The pursuit for the boys' NCS team title will definitely have a different look with the new teams added to this division. What could be quite similar is the section champions. San Ramon Valley steamrolled the rest of the competition by scoring 28 points to win their second consecutive title. Last year's championship may have been a bit of a surprise as they had to replace 5 of the top 7 from their 2009 Division I championship team. This year they return 6 of their top 7 from last year's team which includes the defending individual section champion, Parker Deuel. He finished the track and field season on the disabled list but not before running 4:20.52 and 9:48.18. Junior Matt Devries finished 4th last year in the section xc meet and ran 4:26.66 in the 1600m. Fellow juniors Zach Hanze (4:37.23/9:56.29) and Carl Wilke (4:40.40/10:05.50) and seniors Nicco Baumann (2:03.98/4:51.30/10:17.21) and Brian Hardy (1:59.04/4:20.90/10/07.90) give the Wolves quite a lineup and will be the overwhelming favorites going into next season.
The competition for second place should be between Maria Carrillo and Alameda. MC finished 6th last year in the uber competitive Division III race. They return 5 of their top 7 and at this point are slight favorites over Alameda. Senior Austin Rivas was their 2nd man last year running 16:30 on the Hayward course and recorded a pr of 4:43.79 on the track. The rest of their lineup includes sophomore Dante Hay who was impressive in his freshman season on the track running 1:57.26 and 4:33.33 and junior Harrison Luft who recorded a sub 10:00 3200m. effort on the track with a 9:56.71.
Alameda finished 3rd last year with 4 sophomores and a freshman making up their top 5. Now junior Steven Carlson finished 17th last year on the Hayward course and had an even more impressive track and field season (4:26.26/9:53.94). Fellow juniors Duc Nguyen (4:47.08/10:00.78), Reece Kamphuis (2:09.57/4:44.60) and Michael Moler and sophomore Cameron Tu (4:45.38) make the Hornets one of the state meet hopefuls and if the stars align correctly for them, they could challenge the teams I mentioned above.
The rest of the top 5 contenders includes Dougherty Valley which returns most of their 2010 lineup including Michael Sisario (4:53.14) and Anoop Gala (4:49.85) that finished in 12th place in the Division III field. Arroyo will have 4 of their top 6 back including their top 2, 3rd place finisher Adam White (9:46.71) and 16th place finisher Lorenzo Galindo (4:42.24/10:13.16). To add to this competitive division, you have several wild card teams who could potentially finish in the top 5 but at this point are on the bubble. College Park finished 2nd last year in Division I but will need to completely overhaul their lineup save for their 5th man Parker Marson (4:45.80). Mt. Eden finished 2nd here last year and return runners #3 (Emanuel Morales) and #5 (Giovani Perez). Casa Grande finished 4th here last year and return runners 4-7 (Harrison Wistock, Stanley Goto, Adam Lundquist, Aaron DalPoggetto). American HS finished 8th last year with a less than healthy lineup so if their core group of seniors return healthy they could be a factor.
The race for the boys' individual title will go through defending champion SRV's Deuel. His challengers will be similar to last year including 2nd place finisher Ukiah's Paul Holden (4:53.43/9:53.79), 3rd place finisher Arroyo's Adam White and 4th place finisher SRV's Matt DeVries. Nolan Petersen of Washington HS finished in 7th place last year and ran 10:11.41 on the track. Other runners in the mix include the already mentioned Zach Henze and Carl Wilke of SRV and Jose Mendoza of Montgomery HS. Alameda HS teammates Steven Carlson and Duc Nguyen improved during this past track and field season and should finish in the top 10. Austin Rivas of Maria Carrillo should also be a contender based on his time last year in the Division III race.
The girls' team race should be another interesting one this year with many teams in contention but with needs to shore up holes left by graduated athletes. Last year, in all my brilliance, I left Washington HS off the final rankings that were included in the section meet program. So how did Washington do at the NCS MOC meet at the Hayward course? They won of course! Congratulations goes to the Huskies runners and coaches and apologies for my sub-par work. I will try to do a little better this year with my predictions so here we go.
The favorite at this point appears to be the College Park girls. They finished in 2nd place last year in the always rugged Division I race. They will be led once again by junior Kendall Stuscavage (2:23.64/5:19.36) who finished in 9th place with a sub 19:00 effort. They lose their #2 runner Marissa Buckley but will have their #3 runner (Kazune Shidara 2:30.30/5:37.25), #4 runner (Parisa Broomand 5:46.20/11:58.16) and #5 runner (Amelia Lowry) back. They appear to need another runner to step up as their 5th runner but if you look at their history, this will be a tough team once again in November.
Last year, San Ramon Valley finished a very competitive 2nd to Washington (55 to 66). They return their #1 runner Elizabeth Hebel who finished in 2nd place running 18:48. They will also add Christine Bayliss who will be an incoming freshman next year at SRV. That gives SRV a tough 1/2 punch and considering this is one of the larger schools in Division II on top of being a very good program, there is a very good chance they will reload and compete quite well this coming season.
Maria Carrillo has been a consistent threat in both Divisions II and III. Since 2004, they won NCS in Division III in 2004, 2008 and 2009 and Division II in 2005. Their # 1 runner will be junior to be Lauren Kraus who finished in 3rd place in Division III running 18:28 and only losing to the two fastest runners overall in NCS (Carrie Verdon and Grace Orders of Campolindo). She recorded a personal record 11:05.45 at the always fast Arcadia Invitational. #2 runner Brynna Thigpen ran 19:39 last year on the Hayward course and recorded a season best 5:21.50 at the NCS Redwood Empire meet. MC also returns runners #3 through #6 (Kelly Birkland, Gretel Petrie, Sophia Ramos and
Last year's section race had quite a gap between the 3rd place team Carondelet (76) and the 4th place team Clayton Valley (135). I believe that this year's pursuit of the last state meet spot (3rd) will be much more competitive. The teams in position to compete for that last state meet berth are a combination of new teams to this division and teams that have experienced success in this division in previous seasons. Dougherty Valley returns all 7 from last year's team including an individual state meet qualifier, Isabelle De Metz (2:20.24). Alameda also returns their top 7 and will be looking to improve their 7th place finish of last year. Clayton Valley and Casa Grande both finished in the top 5 last year and each have a very strong #1 runners. Ashley Moffett of Casa Grande won the Division II title last year while Alexandra Tate of Clayton Valley finished in 4th place. Carondelet will be led by Shelby Vaculan who was the #3 runner for Carondelet and then impressed on the track with a 2:20.73 800m. Washington returns 3 from their section championship team including 8th place finisher Jessica Yee (2:26.03/5:27.70).
The chase for the individual title should be an interesting one. When you look at the contenders you always start with the defending champion and that is Moffett of Casa Grande. The fastest runner from last year's races is Kraus of Maria Carrillo. The next contenders will be Hebel of SRV who was just 5 seconds behind Moffett in last year's race. Tate of Clayton Valley has been a consistent top 10 runner in this division as has Amber Peirsol (2:25.54/5:10.95) of Windsor HS. Yee of Washington and Andrea Morales (2:32.89/5:27.80/12:05.65) of American HS also finished in the top 10 last year. Stuscavage of College Park and De Metz of Dougherty Valley were both competitive in their respective divisions and should also be considered here.
Division II Boys (Top 3 teams advance to state)
1) San Ramon Valley-This could be their 3rd NCS title in a row.
2) Maria Carrillo-Proven cross country program returns to Division II.
3) Alameda-Young talented team could be dangerous come November.
4) Dougherty Valley-This team competes in tough DFAL and will be battle tested.
5) Arroyo-Strong 1/2 punch will need to add depth to their lineup.
Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2010 NCS meet time:
Parker Deuel (1) San Ramon Valley 15:58
Paul Holden (2) Ukiah 16:17
Adam White (3) Arroyo 16:20
Matt DeVries (4) San Ramon Valley 16:23
Nolan Petersen (7) Washington 16:32
From Division III-Austin Rivas (30) Maria Carrillo 16:30
Division II Girls (Top 3 teams advance to state)
1) College Park-2nd place last year in tougher Division I race.
2) San Ramon Valley-Lose 4 of top 7 but don't let that fool you.
3) Maria Carrillo-Competitive team no matter the division.
4) Dougherty Valley-Individual state meet qualifier Isabelle De Metz leads the way.
5) Alameda-Top 7 return and thinking more than just top 5.
Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2010 NCS meet time:
Ashley Moffet (1) Casa Grande 18:43
Elizabeth Hebel (2) San Ramon Valley 18:48
Alexandra Tate (4) Clayton Valley 18:58
From Division I-Kendall Stuscavage (9) College Park 18:55
From Division III-Lauren Kraus (3) Maria Carrillo 18:28
Isabelle De Metz (14) Dougherty Valley 19:12
Feel free to comment on the above rankings. Lots of new teams now compete in this division. Did I miss anybody? Any surprises? Freshmen studs and/or studettes?
If your team website has been updated or you have a new link, send it my way (firstname.lastname@example.org) as well and I will update the link.