Defending NCS champion Petaluma appears to be holding all the cards again this year. The Trojans return 5 of their 7, led by senior Forrest Schaeffer who was 4th last year. Schaeffer added a 9:38.09 3200 to his credentials during the track season. Las Lomas brings back 4 of 7 from their 3rd place squad last year. Their frontrunner is senior Carl Gracely. Campolindo also returns 4 from last year’s runner-up team. Senior Dylan Laucher was 8th at MOC last year, and ran a 4:26.4 1600 and 9:39.97 3200. Piner moves inot the picture, bringing back 4 sophomores(now juniors) from last year’s team, including ace Luis Luna who was 2nd here last year.and 11th at the State Meet. Luis went on to run 9:16.19 for the 3200. Acalanes has a strong group returning as well, with junior Tyler Sorenson at the front. Individually, Luna (Piner) is at the head of the class. Schaeffer (Petaluma) and Laucher (Campolindo) are also top candidates. Eureka has the intriguing pair of Nick Kraus and Robin O’Connell who ran 9th and 10th last year. 1. Petaluma the purple-clad harriers are favored again. 2. Las Lomas can the Knights challenge for the top? 3. Campolindo the Cougars are right in the mix. 4. Piner just how far can Luna take this young group? 5. Acalanes solid pack. Lurking: Eureka with a quick 1-2 punch, anything can happen. Miramonte the Matadors are never really out of it. Girls Campolindo is the clear favorite here. Not only do they return 6 of 7 from last year, they had a heck of a track season last year. Junior Carrie Verdon scorched to a 4:56.77/10:42.87 double last year, Grace Orders ran 5:05.58 and 10:44.89, and Sarah Orders, Sara Mostatabi and Brooke Martini added 11:27.53, 11:31.68 and 11:37.48 respectively. Acalanes is strong as well, with 6 of 7 returning as well. Sophomore Kellie Berg is the returning frontrunner, while sister Katie ran 2:15.80 in the 800 in the spring. Bishop O’Dowd also comes back with just about everyone, with junior Maria Diaz and senior Kaitlyn Spees sharing the top honors. Defending champion Maria Carillo is 2nd only to Campolindo in top returnees, led by sophomore Lauren Kraus who ran 5:12.08 and 11:17.42 in track. The Pumas drop off a bit after the first three. Petaluma is poised to make a return trip to the State Meet with a flock of returning sophomores, led by Francsca Honey. Dougherty Valley is the defending D-IV champion and brings back 1-6, but the air is a bit more rarified in D-III. Victoria De Metz in their top runner. Miramonte returns 5 veterans, and is just a step off the ranking consideration. Top 10 finishers and State Meet advancers from last year include Verdon and Orders of Campolindo, senior Shelby Nickles of Dublin, Kraus and Heidi Thiele of Maria Carillo, Kellie Berg of Acalanes senior, Courtney Madson of Novato, and Diaz of Bishop O’Dowd. 1. Campolindo the powerhouse. 2. Acalanes can the Dons close the gap on Campolindo? 3. Bishop O’Dowd the Dragons are solid. 4. Maria Carillo can the Pumas shore up the back end? 5. Petaluma a good 1-2; can 3-4-5 close the gap? Lurking: Miramonte lots of strong veterans. Dougherty Valley can they make the jump to D-III?
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