Wednesday, July 13, 2011
To put it simply, Girls Division II is going to come down to survival of the fittest. Looking at the powerhouse schools in DII you very well could have 6…7…8 teams slugging it out for just 4 spots. Who makes to the state meet could very well come down to everyone’s #5…or who has a runner with a huge breakthrough. At this point it’s all just a roll of the dice as is could take one bad day from one runner to be the difference in who goes to state and who stays home. It took me a few extra days to sort out the madness. The top 10 schools all have a strong tradition of great teams, strong JV and Frosh-Soph teams, strong feeder programs which leads to large numbers and all have great coaching. Take your pick from the reasons just listed above as to why this division will mostly likely end the season with 6 or 7 of the top 10 teams in the section. Year after year these teams bring it and will once again this year.
To reward the competitiveness and accomplishments at the state meet level in the past few years, CCS Division II has been awarded an additional state birth this year. But that doesn’t help settle the murky waters of DII. With 4 state meet spots up for grabs, a top ranked team could still be left on the outside looking in. With the addition of Saint Ignatius, the defending DIII Champs, the division got that much tougher.
If there is one team that stands out above the rest, it has to be Mountain View HS. For the last three years, this team has been the #1 team in CCS and in my opinion once again leads the way. Every year they lose 2, 3 or 4 of their top 7 and every year, young talent fills those roles. You can go for a run during any random afternoon in Rancho San Antonio and you can see that momentum is still rolling along. Despite losing two huge contributors, MV has 4 of the top 13 returning runners in DII and has some incoming talent that arguably make them the favorites to once again to repeat as theCCS top team. I know MV wants to downplay the fact they are the favorites but they are the one’s with the target on their back…after all they are the three time defending champs! Led by Allison Sturges, the Mercury News Runner of the Year the past two seasons look for this team to once again be #1.
St. Francis won the WCAL Championship last year in a season that had the league title up for grabs between 5 teams into a 20 point blow-out. Runner-up Saint Ignatius was closely followed by Presentation, Sacred Heart Cathedral (DIII) and Mitty. St. Francis was also last year’s runner-up in DII and has been rolling the last few years and this year is no different. Morgan Healy returns as the Lancers #1 runner and will be joined once again by standout Madeline Roemer. The 3-4-5 runners have graduated but St. Francis has a very deep JV and Frosh-Soph teams that will step up nicely. Coach Roberta Chisam does a fantastic job getting her girls ready to compete well at the end of the season and I would expect them to challenge for a top 4 spot and make the trip to Fresno come November.
Los Gatos was #3 last year and so I’m going to take the high road and plug them in there this year once
again! They have a killer 1-2 punch in Knapp and Katz and a bunch of runners who can run in the 20-21 minute range for three miles. Traditionally they get a large turn-out every year from Fischer middle school who had to cut their track team down to 200 athletes this past spring. A slew of 5:30-6:00 min. girls coming in will only strengthen the wildcats chances of finishing in the top 3.
After that, it’s a “you pick ‘em”… Presentation has a ton of talent returning led by Laura Vasquez. Saint Ignatius won the DIII title and was the runner-up in the WCAL Championship last fall. They lost last year’s #1 but return Kendall Hacker who finished last season as the 6th fastest CCS runner at the State Championship (18:34). Lauren Crowshaw leads a strong Aragon team that has been trending up the last few years and is looking to have a huge impact this season. Mitty also lost their #1 but are always tough and get quality runners year after year. And then there’s Willow Glen who has also been steadily getting better over the last few years and you can never count out Gilroy.
So as you can see, this is a mess and I am certain you all can do a better job than me. The good news through it all is that the CCS girls have really has a surge of depth over the last 5-10 years and we all know the stronger your 3-4-5 runners are the better you do in the big races. It is good to see the smaller CCS schools go and compete against larger Southern California schools and be able to do some damage. Another exciting division that makes racing exciting. It is certainly good for the sport!
DIV. 2 GIRLS: Team Pre-Season Rankings
1. Mountain View
2. St. Francis
3. Los Gatos
5. Saint Ignatius
In the hunt: Mitty, Aragon, Willow Glen
DIV. 2 GIRLS: Top Returning Individuals
1. Kendall Hacker, Saint Ignatius
2. Allison Sturges, Mtn. View
3. Lauren Croshaw, Aragon
4. Danielle Katz, Los Gatos
5. Kayla Knapp, Los Gatos
Feel free to comment on the above rankings. Thanks once again to Coach Small for his work on the CCS rankings.