What is typically the strongest cross country section in NorCal?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Toro Park Course Clean Up on Saturday, August 26th at 9am

Added today:
We have finalized plans for a local taqueria to provide large burritos and a drink for $7 each for our clean up day.  Please let us know by Wednesday (8/23) evening how many from your team we can expect for lunch.  Don't forget to have a waiver signed by all participating, the County will be collecting.
Thank you all in advance!
Barbara Chagnon
Salinas HS XC
Toro Park will be the course for this year's Central Coast Section (CCS) meet. After the park was used as a staging area for the Soberanes fires, the park has areas that need to be cleaned up.

On Saturday, August 26th, local teams will be there to clean up the park but they will need our help. You can check out the link below for more info as well as a waiver that will need to be filled out to help.

Any questions should be directed to Salinas HS coach Roger Chagnon at chagnon@ultimanet.com

The link to the clean up day and the waiver can be found HERE.

Donation to Cross Country Express site

If you have enjoyed all the pre-season Cross Country previews on this website this summer or would like to donate for the upcoming season, a kind donation would be appreciated.  You can do so with the link to the right.  If you don't do online payments, you can email me at albertjcaruana@gmail.com and I will send you an address where you can send a check.

This site will remain a free service throughout the upcoming cross country season but as you know, a lot of time and effort goes into the maintenance of the website.

Thank you to any of you that are considering donating.  It's very much appreciated.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Northern California Track and Field records through 2017 season

Best overall marks in all events for the following sections updated through 2017 Track and Field season:

100 Kenny O'Neal Skyline (OAK) 10.34 2004
200 Calvin Harrison North Salinas (CCS) 20.57 1993
400 Calvin Harrison North Salinas (CCS) 45.25 1993
800 Pete Richardson Berkeley (NCS) 1:47.31 1981
1600 Cooper Teare St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS) 3:58.76 2017
3200 German Fernandez Riverbank (SJS) 8:31.42 (converted time) 2008 (California record)
110 Hurdles (39") Kevin Craddock James Logan (NCS)13.39 2004
300 Hurdles David Klech California (NCS) 35.45 2006
4 x 100 Relay Skyline (OAK) 40.78 1995
4 x 400 Relay Berkeley (NCS) 3:08.94 1981
Long Jump Ken Duncan McClatchy (SJS) 26'2.25" 1972
Triple Jump Ken Frazier Mission (SF) 52'4.75" 1981
High Jump Maurice Crumby Balboa SF (1983)/Darius Carbin Mt. Pleasant CCS (2016) 7'4.5" (california record)
Pole Vault Brent Burns Acalanes (NCS) 17'8.5" 1987
Shot Put Nathan Esparza Amador Valley (NCS) 69'4.75" 2016
Discus Dave Porath Atwater (SJS) 209'6" 1978

Other Events
1500 German Fernandez Riverbank (SJS) 3:44.8 (en route to longer race)
Mile Cooper Teare St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS) 4:00.16 2017
3000 German Fernandez Riverbank (SJS) 7:59.83 2008 (national record)
5000 Eric Mastalir Jesuit (SJS) 14:01.40 1986 (California record)
6 miles Rod Berry Redwood (NCS) 29:13.2 1977
10000 Brett Gotcher Aptos (CCS) 30:18.41 2002
Marathon Mitch Kingery San Carlos (CCS) 2:23:47 1973 (California record)
2000 Steeplechase Steve Guerrini Santa Rosa (NCS) 5:43.9 1991 (California record)
3000 Steeplechase Steve Guerrini Santa Rosa (NCS) 9:22.13 1991
110 Hurdles (42') Kevin Craddock James Logan (NCS) 13.74 2004 (national record)
400 Hurdles David Klech California (NCS) 50.35 2006
4 x 200 Relay Berkeley (NCS) 1:25.1 1981
4 x 800 Relay De La Salle (NCS) 7:41.35 1997
4 x 1600 Jesuit (SJS) 17:22.6 1986
1600 Sprint Medley Relay Berkeley (NCS) 3:21.1 1981
Distance Medley Relay Jesuit (SJS) 9:56.3 1986 (California record)
Decathlon Tom McGraw Los Gatos (CCS) 6971 1981

100 Ashton Purvis St. Elizabeth (NCS) 11.17 2010
200 Tania Woods Skyline (OAK) 22.88 1999
400 Kathy Hammond 52.1 Mira Loma (SJS) 1969
800 Ann Regan Camden (CCS) 2:04.37 1977
1600 Alex Kosinski Oak Ridge (SJS) 4:38.15 2007
3200 Laurynn Chetelat Davis (SJS) 9:52.51 2008
100 Hurdles Vashti Thomas Mt. Pleasant (CCS) 13.03 2007
300 Hurdles Leslie Maxie Mills (CCS) 40.18 1984
4 x 100 Relay Berkeley (NCS) 45.13 1981
4 x 400 Relay James Logan (NCS) 3:37.85 2004
Long Jump Jamesha Youngblood Hercules (NCS) 21'0" 2007
Triple Jump Brittany Daniels Merrill West (SJS) 44'11.75" 2004 (national record)
High Jump Wendy Brown Woodside (CCS) 6'2.25" 1984/Julie Broughton Woodland (SJS) 6'2.25" 1989
Pole Vault Tori Anthony Castilleja (CCS) 14'1.25" 2007
Shot Put Elena Bruckner Valley Christian SJ (CCS) 54'7" 2016 (California record)
Discus Suzy Powell Downey (SJS) 188'4" 1994

Other Events
1500 Francie Larrieu Fremont (CCS) 4:16.8 1969
3000 Cory Schubert Del Mar (CCS) 9:11.80 1983 (California record)
5000 Caitlin Chock Granite Bay (SJS) 15:52.88 2004
10000 Roxanne Bier Independence (CCS) 34:54.8 1978
Marathon Heike Skaden Encina (SJS) 2:43:00 1980 (California record)
2000 Steeplechase Rylee Bowen Sonoma Academy (NCS) 6:41.26 2015 (California record)
3000 Steeplechase Jenny Aldridge Maria Carrillo (NCS) 10:49.63
400 Hurdles Leslie Maxie Mills (CCS) 55.20 1984 (California record)
4 x 200 Relay Mt. Pleasant (CCS) 1:39.14 2007/James Logan (NCS) 1:36.41 2006 Indoors
4 x 800 Relay Archbishop Mitty (CCS) 9:10.96 2005
4 x 1600 Relay Davis (SJS) 20:03.24 2014
800 Sprint Medley Relay Berkeley (NCS) 1:42.08 2000
1600 Sprint Medley Relay Piedmont Hills (CCS) 3:59.65 2014
Distance Medley Relay San Lorenzo Valley (CCS) 11:41.28 2000
4 x 100 Hurdles Relay Vacaville (SJS) 57.17 2014 (California record)
Heptathlon Shevell Quinley Merrill West (SJS) 5266 2005

Any errors? Let me know.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bob Shor Obituary

You can find it at this LINK thanks to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Friday, August 11, 2017

My Reflection on the Passing of Bob Shor by Chris Puppione

I have enjoyed a pretty blessed existence, in that much of my life has remained steady despite my occasionally turbulent tendencies.

Perhaps that's why I felt an odd connection to Bob Shor (Michael Lucid photo) across the last 20 years. He was always there, and he knew what it meant to be an explosive personality, yet truly gentle at the core.

Bob was nothing if not furiously dedicated, and I understood that. I also understood what that kind of commitment can do to a man.

It can make you appear strict. It can make you appear compulsive. It can make you appear inflexible.

Truthfully, however, that kind of dedication--which is truly devotion--is so striking, many do not know how to respond--not even the man from whom it emanates. Bob was indeed complex, but his mission--his vocation--was quite simple. He was a man who believed he was here to serve others, and there is no greater calling than that.

Over the years, I came to see Bob for all of his immensity. Make no mistake, despite the slight frame, we all recognized him as a large man. We were not so much with him, as we were among him. He commanded that much space, and he deserved it--because space is given with an air of respect.

And while many of us witnessed his fire in many public moments of "educating" an athlete who may have taken a misstep, I do hope people watched more closely between the races, during the staging, in practice sessions, and away from the starter's perch.

Did you ever have Bob whisper you an encouraging word when he knew you needed it most? Were you that first-time youth runner who needed track to be your safe place? Or that foolhardy young coach who thought he'd seen it all only to have reality drop on your head like a 16-pound shot?

Yeah, I was the last one.

I had the chance to watch Bob interact with the kids of Santa Rosa Express and other youth clubs at USATF meets, and I can tell you, he was like a grandfather to all. When I heard of his passing, I did a search on social media of his name to see how far the news had reached, and even the NCS great Aisha Margain--from the East Bay--posted a noted about how much she adored Bob Shor.

Look, make no mistake, Bob was tough, but its a tough that was rare and a tough that we will miss. Despite all the gruffness, he was the one my boys at Cardinal Newman lovingly memorialized for eternity with their epic "A Day in the Life of Bob Shor" sketches on our van rides home from meets.

He was a local running icon--and that is undeniable.

In the last few years, I would take some time at each meet Bob was starting to visit with him. As I said, I felt a kinship there. He knew I was a pretty excitable guy as well--believe me. But we both loved our sport, and we loved it because of what it does for the kids we served.

No one has served those kids better than Bob Shor, and I guess I just wanted a little of that magic to rub off on me. And I believe some of it did.

Bob had an incredible speech he would give before most races, and generations of kids have internalized it, I am sure. The part that lingers with me now is just a snippet from his well-rehearsed monologue. It was when he was reminding the athletes that he would not fire the gun until they were all perfectly still.

"...not JUST you, but EVERYBODY..."

It is interesting how that phrase strikes me now. Perhaps sentimentality is luring me toward a different understanding, but it does strike me as something that is very central to the sport of running--and that is community.

It is not JUST about you, even though running can be regarded as an individual sport. You can run on your own, but it is more enjoyable with EVERYBODY there with you.

Bob has always been there for you. He has always been there for EVERYBODY.

So when the kids stand behind their blocks, or take two steps back from the line, we will respect the space that is created there. We will know that this empty space is where Bob would be, giving his final instructions before the kids take another shot at discovering just how great they can truly be.

Godspeed, Bob.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Bob Shor

I am very sad to report that Bob Shor passed away this morning after battling illness for the past few years. Most of you would know Bob from starting a lot of meets especially in the Santa Rosa area. He was also the starter for the Dublin Distance Fiesta, Castro Valley Invitational and NCS MOC XC meet for many years. Bob was also a youth coach in the Santa Rosa area. May he rest in peace. He was definitely one of the good guys in our sports. Photo  to the right courtesy of Michael McGuire.

I have no information of funeral services at this point. If I hear differently, I will update this post.
The following are two posts from Santa Rosa coaches Doug Courtemarche and Carrie Joseph.
First Doug:
A long and dear friend of mine and Santa Rosa High School Track and Cross Country passed away this morning. Bob Shor was part of Santa Rosa High for around 20 years. He was a coach and starter for our meets. Bob and I worked together for over 30 years with the Santa Rosa Express Youth club and the high school. Bob voluntarily offered his numerous services to any group that he could accommodate. Bob started meets allover the country and never sought compensation. He freely gave his time and expertise whenever he could. Bob was truly a legend not only in Sonoma County but throughout Northern California and In Youth track nationally. Bob was an active member of the Empire Runners of Sonoma County.
I met with his wife and daughter this morning and they are both doing fine. Bob suffered from multiple forms of cancer for the past year. There will be some sort of service in the early fall.
You will be missed, Bob. Happy starting in Heaven.
Second is Carrie:
Bob Shor was an icon, an institution, a legend. He touched 1000s of young athletes' lives. Gruff yet gentle, he had a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to impart. He was a Vietnam Vet from New York City, a 4:20 miler, a great storyteller. Old School all the way, which would cause him some bewilderment as times changed of course. He was especially patient with young kids in SR Express, and I have many fond memories of Bob being surprisingly playful with my own children as they grew up on the track because I towed them there every day.
Despite his health problems the last few years, he never missed a day of practice until this past CC season. One of the hardest core routine skills we do are what we call the "Bob Shor Leg Hovers" -- it's too painful to even describe here, but let's just say he made it look easy. I know our athletes would sigh with relief when we would travel to a foreign track or CC course and see Bob with the starter pistol -- partly because they knew Bob inspired fear in their competitors, but also because they knew the real Bob.
Bob was meticulous about his beloved track, arriving to practice hours early to pull weeds, straighten curbs, and repair equipment. He knew the rule book inside and out. He probably wrote it, actually. 
Thank you, Bob.
Here is an article from 2011 after Bob won the Kathy Van Riper Inspiration Award:

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Sac-Joaquin Section Individual Rankings

Divisions for upcoming season just posted at:

1) Collin Ullrich Liberty Ranch
2) Matt Strangio Jesuit
3) Jonah Wiener-Brodkey McClatchy
4) Santiago Ruiz Joseph Gregori
5) Drew Spencer Oak Ridge
6) Sergio Lopez Del Campo
7) Mason Reeves Joseph Gregori
8) Garrett Gough Nevada Union
9) Damian King Bella Vista
10) Conner Ryan Placer

1) Maddy Denner Oak Ridge
2) Elena Denner Oak Ridge
3) Olivia O'Keeffe Davis
4) Sydney Vandegrift St. Francis, Sacramento
5) Isabella Fauria St. Francis, Sacramento
6) Clarissa Nowag-Nelson McClatchy
7) Alize Hartke Oakmont
8) Cassie Land Sonora
9) Kaela Dishion Bret Harte
10) Sophia Karperos Rio Americano

If you feel like there are runners that belong on the lists above, please feel free to add their names in the comment section below. Also, from looking at the divisions for the upcoming season, what teams moved divisions from last year and will have an impact in a different division this year?

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Meet the Pro: An Evening With Strava Track Club's Ayla Granados (Wed, August 9th)

This event will take place Wednesday, August 9th at Thornberry Running and Sports Therapy in Pleasanton from 8pm to 9pm. You can find all the info to the event along how to register at this LINK.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

2017/2018 NorCal's top freshmen

Started by a comment in a previous post. If you have other freshmen to add to the list, please add them and their times in the comment section below.

Isabelle Cairns is from Woodside and had a good track season. She ran a 2:16 800 and 4:56 1500. The club girls run 1500 so that needs to be converted. I get 5:17 for 1600. She ran XC last year but in track she focused on the 400 and 800 so it's unclear if she will run XC in HS. I also don't know what HS she is going to. (believed to be going to St. Francis, MV)

Natalie Harper is headed to Cosumnes Oaks. She ran 5:11 at Halden for 1600 and also ran 4:50 for 1500. She also ran a 10:36 3000. She will certainly be a big factor for CO.

Madison Denny is headed to Armijo. She ran a 4:47 1500 which converts to a 5:08 for 1600. She also ran a 2:20 800 and a 10:32 3000. She has the fastest 1500 and 3000 times for Northern California middle school girls and the 2nd fastest 800 to Isabelle Cairns. I also heard that Luis Grijalva's coach is staying on with Armijo to coach her. Not sure if that's true but if so, that could be huge. Times courtesy of athletic.net

Collin Peattie RJ Fisher MS in Los Gatos, PRs that I could find for him are 2:04.46 and 4:37.32. Believed to be going to Bellarmine.

Maya Lacamp Lick-Wilmerding 4:59.01 1500m

Dylan Gunn Campolindo 4:25 1500, 9:33 3000m

Chloe Decker Christian Brothers (SJS) 12.64 (100m), 26.21 (200m)

Teia Chou Sunnyvale MS now going to Homestead HS (CCS) 2:24 (800m), 5:28 (1600m)

Others? Sprinters? Jumpers? Throwers? 

HOKA Distance Clinic on August 5th at Sacramento City College

Join us Sat, 5 August for a special opportunity to listen and learn  from one of America's
 greatest coaching legends  -  Dr. Joe Vigil
Don't miss this opportunity to listen and learn from coaching legend Dr. Joe Vigil Saturday, 5 August.  Whether an experienced or new coach...a hard core endurance coach/runner or new to the sport...Dr. Vigil in addition to other respected regional speakers will educate and motivate you for the upcoming season!
pre-registration closes Thursday, 3 August

8:00-9:00am - Registration in foyer of Lillard Hall, Sacramento City College
9:00-9:10 - Introduction and Orientation
9:15-10:45 - Dr. Joe Vigil - Championship Cross Country Training
11:00-12:30 - Dr. Paul Salitsky - The Competitive Edge: Getting It/Keeping It 
12:30-1:45 - lunch and vendor raffle
1:45-3:15 - Dr. Joe Vigil - Building A Cross Country Culture
3:30-5:00 - Rob McClendon - topic tba

Dr. Joe Vigil: A USATF Legend Coach, Vigil is arguably America's greatest endurance coach. Collegiately, Vigil led Adams State to 19 National Cross Country Championships, the most of any NAIA/NCAA Track or Cross Country Program. In addition to that accomplishment his Cross Country and Track athletes have achieved an amazing 20 podium appearances at World Championships and Olympic Games competitions. Vigil is the only USA Coach to attain this competitive standard. Coach Vigil has also mentored 47 individual USATF Champions who have set 17 National records and two of his athletes achieved No. 1 World Rankings! Among his most recent proteges are Olympic Marathon Medalist Deena Kastor, Brenda Martinez, and Boris Berian. A prolific writer and motivational speaker, Dr. Vigil continues to inform and inspire coaches and athletes at all levels of our sport(s).

Dr. Paul Salitsky:  Salitsky is in his 21st year on the Faculty of UC Davis in the area of Applied Sport & Exercise Psychology and Motor Learning. Dr. Salitsky is an Internationally recognized authority in the Field of Performance Psychology and has contributed to the USOC and USATF Sports Psychology programs. Salitsky has worked closely with the successful Nor-Cal Distance Program since its inception. He is a Certified Mentor Trainer with Positive Coaching Alliance and has presented over 200 workshops nationwide in all facets of Coaching Education.

Rob McClendon: As the Head Cross Country and Assistant Track Coach in charge of Distances at Truckee HS, McClendon has developed a strong Cross Country Program capturing 3 Nevada State 3A Girls Titles in Cross Country in the past four years. Rob attended Cal State San Marcos University where he was coached and mentored by Steve Scott, the American Record Holder in the Mile. Rob was an NAIA All American in Cross Country and specialized in the 3000m Steeplechase in Track.

CLINIC COST: Seating limited, reserve your seat soon!
$55.00 - School or club staffs or 2 or more by Thursday, 3 Augustby 11:59pm
$65.00 - Individual pre-registered by Thursday, 3 August by 11:59pm$85.00 - Registration at the door 
REGISTRATION PAGE (for individuals and staffs):https://www.simplyregister.net/register/?e=111385
For school or clubs with personal or school checks contact Peanut Harms at nutboy51@yahoo.com by 3 August at 11:59pm

- All pre-registered coaches will receive presentation notes of each session
HOKA OneOne clinic t-shirts for the first 100 registrants 
- Free kit and product information from clinic vendors
- A portion of the clinic's proceeds goes towards scholarships for Pacific Association coaches to     attend an Assoc. Level 1 Schools.

Don't miss this opportunity to listen and learn from one of America's greatest coaches!
For a complete listing of coaching education opportunities in the Pacific Association of USATF,  

Monday, July 31, 2017

Tully Runners National Team Rankings

For those of you that are familiar with the Tully Runners rankings, you know the pre-season team national rankings were posted yesterday. The rankings, thanks to Bill Meylan (photo courtesy of Stephen D. Cannerelli), have been around since 2000 and are based on his speed rating. In total, 18 California teams (8 NorCal) are ranked or at the very least mentioned. You can find the girls and boys rankings at the following links:

Friday, July 28, 2017

What would you like to see next?

Here is your chance to come up with the next topic, rankings or any other idea you may have for this site. We are getting close to the start of the cross country competitive season. I know it's still July but September is not that far away. Feel free to be creative and all topics will be considered.

NorCal Pre-Season Top 10 XC Teams (boys and girls)

1) Dublin (NCS) Division II
2) Bellarmine (CCS) Division I
3) St. Francis, Mt. View (CCS) Division II
4) Willow Glen (CCS) Division II
5) Granada (NCS) Division II
6) Homestead (CCS) Division I
7) Maria Carrillo (NCS) Division III
8) Jesuit (SJS) Division I
9) Whitney (SJS) Division II
10) De La Salle (NCS) Division II
On the bubble:
Redwood (NCS) Division III
McLatchy (SJS) Division I

1) Granada (NCS) Division II
2) Campolindo (NCS) Division III
3) San Ramon Valley (NCS) Division II
4) Davis (SJS) Division I
5) St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS) Division II
6) Aptos (CCS) Division III
7) Homestead (CCS) Division I
8) Monte Vista (NCS) Division II
9) Santa Cruz (CCS) Division IV
10) Oak Ridge (SJS) Division I

Feel free to comment on the teams posted above. If you disagree with my list and feel like I left a team or two that deserve to be ranked, let me know in the comment section below. Who will be the best team (one for boys and one for girls) at the end of the season? Who is ready to have a breakout year? What teams will contend for a podium finish at the California state XC meet? 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pre-season California Top 10 XC boys

Check out which NorCal boys made the list at this LINK along with Bellarmine senior Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau. An interesting note on Meika is that his 15:09.7 from last year's state meet makes him the 4th fastest CCS runner on that course. Here are the top 3 runners:
Jason Balkman Lynbrook 14:58 1994
Garret Rowe Mt. View 15:03 2008
Garret Rowe Mt. View 15:06 2009
Justin Robison Lynbrook 15:06.4 2015

For those of you wondering, Cate Ratliff (Santa Cruz) holds the CCS record for the girls with her 17:04 in 2015.

Here is the LINK to the top 10 NorCal marks all-time.

One runner that was also very strongly considered was Andrew Hill senior Jorge Estrella. He may still make the top 10 during the season but for now, he is outside the top 10.

Lastly, for those of you that are familiar with the NY site Tully Runners, their national individual rankings have been posted and his top 3 match mine although in a different order. You can view his national boys rankings at this LINK with the girls at this LINK.

Monday, July 24, 2017

2018 Track and Field At-Large Standards

For those of you that are interested, you can check out and compare last year's at-large standards at this LINK.

Which event do you feel is the toughest standard for the boys? Girls? 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sonoma Academy coach Danny Aldridge to be inducted in Cal Poly SLO 2017 Hall of Fame Class

You can check out the official announcement from Cal Poly SLO as well as Danny's accomplishments at this LINK. You can also check out his high school accomplishments at Petaluma HS at this LINKhttp://www.redwoodempirerunning.com/redwood-empires-greatest-high-school-male-track-and-cross-country-athletes/#Dan%20Aldridge thanks to Jim Crowhurst.

Unofficial mile world record set at Los Gatos All Comer meet

You can check out the article which includes the video of Jeremy Kain's 4:36.8 mile at this LINK. Kain is just 12 years old.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Daniel Komen 7:20.67 3000m world record (1996)

That would be 58.7 per 400m and at 3:55.3 for the first mile. Komen also holds the world record for 2 miles with a time of 7:58.61. Unbelievable times and in my mind pretty skeptical.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Catching up with Arizona St. coach Louie Quintana...

Originally posted August 19, 2010. Quintana is now the new head Track and Field/Cross Country coach at Oregon State.
Today we chat with former high school phenom, college All-American and current Arizona St. coach, Louie Quintana (photo to the left by Elaine Rosenfeld/photo below courtesy of http://thesundevils.cstv.com).  You can check out his bio as part of another interview done by Doug Speck in 2004 at the following link:

1) Going back to the beginning of your running career, how did you get your start with cross country and track and field?
 I got my start in running when I was in junior high school. I was in 7th grade and my PE class had a 6 week cross country unit. Every day we would run a 1.5 mile course and our times got recorded. My PE teacher kept a top ten list and it was posted on a huge board in the locker room…it was a very big deal to get on the board. I wanted to be on the top of the list and when I got to the top I wanted to run so fast that no one else could beat my time.

 2) When did you first realize your talents in the two sports? What were some of your successes during your first two years in high school? 
I felt that early on I had the potential to be pretty good. Running was effortless in many ways for me growing up. I was always the fastest on my baseball and basketball teams and was always singled out for being the “fastest.” Naturally, I gravitated towards cross country as a freshman and experienced immediate success. 1987 was the first year of the California High School State Cross Country Meet and there was a lot of buzz around the sport that year…I finished 7th in 15:30 at Woodward Park and the rest was history.

 3) What are some of your proudest accomplishments in high school in both sports? Who were some of the more notable competitors?
 I had a couple of moments that really stood out in high school. Ironically, both coming during my sophomore year of high school. First, our team won the 2A CIF Cross Country Title…it was one of the most exciting moments of my career. It was the first and is still the only title my high school ever won in Boys cross country. Second, a few weeks later I PR’d by 25 seconds and ran 15:02 at Woodward Park to finish 5th at the Kinney (Now Footlocker) West Regionals to make the national meet. I was stunned after the race…I can still remember how much that race hurt…it seemed like I was red-lining the whole way…I was determined not to break.

4) Looking back at your high school training, what do you feel really worked for you and what do you think you could have done differently?
 I think that my training was really sound. We were a moderate mileage team and I think physiologically we had a good plan. If I could have done anything different I would have been more disciplined with the little things. I ate like crap and was very inconsistent with my long run. Sometimes I would run on Sunday and sometimes I wouldn’t.

5) How did you end up choosing Villanova and what were some of your accomplishments there?
 I had a lot of options during my Senior year. Looking back on it, I was pretty na├»ve about the recruitment process and have a very narrow scope when looking at schools. That’s not to say that I was looking at bad programs, it’s just that I didn’t do a lot of research and was quick with saying no to some schools. I definitely liked my recruiting trip to Villanova and was hosted by Terrence Mahon (Team USA California Coach Now)…he was a big influence on my decision to attend Villanova. He was a fellow Californian who was having success as a student-athlete and he was helpful with me making the transition across country. I had a moderately successful career at Villanova, but maybe not as successful as many would have projected. I was an All American 9 Times and finished 4th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships when I was just 19. I was banged up quite a bit during my career, but managed to string together some memorable performances. 

6) What was the biggest positive change for you in terms of your training?
The biggest positive change was the long run and that really didn’t come into play until my 2nd year at Nova. I ran 3:41 as a freshman for 1500m and I was really doing a lot of speed work. My coach, Marty Stern and I, starting to reflect on my disappointing freshman cross country season and we made some adjustments in the training. Mainly, adding a 15-18 mile long run on Sunday. I was real consistent in my training and my confidence just grew. I began to dream everyday that I would win the NCAA Title that fall. Every run I envisioned racing side by side with Bob Kennedy. I progressed fantastically that fall and finished 4th at the big dance.

7) Who inspired you to get in coaching and when did you realize this was what you wanted to pursue? 
I think that I secretly always wanted to get into coaching. My Dad was always a coach while I was growing up and I really respected his ability to reconstruct bad teams and get them to believe. I’ve always been that way I guess. I never wanted to be on the “IT” team, I always liked to play for the underdog. It was probably my biggest reason for choosing Villanova. They hadn’t made the NCAA in cross country for over 10 years and I was adamant to change that. I think that was my biggest attraction to Arizona State in the beginning. I wanted to work with Walt Drenth who was known for turning programs around…that really excited me about ASU.

8) Who have been your coaching mentors? 
Walt Drenth and Greg Kraft at ASU have really showed me the way. I spent many an afternoon and early morning just soaking everything in from Coach Drenth. He is one of the best college coaches in the country. I admire Coach Kraft’s ability to construct a well rounded track and field program. He has really been the most influential coach that I have come across in my career.

9) How did you end up at Arizona St? How long have you been the head cross country coach? What are some of your proudest achievements for your teams? 
I started at ASU in the Winter of 2002 and really was the product of fantastic timing. ASU is known for it’s mentoring of Graduate Assistants and I called Walt Drenth that fall to put my name into the hat to be the next GA. They currently had a GA (Corey Ihmels – Now the Head Track Coach at Iowa State and Coach of Lisa Kohl). Corey got offered the Cross Country job at Iowa State that Fall and Walt called me immediately. I packed up and moved to Tempe with my wife who just happened to be from Phoenix. It really was just great timing. In 2004, I took over the duties of Coaching the Cross Country and Distance team…so I’m going into my 7th season as the Head Cross Country Coach. We have been fortunate to really have some great moments and achievements these past few years, but one of the achievements I’m most proud of was the 2007 Women’s Cross Country team that finished 4th at the NCAA Cross Country meet. That team defied expectation that day. They just believed they could do anything.

10) Since your days of competing in high school, what do you feel have been the most important changes in how runners train today?
 Biggest change is access to information. There is great info out there that is easily accessible that has really helped how young distance runners train. We are seeing our great distance runners develop a greater aerobic foundation that is beginning to pay off at the international level. I think we’ll see several more distance runners from the US run under 13 minutes for 5K over the next 5 years. It will be extremely difficult to make US National teams.

11) What is your advice for high school coaches who want to have competitive teams year in, year out and have students who have a positive experience in cross country? 
 I think at the end of the day we want the students to really come to enjoy running. We want them to continue to pursue running as an integral part of their lives. It doesn’t matter if they continue competing in college, but if they enjoy running it will change their life.

Thank you very much for your time Louie!  AJC

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Passing of North Monterey County coach

Some sad news passed along by NMC coach Gustavo Ibarra. Our prayers are with her family and the NMC community.
Tragic news. Jackie Henderson passed away yesterday. She was starting her 3rd year at NMC as a science teacher and coach. She was my assistant in both cross country and track and was about to take over the head girls cross country job this fall. I have never met a more inspiring teacher and coach. The staff and kids are heartbroken.

Coach Ibarra

California Pre-Season Top 10 girls

You can find that list at this LINK. Four NorCal girls made the cut and I am pretty sure you can name them all without looking...right? Will there be more NorCal girls that make the list later in the season? Boys will be posted next when I get a moment this coming week. Feel free to chime in on your choices for the top 10 boys in the state until then.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Walt Van Zant's CCS Time Comparisons now posted at Lynbrook Sports


These are not meant to be rankings according to Walt so keep that in mind when you view them. What do you think? Thoughts? Who will be the top 5 teams? Top 5 individuals? Who are the best incoming freshmen? Biggest surprises? Anything else?

NorCal Pre-Season Top 10 Cross Country runners (boys and girls)

1) Liam Anderson Redwood (NCS)
2) Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau Bellarmine (CCS)
3) Alex Scales Bellarmine (CCS)
4) Robert Miranda Menlo (CCS)
5) Adrian Schroeder Dublin (NCS)
6) Jorge Estrella Andrew Hill (CCS)
7) Collin Ullrich Liberty Ranch (SJS)
8) Jett Charvet Heritage (NCS)
9) Gaurav Phanse Dublin (NCS)
10) Colton Colonna St. Francis (CCS)/Matt Strangio Jesuit (SJS)

1) Maddy Denner Oak Ridge (SJS)
2) Elena Denner Oak Ridge (SJS)
3) Olivia O'Keeffe Davis (SJS)
4) Gillian Wagner Redwood (NCS)
5) Mari Friedman Santa Cruz (CCS)
6) Sydney Vandgrift St. Francis (SJS)
7) Isabella Fauria St. Francis (SJS)
8) Alex Stout Pacific Collegiate (CCS)
9) Marea Zlatunich Aptos (CCS)
10) Hannah Ruane Campolindo (NCS)

Tough to narrow it down to 10 runners as I am sure there are other runners that should be on the list as well. Please go ahead and comment on those runners and if there are runners that are listed already that should be moved up higher than they are currently ranked. 

Saturday, July 08, 2017

2017 NCS Division V pre-season Cross Country rankings

BOYS (added today, 7/8/17)
With the divisional changes that took place last season, Division V will still have the majority of the teams under the past cutoff of 500 (only five teams are above that number). Although, the top end of this division now goes up to 600, the top teams will remain the usual suspects who compete for the state qualifying spots year after year.

Looking back at the past few seasons on the boys side, St. Joseph Notre Dame won four section titles in a row from 2011 to 2014 which included 4 state podium finishes which included 2 state titles in 2012 and 2013. Marin Academy, perhaps in the shadows of SJND during those seasons, had a nice run of their own that included a section team title in 2015 and two 2nd place finishes at the state meet in 2013 and 2015. Lick-Wilmerding won a very competitive section race in 2016 that included 26 complete teams.

This coming season, the L-W boys will be the favorites to win the team title. They return the top returning runner in this division, Sean Laidlaw (4:30.14/9:38.33) as well as the top 6 competitors from last year's section meet. Their fifth man from that meet was now senior Erik Stein who recorded bests of 1:56.02 and 4:33.05 this past spring.

The next best team appears to be SF University. They had a nice influx of freshmen last year led by Charlie Kennedy (2:05.36/4:33.90) and Clay Mills (4:46.35/10:12.42). UHS will return their top 3 runners as well as 5 of their top 7 from last year's section meet.

The team that could certainly challenge both Bay Counties League teams will be Sonoma Academy. They finished in 4th place last year led by an outstanding trio of runners that all finished in the top 12. They lose lead runner Joey Johnson but return Kheva Mann (1:57.93/4:27.38) and Brendan Loftus (4:40.12/10:12.22). They will be bolstered by Kelseyville transfer Andre Williams (4:41.04/9:58.86) who will fill in capably for Johnson's absence. If you look at the top returners from last season's section meet, you will see they SA now has 3 of the top 5 returners which give them a lot of fire power up front.

The wild card in this division will be McKinleyville. They finished in 2nd place in Division IV last season but will now compete here. They lost their top two runners but will still have Christian Coley (4:34.33/9:48.53) and Trent Padilla (4:48.31 mile/10:20.70). I don't believe they will be as strong as they were last season but they can still battle for a state meet spot here.

With five teams qualifying for state, another team in the mix will include College Prep. They lose lead runner Ethan Ashby but return the rest of their team. A freshman, Jacob Lehmann Duke (4:45.08/10:17.11), led the team at last year's section meet and will have plenty of returning teammates to form a very solid team. St. Joseph Notre Dame finished in 2nd place last year but do lose their top 2 runners, Cooper Teare and Willie Mein. They return 4 out of their top 7 runners from last season and will definitely have to be accounted for when it comes to the top teams in this section.

One thing for certain is that we will have a different individual champion than the past two seasons. Perhaps, the best runner in section history, Cooper Teare, will now be taking his talents to the University of Oregon. The top returning runner from last season is L-W senior, Sean LaidlawIsaac Teuscher (1:59.45/4:30.84/9:35.76) of Head Royce was right behind Laidlaw in 6th place and will be aiming for an individual title as well. Sonoma Academy could be in line for a team title and their top 3 runners will all be in the mix up front with transfer Andre Williams and returners Kheva Mann and Brendan Loftus.

Division V Boys (Top 5 Advance to State)
1) Lick-Wilmerding-Last title before last year was Division III in 1989. Poised now for back to back.
2) University-Have very strong group returning but have a bit of a gap behind Tigers.
3) Sonoma Academy-They will be very tough up front but will need to close the gap with back end.
4) McKinleyville-Strong program from division IV. 
5) College Prep-They will be in the mix with solid #1 and typical depth.
6) St. Joseph ND-Will be motivated to win 5th section title in the past 6 seasons.
7) Marin Academy-On the outside looking in at this point but may surprise in November.
On the bubble: Stuart HallUrban

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2016 NCS meet time:

Sean Laidlaw (5) Lick-Wilmerding 15:35.2
Isaac Teuscher (6) Head Royce 15:36.8
Andre Williams (8) Kelseyville 15:44.8
Kheva Mann (10) Sonoma Academy 15:59.5
Brendan Loftus (12) Sonoma Academy 16:04.4

For girls, click heading above and all those rankings will appear as well.

Looking for assistant coach

Crystal Springs Uplands School: is looking for one cross country assistant coach for the 2017 fall season. CSUS is located in Hillsborough and competes in Division 5. This is for the 2017-2018 school year. A zest for distance running, a positive attitude, and running experience is a plus. Practice will start on August 4th and will run until the end of November. Stipend is available. Interested individuals should send a resume with references to athletic director Rob Cannone at RCannone@crystal.csus.org and Albert Caruana at ACaruana@crystal.csus.org

Monday, July 03, 2017

Central Coast Section Cross Country Pre-Season rankings

The time comparisons by Walt Van Zant will be posted during July at www.lynbrooksports.com. In the meantime, you can comment on any of the divisions (team and individuals) and share your thoughts.

Who are the best teams? Individuals? Rising stars? Top incoming freshmen? Anything else?

Friday, June 30, 2017

2017 NCS Division IV pre-season Cross Country rankings

Our next NCS pre-season rankings will be Division IV boys (girls will be posted tomorrow). The radical changes made in NCS last year resulted in a more competitive division here. Last season, the Bishop O'Dowd boys won their third section title in school history along with their Division I win in 1995 and Group 1 win in 1957! They outdistanced a game McKinleyville team which finished in 2nd place for the second year in a row. The defending section team champion, Sir Francis Drake, finished in 3rd place. The individual winner was Hercules senior Ryan Cutter (15:13.3) who finished just in front of Arcata senior Kellen O'Neill (15:14.4).

For the upcoming season, we should have a better idea of the leading contenders now that we have seen these teams compete against each other in 2016. We will start with the boys and the favorite at this point is the defending champion, Bishop O'Dowd. They were very impressive at the section meet with their best team effort of the season and followed that up with an 8th place finish at the state meet. They return the best trio of runners (Thomas Murphy 4:36.66/10:02.52, Cole Kretlow 4:36.68/10:05.95 and Spencer Berkins 4:30.52/9:59.18) in the division but will need to replace a couple of seniors from their top 5.

Their competition should come from last year's 3rd place team and the 2015 champion, Sir Francis Drake. They return a bit more than BOD with 4 out of their top 5 but will have to find a way to break up the top 3 runners for the Dragons in order to compete for a section title. They will be led by juniors Cooper McCarthy 4:39.39/9:38.11 and Gabriel Rueter 4:41.10/9:49.02. Sophomore Owen Wolford had a solid track season with 2:02.63/4:45.45 personal bests. Junior Nicco Pompili ran an impressive 1:57.76 at the NCS Redwood Empire area meet.

The chase for the 3rd and final state meet qualifying spot should be led by last year's 7th place team, Piner. They return their entire lineup and will also benefit from teams above them losing strong seniors. Last year's 2nd place team, McKinleyville, will also be in Division V next year. Piner will be led by senior Jonny Vargas 4:34.10/9:43.06 who finished in 5th place at last year's section final.

The race for the individual title will feature the two top returning runners from last year's section final. Muni Kabbara San Rafael 4:20.23/9:38.12 finished in 3rd place last year and will be slight favorite at this point. Piner's Jonny Vargas finished in 5th and is well within striking distance. Reece Proctor Piedmont 1:57.05/4:24.70 finished in 10th last year and will be aiming for a top 3 spot this coming season. The Bishop O'Dowd trio of Thomas Murphy, Cole Kretlow and Spencer Berkins all broke 16 last year at Hayward and will be among the leaders. If you are looking for a wild card in this division, look no further than Miramonte senior James Bull 4:26.50/9:31.88. He finished in 23rd place last year but was quite impressive during the spring track season and will be a definite factor.

In the girls' race, the Miramonte girls enjoyed being back in Division IV by winning their first section title since winning Division III in 2005. Bishop O'DowdPiedmont and Justin-Siena were the next three team that all qualified to the state meet. Miramonte sophomore Cassy Haskell won her first individual section title after finishing in second place in Division III in 2015.

For this coming season, the race for the team section title should be an interesting one. The top two teams from last season, Miramonte and Bishop O'Dowd, will be in rebuilding mode. Miramonte returns one runner from their championship team but that one runner is the defending individual champion, Cassey Haskell (2:21.36/5:17.61 season bests). They will need a major influx of talent and improvement from their returning runners but starting out with potentially the best runner in the division is always a good problem to have. The Bishop O'Dowd girls will also be replacing much of their lineup but will have a little more coming back with juniors Isabella Brusco 2:32.55/5:25.30/11:42.96 and Jeneva Toolijan 5:25.30/11:57.98 and sophomore Kalea Fong 2:36.96/5:36.15.

The slight favorite at this point is Piedmont. They finished in 3rd place last year but return the majority of that team (5 out of top 7). They will be led by Margo Donahue who finished in 11th place at the 2016 NCS meet. Justin-Siena finished in 4th place for the 2nd year in a row and will be hoping for at least another top 4 finish. They return 3 of their top 5 including their #1 runner, Hannah Chau 2:29.33/5:20.51. Marin CatholicMoreau Catholic, Piner and Albany have all been solid teams in this division and could break into the top 5 with a solid summer of training.

The race for the individual title will look very familiar to last season. Cassy Haskell Miramonte won last year but had a very average track and field season dealing with injuries. 2nd place finisher Marissa D'Atri Alhambra (2:11.77/5:07.47/11:34.49) and 3rd place finisher Gabrielle Peterson Healdsburg (2:19.11/4:47.74/10:59.75) both had impressive track and field seasons and will be aiming squarely for the win. 5th place finisher Cynthia Rosales Piner also had an injury riddle season and will look to rebound to past form in the fall. Shelby Nelson Encinal 5:07.35/11:11.92 finished in 7th place and finished this past track and field season in a flurry.

Division IV Boys (Top 3 Advance to State)
1) Bishop O'Dowd-Tough top 3 could led them to 2nd straight section title.
2) Sir Francis Drake-You can make a case for them being favorites above BOD at this point.
3)  Piner-Return their entire top 7 from last year and will be aiming for a top 3 finish.
4) Miramonte-4th place last year and could once again could be in the mix to qualify for state.
5) Piedmont-Hoping for top 3 finish after just missing the state meet in '15.
On the bubble: Albany, Marin Catholic, Moreau Catholic

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2016 NCS meet time:

Munir Kabbara (3) San Rafael 15:21.7
Jonny Vargas (5) Piner 15:29.0
Thomas Murphy (8) Bishop O'Dowd 15:54.2
Cole Kretlow (9) Bishop O'Dowd 15:55.9
Reece Proctor (10) Piedmont 15:56.1

Division IV Girls (Top 4 Advance to State)
1) Piedmont-Over past 3 years, they have two titles and a 3rd place finish.
2) Bishop O'Dowd-Mostly new lineup but promising track and field season.
3) Justin-Siena-Have qualified for last two state meets and return 5 from last XC season.
4) Sir Francis Drake-Been on the cusp of making state and will hope to finish here.
5) Miramonte-Defending champions return one runner but defending individual champion.
On the bubble: Albany, Marin Catholic, Moreau Catholic, Piner

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2016 NCS meet time:

Cassy Haskell (1) Miramonte 17:34.8
Marissa D'Atri (2) Alhambra 17:54.1
Gabrielle Peterson (3) Healdsburg 17:55.6
Cynthia Rosales (5) Piner 18:05.2
Shelby Nelson (7) Encinal 18:18.4

Comments? Do you know of impact freshmen that will attend at any of the above schools? Feel free to chime in the comment section below. Did I miss anybody? How would you rank this division differently?

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