NCS DIII PRE-SEASON RANKINGS BOYS by Campolindo assistant coach Andy Lindquist
Year after year Division III remains the most competitive and deepest division in the NCS. Last year was no different as Piner and Campolindo staged a yearlong battle for supremacy with Campolindo emerging on top at the NCS championships and setting the team time course record (77:53) which had previously been held by the 2008 Camplindo team. However that victory proved to be short lived as Piner nipped Campo at the state championship meet by one point to secure 3rd place and their first ever spot on the podium. With Piner moving down into Division IV and Campo losing 5 out of their top 7 due to graduation, the door is open for a new team to claim the title. After many hours of analysis I have narrowed these rankings to the top 7 teams that have the potential to land in the top 4 and secure a spot at State. For sake of a simple comparison I have used NCS times from last year which are noted in parentheses () as well as the best track marks that I could find. They are listed below in no particular order:
PETALUMA: The Trojans went through some struggles last year with the resignation of head coach Jim Lynch and it showed as they wound up finishing 13th and missing state for the first time since 2004. However, they do return their entire top 7 from last year’s NCS team and have put up some respectable track times. Senior Ryan Douglas (16:02) clocked a 4:19 1600 and made it to MOC finals placing 7th while Kevin Poteracke (15:56) put up a solid 4:34 1600 and 10:05 3200. These two were dynamite for Petaluma in 2010 as sophomores so look for them to spearhead the attack and fill crucial leadership positions this upcoming season. Backing them are Duncan Gardner (17:47) and Tom Healy who ran 4:40 and 4:41 respectively. In order for the Trojans to get back to state they will have to pad out their depth at the #5, #6, and #7 positions.
Ups: solid #1/#2
Downs: Depth and leadership must come through this season.
ACALANES: After finishing 7th at least years meet, the Dons will seek to improve upon that finish and make state for the first time since 2008. Junior to be Michael Wang (16:33) had an impressive track season running 4:23 in the 1600 and making it to MOC. Senior Keenan Byrne (16:37) had a respectable track season running 4:39 and 10:00. After that things get interesting as mid distance star Adler Faulkner made up for a disappointing XC season to rip a 1:54.39 in the 800 this past track season. Considering he ran 15:51 at Hayward and qualified to state as a soph in 2010 the talent is certainly there to make an impact. Senior Tristain Tarpey had a breakout year in track running 4:32 for 1600 but it still remains to be seen if he can make in impact at the longer distance. After those 4 there is a sizable gap that would need to be filled if the Dons want to make it back to Fresno. Their #5 from last year Alec Weber (17:05) did not seem to put up any marks this past track season nor did 2011 DFAL JV champion Scott Lindsay.
Ups: Lots of talent at the top end
Downs: Need to put it all together on race day and shore up the back of the pack to really make an impact
BISHOP O'DOWD: The Dragons narrowly missed out on a trip to state last year, falling 3 points shy of 4th place and would have made state in any other division; however, that only seemed to motivate them to achieve even greater heights in track as the Dragons put together an amazing season with a lot of success in the middle distances and relays running 10:12 in the DMR and 7:46 in the 4x800. Despite losing some core runners due to graduation, look for O’Dowd to compete for a spot in the top 4. Junior Andrew Melendez qualified to state last year as an individual, running 15:42 which makes him one of the top returners in the division. Eugene Hamilton III (16:15) had an extremely impressive track season scorching a 1:52.84 in the 800 as well as placing 2nd at MOC and qualifying to state. If he can translate this track success to XC he will provide a huge impact for the team. Julian Siow (16:51) had a solid sophomore year running 4:49 for 1600 while the twin duo of Sean and Colin Burke both put up respectable frosh times running 4:55 and 4:56. Senior Marco Siler-Gonzales ran 10:16 this track season and could become an impact runner as well. The diamond in the rough here is junior Trevor Ruth who broke out last track season with a 1:56.56 in the 800. Again, if his success on the oval can be translated to the rigors of the 3 mile/5k he will provide even more depth for O’Dowd.
Ups: Loaded with talent and a good amount of depth
Downs: Compete in the toughest division in the NCS
LAS LOMAS: The Knights return a solid group with now junior Aidan Goltra (15:52) leading the charge. Aidan had a superb track season running 9:32 for 3200 and despite an off day at last year’s NCS meet, look for him to rebound this year and be in contention for an individual medal. Gajanth Anigol (16:33) is the next returner and he had a fairly successful track season running 10:05 for 3200 while Kailen Swain (16:49) had a nice season as well winning the DFAL 1600 on the frosh soph level in 4:43. Kelly Tarter (16:41) focused more on the middle distances and clocked a 2:12 for 800 meters. 7th man Sean Aylward focused on sprints yet again this track season running 51.49 for the open 400. Another varsity possibility is Keeson Davis who ran 4:43 and 10:16 as a freshman. Competing in the DFAL, one of the toughest leagues in the section should provide them with plenty of opportunities to test themselves against top notch opponents.
Ups: A solid and motivated group that wants to best DFAL rivals Miramonte and Campolindo
Downs: Needs to close up the pack margin if they want to keep up with the other top teams.
MIRAMONTE: The Matadors had a breakout campaign last season, finishing 3rd in NCS and 9th at state and will look to improve upon those placings this season. Senior Tyler Hanson (15:46) had a monster track season running 4:23 and 9:25, giving him the top 3200 mark out of all the returners in this division. Right on his heels will be Dillon Read (15:40) who was one of the most improved runners in the NCS last XC season. He backed those performances up with nice 4:31 and 9:59 marks during track and he will give Miramonte a deadly 1-2 punch. After that there is the vastly improved Mark Tamminga (16:14) who was able to dip under 4:30 barrier and run 4:28 this track season. Bobby Veres also improved a great deal this track season to bring his 1600 time down to 4:36. The only real question marks will be finding enough depth, especially in the #5 position. The next in line to step into that role is Senior James Mcfeely who had a 3200 best of 10:15 during track. It will be crucial for Miramonte to hone down the back end of their pack because despite having one of the best 1-2 punches in the section, that will not be able to make up for a weak #5 inflating their team score.
Ups: Strong front runners who can compete with the sections best and are hungry to snatch the DFAL Crown away from 4 time defending champ Campolindo.
Downs: Lack of solid depth.
CAMPOLINDO: The Cougars have been the most dominant team in the division for quite some time having won 6 out of the past 9 section titles as well as owning the top 2 team times in the history of the Hayward course. Despite losing 5 seniors from last year’s team, including individual champ Thomas Joyce, don’t count the Cougars out just yet. Senior Adam Hathaway (15:50) looks to be the #1 for Campo next season with his track times of 4:32 and 9:47. After him are 3 other seniors who will provide much needed leadership to fill in the gap left by graduation. Kevin Fong (16:16) has the best 3200 time out of the remaining returners with a 10:06 clocking while Cameron Sun was not too far behind in 10:09. Next up is Rod Farvard who enjoyed a productive track season and brought his 1600 down to 4:36. The real wild card in this is Michael Peterson who is the defending DFAL XC frosh soph champ who ran 4:45 and 10:20 during track. In order for the Cougars to continue their winning ways he will have to be able to step into his role on the varsity and adapt to the longer distances (frosh soph races in the DFAL are 2 miles). Campo’s biggest asset is their depth, especially at the frosh soph level where Isaac Valverde (10:18), Ben Weinberg (4:50, 10:27), and Will Moran (4:56, 10:32) all had a great deal of success.
Ups: Lots of depth and a winning tradition.
Downs: Lack of experience and a lack of strong frontrunners
REDWOOD: The Giants return 6 out of their top 7 from last year’s 4th place team and will look to win their first section title since 2000. Junior Fred Huxham (15:44) ran a blistering 4:22 1600 to complement his 9:33 3200 showing at MOC. Right behind him is Kyle Ryan (16:14) who ran 4:28 during track and Jack Bullock (16:19) who broke 10 minutes in the 3200 to run 9:58. Those 3 give Redwood a solid front end and fast improving soph Blake Alm (16:52) has closed the gap on the front 3 with a 4:36 clocking this track season in the 1600. Also returning are Dillon Foehr (16:22) and Max Friend (17:04). Depth is about the only thing the Giants are lacking but considering the amount of people they return they should be able to put together a lineup equally as good as Miramonte and the rest of the DFAL teams. Aside from that Redwood seems primed to compete with the sections best and challenge for the team title.
Ups: Lots of returners who had good track seasons
Downs: Depth could be an issue if one or two guys go down with illness or injury.
1. Redwood- The Giants have the front runners and depth to secure the title.
2. Miramonte- The Mats have a stellar 1-2.
3. Las Lomas- Young, motivated group ready to duke it out with the rest of the DFAL.
4. Campolindo- Championship pedigree and depth make the Cougars contenders for a trip to state.
5. Bishop O Dowd- Depth and fast rising youth give the Dragons the firepower to move into the top 4.
6. Petaluma- Returning their top 7 makes the task easier but the Trojans will need some step up performances to challenge for a state berth.
7. Acalanes- The dons have the talent at the top but will need to secure more depth if they want to compete with the other 6.
Ranking individuals is always difficult but I tried to narrow it down to who I think will be in the top 6 and who is right on the bubble. Things are really up in the air as so many of the top performers from last year have graduated or changed division.
1. Tyler Hanson- Miramonte
2. Danny Stalters- Northgate
3. Fred Huxham- Redwood
4. Aidan Goltra- Las Lomas
5. Dillon Read- Miramonte
6. Andrew Melendez- Bishop O’Dowd