Friday, January 04, 2013

Northern California Track and Field Distance Preview

Ready or not, 2013 has arrived and we are still here (Hello Mayans!).  Hopefully it will be a lucky year for everybody when it comes to running and hurdling fast and jumping and throwing far.  First, we are going to take a peak at the top NorCal distance runners for the upcoming Track and Field season.  Based on this past Cross Country season, there will be plenty of intrigue when it comes to our local athletes competing against the best runners in the state.

The Defending Champion:  There are 6 opportunities to win a state title as a distance runner (boys and girls sides) and last year, junior Nikki Hiltz of Aptos HS took the 1600m. state crown for the lone NorCal victory.  She qualified for the state meet as a freshman by finishing in 2nd place at the CCS meet but didn't run at the state meet.  She doubled up (800 and 1600) at CCS as a sophomore and won both races.  She finished in 3rd place at the state meet as a sophomore in the 1600m.  Last year, Hiltz turned the CCS 1600/800 double once again in even more impressive fashion.  She defeated defending champion Cami Chapus at the state final to win her first state championship in 4:42.45.  With her impressive junior Cross Country and Track and Field seasons, Nikki was able to secure a scholarship to the University of Oregon in the fall.  

The Freshmen Girls:  Every new school year brings a new crop of freshmen and this year includes the best potential group of freshmen girls in Northern California history.  Now that is a quite a statement and I might not be enough of an authority to make it but if this isn't the best class of girls, it's up there.  The best of them all during Cross Country was Maggie Bell of Granite Bay HS (State Division 2 champion).  Unfortunately she will not be racing on the track this spring so next in line is a group of girls that will hold their own just the same.  If the times next to the athletes seem too good to be true, then they are more than likely 1500m. or 3000m. times.  Chloe Pigg (2:24.70/5:00.38) led Arcata HS to a 2nd place finish at the CA state XC meet in Division IV.  Her dad Mike was a world class Triathlete and has helped coach Chloe before and during her developing high school career.  Fiona O'Keeffe (2:25.90/5:17.10) of Davis HS finished in 6th place at the CA state meet in the Division 1 race.  Lauren Jacob (4:49.99/10:32.12) of Los Altos HS had the 3rd fastest time overall at the CCS meet in Toro Park trailing only Vanessa Fraser and Danielle Katz.  The rest of the freshmen girls in no particular order include Annaka Green (2:18.01/4:44.27/10:46.93) of Amador Valley HS, Priscilla Lee (58.46/2:14.27/4:50.58) of Evergreen Valley HS, Megan McCandless (10:50.29) of Granada HS and Brooke Starn (4:45.28/10:23.75) of Monte Vista HS.  Chloe Hansel of Las Lomas HS and Kendall Derry of Bella Vista HS led their respective schools during the Cross Country season to top 10 state rankings.

The Injured:  As with any sport, injuries are an unfortunate part of the equation.  The already mentioned Nikki Hiltz missed the entire Cross Country season due to a right foot stress fracture.  There is a chance she could be back racing this coming Track and Field season but that has not been confirmed yet.  Karlie Garcia of Oakmont HS missed the majority of her senior Cross Country season following a 5th place at the Foot Locker national meet as a junior.  Anna Maxwell of San Lorenzo Valley HS dealt with illness at the end of the recently completed Cross Country season.  She was spectacular during Track and the majority of her junior XC season.  Teammate Cody Johnson, last year's CCS 800m. champion and 5th place finisher at state, was shut down during XC due to to a hamstring injury.  Blair Hurlock of De La Salle HS led the way for the Spartans but also had his season ended early with a lower leg injury.  Annaka Green's XC season never got off the ground due to a stress fracture.

The Impact Players:  In no particular order.  There are plenty of runners that could have an impact at their own section as well as the state meet.  Yohaness Estifanos (4:13.81/9:08.06) of Milpitas HS had one of the best XC seasons in CCS history.  John Lawson (4:18.55/9:12.23) of Sir Francis Drake HS finished 9th at the Footlocker national meet.  Julia Maxwell (5:00.87/10:27.99) of Branson School won the state XC meet in Division V for the 2nd year in a row, qualified to the Footlocker national meet and last year finished in 4th place in the 3200m. at the CA state meet.  Eugene Hamilton III (1:52.84) of Bishop O'Dowd finished a close second at last year's NCS MOC and got valuable state meet experience.  Madison Ricks (2:09.52) of California HS was NCS champion last year and this past fall ran XC for the first time which bodes well for her this coming TF season.  Nijae Jones (2:10.39) of San Leandro HS gave Ricks all she can handle at NCS and then finished one spot ahead of Ricks at the state meet with a 6th place finish.  Cody Johnson (1:52.44) won CCS last year in dominating fashion and is the 2nd fastest senior returning in the 800m. in California.  Anna Maxwell (2:10.87/4:48.11/10:21.04) is a triple threat in all the distance races.  Nikki Hiltz is the defending state champion in the 1600 and will be a major threat to repeat if she returns from injury.  Kylie Goo (2:10.52) of Westmoor HS gave Hiltz all she can handle at CCS in the 800m. and qualified to the state final with her PR. Faith Makau (4:59.08) of Enochs HS was SJS champion and one of the last qualifiers to the state 1600m. race with her sub 5 minute effort.  Vanessa Fraser (4:54.32/10:28.63) of Scotts Valley HS is usually out shined by her league meets Maxwell (Anna) and Hiltz but she has more than held her own with multiple state championships in Cross Country and a 7th place finish in the 3200m. at last year's state meet.  Madeleine Ankhelyi (4:55.96/10:34.72) of Vista del Lago HS finished in 3rd place at the CA state XC meet in Division III and was a top 10 finisher at last year's 3200m. at state.  Jena Pianin (4:59.72/10:40.21) of Amador Valley HS finished just behind Ankhelyi at the CA state TF meet and was 3rd place this past XC season in the Division I race behind the 2 fastest runners in the entire meet.  Richard Ho (9:13.41) of Leland HS chased Estifanos to one of the fastest times on the Crystal Springs course this past XC season and finished in 7th place at the CA state XC meet.  Aidan Goltra (9:32.91) of Campolindo HS had to sit out the first month of XC season following his transfer but finished the season in grand fashion taking the Division III section and state titles.  Trent Brendel (4:21.56/9:23.98) of Granite Bay HS was voted SJS XC runner of the year and will be favored to take the 3200m. this season.  Danielle Katz (2:13.33/5:05.53/11:06.06) of Los Gatos HS had her best XC season to date and could be a threat in all three distance races in CCS.

The "At-Large" Standards:  This year, the North Coast Section lost an automatic state meet berth so now those "At-Large" standards are more in play  with only 3 automatic bids.  The question is what is the toughest distance standard for the boys and girls.  I won't get into comparing the boys marks to the girls but according to the rating charts I have for multiple distances, the marks should be ranked in this order:
Boys ("toughest" to "easiest")
1:52.92
9:09.03
4:16.38

Girls ("toughest" to "easiest")
10:39.88
2:12.10
4:59.51

Feel free to comment on the above article.  If you feel I missed anybody noteworthy, add their accomplishments and personal records below.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anna Maxwell is a junior, not a senior.

Rob Collins said...

Also both Anna and Cody are no longer injured and running quite a bit, Cody just had a slight tear in quad and could of easley have run him but we chose it was not worth it and has been running now since after CCS xc, wasn't taking a chance for his senior year of track and aiming for sub 1:50, a two week recovery was better than taking 6 to 8 weeks off and screwing up base!

Anonymous said...

Truly an outstanding bunch of freshman girls this year. A few minor updates/clarifications:

Chloe Pigg (2:24.70/5:00.38)
That 5:00 is a full mile - in 7th grade no less!

Fiona O'Keeffe (2:25.90/5:17.10)
also has 1500 PR of 4:45, 3000 PR of 10:11

Annaka Green (2:18.01/4:44.27/10:46.93)
her 1500 PR is actually 4:39(!)

Anonymous said...

I think it is important to note on the Freshman times whether those are mile, 1600, or 1500 times. I find it hard to believe that those Freshman girls have run miles/1600s in 4:4x.xx times, so I am assuming those are 1500 times?

Albert Caruana said...

Fixed Anna Maxwell's grade. I will see about updating those times and clarifying between 1500 and 1600 times.

Anonymous said...

julia maxwell's 1600 pr is 4:57 from last season not 5:00

Doug Griffith said...

Look out for Monte Vista's Chloe Winn in the 800. Only ran it a few times last year as a sophomore and was very successful. She's the fastest returning 400M runner in the section, but the 800 may be her best event in the long run. Will be fun to watch her progress in this event. 2:11/2:12 not out of question as a junior. Very talented runner!

Anonymous said...

The girls 800 in NCS is hands down the best event quality wise. Now with only three spots to state ( auto ) in could take 2:10 to advance.

Anonymous said...

@5:55

Wrong. The guys 800 by far is the most superior, with 2 returning from 2012 meet of champions finals having run sub 1:55. Also, in the prelims, there were about 10 non-seniors who ran sub-2:00 and will be back this year. Now, although Hamilton IS the favorite, keep in mind there are other runners, such as Faulkner, Mckinnen and others to contend with, so therefore even Hamilton is NOT guaranteed to make state.

Anonymous said...

Pesonally, I don't see a guy Running 1:55 having an impact at state. On the other hand the three girls picked in the preview could all make finals. As for Hamilton while he is not a sure bet as nothing is, it does seem from his first XC season and his sub 15;30 on the hayward course he has done the work to have a really good season. (remember last year was his first year running the 800 ) He may shock some people with a fast mile at an invite too :-)

Rob Collins said...

To be in the top 42 last year in California you had to Break 1:55.04! Lots of 1:55! The Slowest 1:55 was ranked 69th!

Anonymous said...

Who said anything about top 42? There are only 9 runners for the state finals, and last year, only 6 even broke 1:54. Also, I did NOT state that 1:55 would have an impact at state, but I DID imply that those who have run at NCS last year and are returning this year have a chance to improve. And so therefore it is possible that a 1:56 guy, for example, could IMPROVE to a 1:52 or better, such as Ratto had done last year.

Anonymous said...

Karlie Garcia won Foot Locker senior race w/ 19:22 with virtually no training all season long. If she stays on current path, she'll be below 11:00 easy and make state.

Anonymous said...

Girls 800 at NCS IS LOADED THIS YEAR, guys is just ok.

Anonymous said...

I agree the Girls 800 is quality. Both NCS and CCS have multiple possible state finalists. Ricks, Jones and Goo all ran sub 2:11 and made it into the final last year. Hiltz and Maxwell have similar (or better) speed and Katz is not far behind. It will be interesting to see who improves and makes the final 9 this year. May well be more than the 3 that made it last year.

Anonymous said...

I believe one of the rule changes this upcoming track season included the increase of 9 qualifiers in the 800 to 12 qualifiers at the CIF State Meet(to match the number of qualifiers in the 1600).

Anonymous said...

Impressive that someone could put together a Northern California Track and Field Distance Preview and not even mention the boys returning CCS champ in the 1600. George Baier M-A 4:20.77

Albert Caruana said...

But then you come in and save the day.