Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Northern California state podium teams over past 5 years

2013 (7)
Division I Girls-Davis SJS (2nd)
Division III Girls-Campolindo NCS (1st)
Division IV Boys-Yreka NS (1st)
Division IV Girls-San Lorenzo Valley CCS (1st)
Division V Boys-St. Joseph Notre Dame NCS (1st)
Division V Boys-Marin Academy NCS (2nd)
Division V Girls-Branson NCS (1st)

2014 (7)
Division I Girls-Bella Vista SJS (2nd)
Division I Girls-St. Francis, Sacramento SJS (3rd)
Division III Girls-Campolindo SJS (2nd)
Division IV Boys-King City CCS (2nd)
Division IV Boys-Scotts Valley CCS (3rd)
Division V Boys-St. Joseph Notre Dame NCS (2nd)
Division V Girls-Sonoma Academy NCS (3rd)

2015 (7)
Division I Boys-Jesuit SJS (3rd)
Division I Girls-Davis SJS (2nd)
Division II Girls-Bella Vista SJS (2nd)
Division III Girls-Aptos CCS (1st)
Division IV Girls-Santa Cruz CCS (2nd)
Division V Boys-Marin Academy NCS (2nd)
Division V Girls-St. Joseph Notre Dame NCS (2nd)

2016 (4)
Division I Girls-Davis SJS (2nd)
Division III Boys-Campolindo NCS (3rd)
Division III Girls-Aptos CCS (3rd)
Division V Girls-Nueva CCS (3rd)

2017 (10)
Division II Boys-St. Francis, Mt. View CCS (1st)
Division II Boys-Dublin NCS (2nd)
Division II Girls-Granada NCS (3rd)
Division III Girls-Campolindo NCS (1st)
Division III Girls-Vista del Lago SJS (2nd)
Division IV Boys-Sir Francis Drake NCS (2nd)
Division V Boys-University NCS (1st)
Division V Boys-Lick-Wilmerding NCS (3rd)
Division V Girls-University NCS (2nd)
Division V Girls-Lick-Wilmerding NCS (3rd)

Total Count:
North Coast Section-17
Sac-Joaquin Section-9
Central Coast Section-8
Northern Section-1

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

2018 NCS Division V pre-season Cross Country rankings (Girls)

GIRLS
This division has been the most successful division for NCS at the California state meet since the addition to a 5th division in 1996. The girls have been especially potent at the state meet led by the incredible run of state meet titles by San Francisco University. Last year, NCS placed three teams in the top ten led by SF University and Lick-Wilmerding who both placed on the podium with 2nd and 3rd place finishes respectively (St. Joseph Notre Dame finished in 7th place). With the great depth of teams, six girls teams qualify to the state meet from NCS which is the most of any division in the section as well as any other section outside of the Southern Section.

Lick-Wilmerding won last year's section race by the thinnest of margins as they defeated SF University by the 6th man tie-breaker. This was after University defeated L-W 31 to 35 at their league final in their previous race. At the state meet, University finished with 120 for 2nd place while L-W scored 128 for 3rd. Two very evenly matched teams.

This year, L-W will be the slight favorites over their league, section and state rivals, University. They return their entire varsity team and will have the best one/two punch of any teams in this division (Maya Lacamp-2:17.09/5:10.94 and Mira Terdiman-5:18.66/11:46.04). L-W is also one of the largest competitive schools in this division and usually has very competitive JV teams. Considering their top two runners as well as their depth, they will be slight favorites at this point.

Just like last year, the SF University girls will challenge L-W and they could very easily be considered co-favorites. Last season, they just missed winning their first section title since 2012 but they more than made up for that with a second place finish at the state meet. University graduated their top runner Claire Jackson as well as their fourth runner Christina Howard and will be led by Eileen Gu (5:31.98/11:55.88) and Ella Shenkar (5:29.00/11:52.59).

The next best two best teams should be St. Joseph Notre Dame and Marin Academy. SJND won the section titles in 2015 and 2016 and finished in 3rd place last year. They will be led by one of the best runners in the state in this division in senior Emily Perez (2:17.74/4:57.94/10:44.94). They will also return the majority of their varsity from last year. Marin Academy finished in 6th place last year and could potentially move up with a strong returning group as well as a strong freshman class. They will be led by Sierra Cameron (14th at NCS).

The next group of teams that could potentially contend for state qualifying spots will include Branson, Head Royce, Athenian and College Prep. Branson will be led by one of the top runners in the section, Callie Jones (5:07.67/11:16.62). Head Royce qualified to the state meet last year with a 4th place finish and seems to be a program built for the long run. Athenian runners had solid spring seasons and appear to be in contention as well. Athenian and College Prep are two more BCL East teams that will be in the mix as well.

The race for the individual title should be between two runners. Emily Perez is the defending individual section champion and finished 2nd in the state behind 3-time champion Riley Bowen of Sonoma Academy. Now that Healdsburg has dropped down to Division V, senior Gabrielle Peterson will now contend for a section title in a new division. Last year, Peterson won the Division IV section title and had a breakthrough track and field season with 2:18.62, 4:48.91 and 10:34.44 personal bests. Callie Jones of Branson is within reach of the top two runners and may be able to close the gap during the upcoming cross country season.

Division V Girls (Top 6 Advance to State)
1) Lick-Wilmerding-One of the largest and most consistent NCS Division V teams.
2) University-2nd at NCS and state in 2017.
3) St. Joseph ND-Seems to be firmly positioned for a top 4 finish.
4) Marin Academy-Word is a strong freshman class could make this team more formidable.
5) Branson-Very strong top runner who will need help to qualify to state meet.
6) Head-Royce-Another program on the rise looking to qualify for 2nd straight state meet.
On the bubble: AthenianCollege PrepConventUrban

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2017 NCS meet time:

Emily Perez (1) St. Joseph Notre Dame 17:43.20
Callie Jones (4) Branson 18:06.70
Mira Terdiman (9) Lick-Wilmerding 18:46.10
Maya Lacamp (10) Lick-Wilmerding 19:06.50
Eileen Gu (11) San Francisco University 19:20.20

The boys' pre-season rankings will be posted next. 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.

Monday, July 16, 2018

"World Record" attempt this Thursday at the Los Gatos All-Comer meet

This Thursday at 6pm, Jeremy Kain (center in photo to the left) of Scotts Valley will be attempting to set another unofficial world record in the mile. Last year as a 12-year-old, Jeremy set a new record with a time of 4:36.80. You can read about his attempt last year as well as watch a video of that race at this LINK. You can also find a link to all the world age group records in that article if you are interested. 

The current record for 13-year-olds is 4:29.0 which was set by Andrew Barnett in 1969. 

This will be the 5th LGAC meet of the season. You can find results of the previous four meets at this LINK.

Also, as posted below, there is another world record holder in Northern Californis, Daniel Skandera. In fact Daniel has broken 34 world records including a 4:53.4 mile as a 10 year old. BAREFOOT! You can read more about Daniel in this LINK.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Donation to Cross Country Express Site

If you have enjoyed all the Track and field coverage this past 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 but as you know, a lot of time and effort goes into the maintenance of this website.

Thank you very much to those of you that have already donated.  If I haven't done so already, you will hear from me in appreciation.

2018 Sentinel Girls Athlete of the Year: Santa Cruz High’s Mari Friedman

2018 Sentinel Girls Athlete of the Year: Santa Cruz High’s Mari Friedman broke several records, won countless awards and is ‘one of the best to ever come out of this area’

You can check out the article at this LINK.

2018 Pre-Season Northern California Top 10 Cross Country Runners (Boys and Girls)

BOYS
1) Liam Anderson Redwood (NCS) Senior
2) Matt Strangio Jesuit (SJS) Junior
3) Owen MacKenzie Los Altos (CCS) Senior
4) Colton Colonna St. Francis, Mt. View (CCS) Senior
5) Damian King Bella Vista (SJS) Senior
6) Christopher Middleton-Pearson Dublin (NCS) Junior
7) Connor Livingston De La Salle (NCS) Senior
8) Eric Eng St. Francis, Mt. View (CCS) Senior
9) Loic Scamparin Dublin (NCS) Senior
10) Henry Saul Palo Alto (CCS) Senior

GIRLS
1) Caroline Garrett Oakland Technical (OAK) Senior
2) Colleen McCandless Granada (NCS) Senior
3) Emily Perez St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS) Senior
4) Gabrielle Peterson Healdsburg (NCS) Senior
5) Kalea Bartolotto Granada (NCS) Senior
6) Kelli Wilson Monte Vista (NCS) Junior
7) Quinn Hagerman Merced (SJS) Senior
8) Rayna Stanziano Concord (NCS) Senior
9) Anna Mokkapati The King's Academy (CCS) Junior
10) Sophia Lodigiani Davis (SJS) Senior

It's tough to narrow it down to just 10 runners so if you feel there are other runners that should also be considered, please add their names and accomplishments in the comment section below. If you feel the order should be different above, please feel free to add your own top 10 below as well. Are there any incoming freshmen that could make either of the above lists? 

You can check out the top 10 teams (boys and girls) at this LINK.

Friday, July 13, 2018

New head XC and TF coach at Gunn HS (CCS)

Now that PattiSue Plumer (right) has moved to the University of Texas, HS 800m record holder Michael Granville (below) has been named the new head coach of both the XC and TF teams at Gunn HS. He was an assistant coach for both programs at Palo Alto HS the past two years. You can check out the Palo Alto Online article detailing the hire HERE.

Some of us were lucky enough to be in the stands when Granville broke the hs record at the 1996 State meet trials. The time of 1:46.45 stands to this day.

You can check out my interview with him from a few years ago at this LINK.



Athlete and coach interviews

As you can see from the links above, I have done a ton of athlete and coach interviews over the years since this blog started in 2006. You can definitely learn a lot about what it takes to be successful both from the athlete and/or coach perspective.

If there are current athletes and coaches that you would like to see me interview this summer, please let me know. I will reach out to them and get as many posted as possible. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ask the Coach

I am moving up the ever popular "Ask the Coach" to the top of this page. If you have any questions in regards to your past season, summer training, Cross Country season or anything that you want answered, please add your question below in the comment section.

Coming up shortly will be the rest of the NCS pre-season rankings. If there is something else you would like to see on this site, please add it to the comment section below.

Monday, July 09, 2018

NCS Division III pre-season rankings (boys)

Thanks to Campolindo assistant coach, Andy Lindquist.

NCS DIII Boy’s Rankings:
Overview: Last season Maria Carrillo relied on an impressive amount of depth as they halted Campolindo’s 4-year winning streak at the NCS meet. While a rebuilding Campo squad came within 10 points, they turned the tables the following week as they finished in 5th place at the state meet while Maria Carrillo finished back in 10th place. The pumas are loaded this year, with one of the best sophomore classes now coming back as juniors looking to do some damage. Campolindo is the next challenger for the section crown while deep teams from Redwood and Las Lomas could also challenge if the pieces come together. Maria Carrillo seeks to be the first non-Campolindo team to repeat as section titlists since Petaluma in 2009/2010. 
1. Maria Carrillo: 
The Pumas are looking to be even better this season as they bring back a team loaded with talent. Colton Swinth, Pierce Kapustka, and Rory Smail all ran under 4:30 in the 1600 as sophomores, giving Maria Carrillo nasty upside at the front. And don’t forget about senior Harrison Frankl, who “only” managed to run personal bests of 4:31 in the 1600 and 9:39 in the 3200 during the spring. The challenge for the Pumas will be finding the depth at the back end as there is a big drop off after those 4. Owen Pugh (10:18 3200) and Jack Pickle (10:22 3200) look to be the next in line and so long as they can work on closing down the gap on the front 4, Maria Carrillo looks poised for another title and a run at the podium at state. Coupled with a rising girls squad, Maria Carrillo will attempt to be the first non-Campolindo team to sweep the team titles in this division since Granada in 1999. 
2. Campolindo:
The Cougars continued to improve last season, turning what was supposed to be a one-sided affair into a close nailbiter as they fell just short of knocking off Maria Carrillo at the NCS championships. The next week Campo surprised everyone with a 5th place finish. The core of that team returns but the challenge is not any easier this year. Teddy Buckley had another solid track season while Dylan Gunn finished the season with a flurry in running 9:41 in the 3200, the 4th best freshman time in the state. Ultra-talented junior Owen Hunger also broke the 10:00 barrier in the 3200 and will look to be a big-time factor for the Cougars. As usual, depth is this team’s strength, with the likes of Cameron Iniguez-Reyes (10:06), Cayden Hein (10:13), Dylan Cronin (10:16), and Charlie Woidat (10:17) all posted solid times in the 3200. Throw in solid contributors in Pablo Nyguen and Max Essl, who both broke 4:45 in the 1600 and you have the makings of a super-deep squad that will challenge for the title. The biggest concern for the Cougars now is working on what appears to be a substantial gap at the 3rd and 4th scoring positions, as Maria Carrillo will have so many strong frontrunners. As it stands now, Campo is in a great position to challenge for the title, but it won't be easy. 
3. Redwood:
When your top runner scores 1 point in every single race, it makes it that much easier to post a low team score and be competitive at any meet. Such is the case this year for Redwood as they return defending state champion Liam Anderson. This team is more than just one guy though as Redwood had one of the best freshmen in the state last year in Hudson Grace, who rocked to a 4:28 in the 1600 during the spring and could be one of the most improved runners in the entire state this fall. Austin Patel also had a breakthrough during the spring, clocking a 4:33 in the 1600, giving the Giants plenty of power up front. However, it was the rapid improvement of Redwood’s back end at the end of the track season that gives them scary upside to move up these rankings. Timothy Walters (10:17) and Sahil Kapila (10:22) notched massive career bests in the 3200 and if they continue to improve, watch out. While there is a big drop off after those 5, with such a great frontrunner in Anderson, the Giants have a big advantage on the rest of these teams. As it stands now, Redwood is a dark horse pick to pull the upset. 
4. Las Lomas:
The Knights return their entire scoring five from last season’s surprising 3rd place team so you may be wondering how they are now ranked 4th? Well, the three teams ranked ahead of them are just really good, so it will take some more improvement on the part of the knights if they want to move up these rankings. Preston Norris and Parker Wilkerson shined during the track season, but it was the steady improvement of the likes of Charlie Kisylia and Cooper Wise during the spring that gives Las Lomas great upside. If this group can continue to come together and work hard, they could also move up these rankings, a tough task considering the depth in this division. 
Individual rankings: 
1. Liam Anderson – Redwood: This is a no-brainer here, Anderson will be among the best runners in the country this coming fall as he is the defending state champion and the top returner from NXN
2. Preston Norris – Las Lomas: Had a stunning breakthrough during the track season and will look to keep that momentum going. 
3. Teddy Buckley – Campolindo: A steady performer who finished 2nd last year and will look to take another step forward this fall. 
4. Colton Swinth – Maria Carrillo: A big talent who really came into his own during the spring, rolling to a 4:22 in the 1600 and making the NCS final in that event. Part of one of the most talented sophomore classes in the state
5. Pierce Kapustka – Maria Carrillo: Came out of nowhere this spring to rip a 4:22 in the 1600 and give the Pumas a deadly 1-2. Should be much improved over last cross-country season.
6. Lucas Chung – Windsor: Dropped his 1600 down to 4:20 during track and could be a big mover up these rankings by the season’s end. 
7. Dylan Gunn – Campolindo: Posted one of the top freshmen 3200 times in the state during the spring and should continue that upward trajectory this fall. Looks to be one of the top sophomores in the entire state. 

Monday, July 02, 2018

2018 NCS Division III pre-season rankings (girls)

By Campolindo assistant coach, Andy Lindquist:

NCS DIII Girls Rankings: 
Overview: Last year Campolindo finished another season as the section champions, rolling to a big victory at the NCS championships and then claiming another state title the following week in Fresno. This year will be a challenge for the Cougars if they want to keep their NCS title streak going as Maria Carrillo returns the majority of their runner-up team from a year ago. 
Teams
1. Maria Carrillo: 
The Pumas are primed for a big season as they return the core of their 2nd place team from a year ago. Aimee Armstrong had a productive track season running 5:00 in the 1600 and backing her up are Nicole Morris (5:19) and Jasmin Hirth (5:20) also excelling in the 1600 during the spring. Meghan Field looks to be the next scorer for Maria Carrillo as she enjoyed a big breakthrough, breaking 12:00 in the 3200. Maria Carrillo routinely fields one of the deepest teams at the F/S and JV levels so finding depth to round out their scorers should not be an issue. For now, the pumas are the heavy favorite as they look to capture their first section title in DIII since 2009.   
2. Campolindo:
“Campo” has been the class of this division ever since moving into DIII in 2000, as the program has amassed a staggering 12 section titles and 3 state titles in that timespan. The Cougars will have their work cut out for them this season as they only return 3 varsity runners from last year’s team. Alicia Hober, Paloma Hancock, and Ellie Guthrie all continued their improvement curve during the track season, with Hober notching the best mark out of the 3 with her 5:10 clocking in the 1600. After that there are some concerns as DAL JV champion Bianca Chao was injured during the spring and regular varsity contributor Chole Guthrie did not run track. Seeing as the two of them both have personal bests around 20:00 at Woodward park, they could be huge factors in helping the Cougars close the gap on Maria Carrillo. As it stands now Campolindo is just a few steps behind Maria Carrillo.  
3. Las Lomas:
The Knights were the big surprise of last season, putting everything together to surprise the field at the NCS championships and land a qualifying spot to state. This year look for more of the same as Las Lomas returns a sizeable contingent of athletes. Veronica Towle and Erica Dungo were both solid during the track season and with one of the largest teams in the section, Las Lomas should have no trouble once again putting together a deep team.  
4. Alameda: 
The Hornets return their entire top 6 so they could easily move up these rankings and surprise by the end of the season. Alameda has one of the best frontrunners in the section in Lauren Lum, who rocked to a 10:49 performance in the 3200 this past track season and will look to challenge for the individual title. The key for Alameda will be to close down the back end of their scoring pack and get their #4 and #5 runners to close the gap on Lum. As it stands now Alameda is primed for another state meet berth and could be one of the big surprises if they can put all the pieces together at the end of the year.   

Individual rankings:
1. Rayna Stanziano – Concord: One of the most talented athletes in the entire state, Stanziano just missed making the individual podium last cross-country season and looks to change that this fall. While she focused on shorter distances during the tail end of the track season, she still rocked to a 4:55 clocking in the 1600. 
2. Lauren Lum – Alameda: A steady and consistent performer, Lum posted some solid times during the spring by running 5:04 in the 1600 and 10:49 in the 3200. While Stanziano is the favorite at this point, Lum is the darkhorse pick to pull the upset.
3. Aimee Armstrong – Maria Carrillo: With an impressive finish to the track season which saw her run 5:00 in the 1600, Armstrong will look to improve upon her 8th place finish from a year ago and help her team capture the section title. 
4. Alicia Hober – Campolindo: Looks to be the next frontrunner of a rebuilding Campo squad. She was one of the biggest improvers during the spring, clocking 5:10 in the 1600. 
5. Veronica Valenton – Livermore: Notched a big series of improvements during the spring, including running 5:08 in the 1600. Could move up these rankings and bust into the top 3. 
6. Nicole Morris – Maria Carrillo: One of the best freshman in the section last year, Morris continued that upward momentum during the spring running 5:19 for 1600 and 11:27 for 3200. 
7. Paloma Hancock – Campolindo: Courting a sub 19:00 personal best for 5K, and a personal best in the 1600 of 5:18, has the potential to move up these rankings. 

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