It’s the usual suspects in the Girls' Division V title hunt for the upcoming 2011 cross country season. Crystal Springs Uplands School, coached by Albert Caruana, enters the season as defending champions and the favorites to repeat in 2011 and will look to improve upon their 12th place finish at last year’s state meet. The Gryphons will be led by Elsa Valenzuela and Alani Douglas who both finished inside the top 6 at CCS last season. Valenzuela will be chasing Kat Gregory for the individual title but it will be Priory (formerly Woodside Priory) and Castilleja who will be chasing CSU for the team title.
Since entering the CCS in 2008, coach Caruana has coached his team to three straight state meet appearances. CSUS finished 3rd that inaugural season and then in 2009 was the runner-up before they won their first team title in 2010. “We start each season with the initial goal to qualify for the state meet. Our 2nd goal is to win a trophy by finishing in the top 2 and our ultimate goal is to try to win CCS,” Caruana said. “I think we will have a good shot at accomplishing our goals. If things go right we have 2 of the best runners in Division V and the rest of our girls had solid track and field seasons.”
Castilleja was the runner-up in 2010 and looks to challenge CSUS once again. They lose their #1 and #3 runners but have a strong xc culture at the school that includes 8 CCS titles, six of which were won in the last 10 years and should be able to build on last year’s finish. Priory will also chase CSUS and has hopes of an upset. They will be led by the outstanding senior Kat Gregory who has been one of the top individuals in the section the past three years she leads her team’s hunt for their first title since 2008.
In the individual race, Kat Gregory is in search of her third consecutive title and will be the strong favorite after her 6th place finish at the CCS track and field championship running 11:05.70 in the 3200m.
DIV. 5 GIRLS: TEAM Pre-Season Rankings
1. Crystal Springs Uplands School
DIV. 5 GIRLS: Top Returning Individuals
1. Kat Gregory, Priory
2. Elsa Valenzuela, Crystal Springs Uplands School
3. Fiona Maloney-McCrystle, Castilleja
4. Alexandra Young, St. Francis CCC
5. Alani Douglas, Crystal Springs Uplands School
The rest of the CCS season previews: One division a week (Tuesdays-girls, Thursdays-boys)