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Thursday, June 13, 2013

2013 NCS Division V Pre-Season Rankings (Girls)

The North Coast Section girls continued their domination of this division at the state meet level with 5 teams in the top 10 last year.  They also placed 5 individual girls in the top 10 including the top two finishers (Julia Maxwell and Anna Harleen, both of Branson School).  The University girls won their 4th straight state team title (10th overall) and the Lick Wilmerding girls won their first plaque in school history by placing 3rd, just ahead of the Branson girls.  With 6 teams qualifying from the NCS meet, it won't be long before this section gets rewarded with another automatic state meet berth.

The favorite for the team title this year will be Branson.  They return the two best runners in this division and the team will include 6 seniors who finished in 3rd place at the NCS meet and 4th at the state meet.  Maxwell dealt with an injury during the tail end of the track and field season which kept her from competing in the post season meets.  Despite that, she is the most talented runner in this division and should return to her elite status be the beginning of the cross country season.  Anna Harleen finished in 2nd place to her more heralded teammate in many invitationals and meets.  With an influx of one or two talented freshmen, Branson could be quite formidable this coming season as they chase their first cross country section title in school history.

The team that will give Branson all that they could handle is Lick Wilmerding.  2012 was the coming out party for the LW girls as they pushed University to the brink with a narrow 42-43 defeat at the BCL West Championship race.  They then finished 2nd to University at the NCS meet by a score of 66-76.  Their 3rd place finish at the state meet was also by a slim margin as only 16 points separated the top 3 teams (Thacher finished in 2nd place).  Molly Dicke continued her fine running this past track season with a 7th place finish at the NCS MOC meet in the 3200m. (11:15.99).  Teammate Andie Von Eschen (11:56.19) gives LW their own dynamic duo who also return 6 of their 7 from last season.

Another contender for a top 3 finish is Convent and they could leapfrog the top two contenders if all things are clicking along for them next year.  They return their top 2 runners from last cross country season, Camilla Bykhovsky (5:30.17) and Sarah Selzer (12:52.34).  Freshman Mae Singer (2:37.22/5:33.08) and junior Julia Nemy (2:32.35/5:42.82) performed well on the track and give Convent a nice pack of four along with their top 2 runners.  A couple more solid runners and they could challenge the top two teams.

At this point, most divisions drop significantly after the top 3 teams but in this division, we are just getting warmed up.  You can never count out the University girls despite what may seem like significant losses to their team over the past two seasons (Holland Reynolds, Bridget Blum and Jennie Callan).  They return Grace Euphrat-Weston (12:47.56), Izzy Simon (2:32.07) and the Locksley twins (Sydney and Morgan).  University has usually added an impact freshman or two each season so that is always in the mix.  Coach Jim Tracy has also developed new runners or found other gems in other sports.  He must be doing something awfully right to win TEN! state championships.

The rest of the challengers for the state meet spots will include Marin Academy (led by Bevin McCullough), Urban (led by Molly Carleton) and Athenian (led by Delaney Inamine).  College Prep, a consistent contender here may be in rebuilding mode this season but don't count out traditional success.  Sonoma Academy and St. Joseph Notre Dame have been very successful on the boys side so a couple of additions on the girls side could make them contenders as well.

The race for the individual title starts and ends with Julia Maxwell.  Despite the injury during track season, Julia is still the top runner in NCS, regardless of division.  At last year's NCS MOC mudfest, Maxwell recorded the fastest time of any girl by 24 seconds over Jena Pianin who went on to finish 3rd place in the Division I state meet race.  Maxwell also won her 2nd straight state title by 61 seconds.  With the first place spot out of contention, the battle will be for 2nd place between Harleen of Branson and Dicke of Lick Wilmerding.  Erin Thomas of Mendocino won the Stanford Invitational and finished a competitive 4th at last year's NCS meet.  

Division V Girls (Top 6 Advance to state)
1) Branson-Is this the year, Branson wins their 1st section crown?
2) Lick Wilmerding-No surprise if they win this division.
3) Convent-Impressive track season puts them here.
4) University-4 NCS and state titles in a row.  Tough to bet against them.
5) Marin Academy-Another consistent threat in this division.
6) Urban-A healthy Molly Carleton puts the Blue in state meet contention.
On the bubble:  AthenianCollege PrepHead RoyceSonoma Academy.

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2012 NCS meet time:
Julia Maxwell (1) Branson 17:22
Anna Harleen (2) Branson 18:49
Molly Dicke (3) Lick Wilmerding 19:00
Erin Thomas (4) Mendocino 19:08
Camilla Bykhovsky (7) Convent 19:36

Please feel free to chime in on the rankings above. I won't be offended if you strongly disagree as the above rankings are meant to be a launching pad for conversation. Fortunately section titles and state meet berths are decided by the runners themselves. Did I miss any teams or individuals? Any other impact freshmen that we should know about?

Boys coming up later this weekend...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent write up and it is hard to disagree with anything you said. Thanks so much for doing it (especially since your own school is in CCS). We really appreciate it.

Looks like BCL West is going to be a bear of a conference this year. I don't know how many total teams there are in NCS Division V, but 5 out of the 6 top ranked teams are in the same little conference.

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