Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Los Gatos took back the title in 2010 and look to hold onto it as they are the team to beat this fall. The defending champs are loaded once again this year led by Grant Foster, who is the top returner from DII last year where he finished 3rd. Los Gatos brings back 4 of the top 20 returners this season including Henry Mannng and Ben Wagner who both were in the 16’s at Crystal Springs last season. This spring saw some big jumps from their 4-5-6 runners including Aru Rubin who ran 10:04 for 3200 meters.
Los Altos was runner-up last year by just 10 points and it looks like this fall will be a rematch between the top two teams. Austin Bowie leads the veteran squad running a season best 16:18 at Crystal Springs last fall. Bowie had a great spring running 4:25 for 1600 meters and looks to make the jump this fall and has to be considered one of the top contenders for the individual title. The strength of Los Altos though is their depth as they return 4 of the top 13 runners from last year’s CCS Finals. Looking at the stats it is going to be a tight battle for the team championship and is going to come down to the strength of the team’s #5 runner. Los Altos had some solid showings on the track this spring which will hopefully give them a bit of momentum coming into the fall. No matter how you look at it DII is going to be a tightly contested run for the team title and Los Altos is one of the heavyweights in this division.
Cupertino is trending up and on paper looks really good. So good in fact some might argue they should be #1 this pre-season. However, my rankings are based primarily on where you finished last season and who is coming back. Last season Cupertino finished 9th in the SCVAL Championship and did not have a scoring team in the CCS Finals so for now I will place them in the #3 spot. But don’t count them out the title hunt; last year was a funny year with muggy heat waved that really hit some teams hard. My guess would be that Cupertino will rebound and run a purpose this year as they will have something to prove. ‘Tino is strong up front with arguably the best 1-2 punch in D2 this year in Peter and Thomas Anthony. Peter had a stellar track season running 4:19 for 1600 and 9:28 for 3200 meters while Thomas was not far behind running 4:30 and 9:47 respectably. They will be joined by Shubhankar Jain and Bryce Chen-Campbell who were both in the 16:35 range at Crystal Springs last year.
Rounding out the top 5 are Aragon and Willow Glen. Aragon also has a strong 1-2 combo led by Rory Beyer and Christian Pedro. Pedro ran just 17:12 last year at Crystal Springs but had a fantastic track season running 4:30 for 1600 and 9:30 for 3200 meters. With solid 3-4-5 runners Aragon could surprise some people this year and really make a push for a top 3 spot. Willow Glen is also in that battle to get a top 3 spot and punch their ticket to the state meet. Last year’s DIII champions they got bumped up to DII in this year’s CBED’s. The team took a hit with graduation but if they can keep McCabe healthy and get a few runners to step up they are right there in the mix.
It seems odd not placing Mountain View in the top 5 of their division as they have been so strong as of late. I really think they will rebuild after the graduation of some top runners so I am going to take the easy route and give you my contenders list. These teams are all quality programs that could very well see themselves in the top 5: Mountain View, Leland, Lynbrook, St. Francis and Mitty. All quality programs in a tough division!
DIV. II BOYS: Team Pre-Season Rankings
1. Los Gatos
2. Los Altos
5. Willow Glen
DIV. 2 BOYS: Top Returning Individuals
1. Grant Foster, Los Gatos
2. Richard Ho, Leland
3. Peter Anthony, Cupertino
4. Henry Manning, Los Gatos
5. Dane Kreisman, Los Altos