing to diminish her stock. This year she cracked 5:00 in the 1600 at Sac MOC and dropped a huge 10:32.30 in the 3200. She was 17th at State last year in Division I and if it wasn’t for an early fall, very well might have been top 10. This girl has improved throughout her high school career and now has a talented team to back her up. As long as Colleen stays off her snowboard this summer, I’m not sure if anything can get in her way.
- Kelsey Santisteban (Castro Valley)-If anyone can get in Lillig’s way, it will be Kelsey Santisteban. She has been the leader of Castro Valley’s monster girl’s team since she arrived. She looked tired at the end of track season last year, but was sharp at the beginning, only running slightly behind Diana George at the Dublin Distance Fiesta 3200. If Santisteban can race like that at the end of this cross country season, then she can run with anyone in the state.
- Natalie Dimits (Livermore)-Had a solid freshman cross country season last year. Well, actually she had a very good cross country season last year. She outdid herself at the end of her track season though. She ran 11:17.70 and has 5:09.25 mile speed to go with it. Assuming she is training for cross country this summer, and her pole vaulting result from the Dublin all-comer meets do not signal a full-time change in events (pretty sure she’ll still be running xc this year) she is ready for a big jump this cross country season.
- Nicole Aha (Monte Vista)-This senior leader of the Monte Vista Mustangs also recorded some impressive times on the track this year. With similar credentials to Dimits, she ran the 1600 in 5:15.92 and the 3200 in 11:12.04. These numbers suggest that even before the season begins, she is ready to run much faster than the 18:57 she posted at Hayward last year. Aha is a team player and her struggles at the end of the season may have been due to many doubles and triples in the tough EBAL including meets where she ran the 300 hurdles (pretty well I might add) and then the 3200 just two events later. During cross country, she will be able to concentrate on one race, which should help her save some energy down the stretch of the season.
5t) Elaine McVay (California)-I couldn’t decide between McVay and Martines for the #5 position, so I took the easy way out and made it a tie. I deserve criticism for that, so do your worst. McVay boasts the far superior track times and comparable, yet slightly slower cross country prs. My concern with Elaine is that her racing style can sometimes backfire on her. She tends to go out very hard and when that works, she runs really well. I have also seen her get into the hurt box early in races and if that happens on the wrong day it could be a disappointing day. She will be racing strong enough competition on November 21st where that is a possibility. If McVay can sure up her tactics, she may finish higher than #5, if not, it could go south (although she’s too good to go that far south).
5t) Marissa Martines (Castro Valley)-Martines was largely absent (at least from what I could find) during track season, but was the #2 runner on the Trojan cross country team. She has run 18:44 on the Hayward course. That is the fourth best returning time in the division (behind Lillig, Santisteban, and Jennifer Goldstein of Foothill, who underwent surgery following cross country season and has not raced since). Last year she beat Aha and McVay and had a faster time than Dimits, who is moving up from Division 2.
NCS Division II team and individual rankings will be up next. Stay tuned.
Thanks again to Jason for his time on the above rankings.