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. 

4 comments:

Brian Gunn said...

Regardless of who wins the North Coast Section, next year should be really competitive and fun. I bet that one of the most interesting friendly rivalries will be between Teddy Buckley and Preston Norris.

Albert Caruana said...

I think one of the best parts of our sport is that no matter how hard rivals compete against each other, there is always respect because everybody knows how hard it is to be successful in the sport.

Anonymous said...

Will you be posting D2 rankings?

Albert Caruana said...

Yes, all divisions.

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