Friday, October 18, 2019

NorCal Cross Country meet results

PAL #2 at Bedwell Park

PSAL #2 at Crystal Springs Course

Rough Rider at Woodward Park today

Phil Wilder Mariner Invitational at Hayward HS

If you know of any other results, please add the links below.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

College Committments

I will continue to update this list throughout the year. Please feel free to add others in the comment section below. I know I do not have everyone so please help if you know of other athletes and where they are attending college next fall.

Charlotte Tomkinson Menlo-Duke University
Haley Silva St. Francis, Sac-University of California, Berkeley
Daylee Dunn Salesian-Fresno State
Juan Pablo Garcia St. Francis MV-University of California Berkeley
Kelli Wilson Monte Vista-Duke University
Claire Yerby Half Moon Bay-California Berkeley (NEW)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Catching up with Dublin HS senior, Christopher Middleton-Pearson

Pretty cool interview with one of the best runners in the state. Unfortunately, Chris was sick at Clovis and we didn't get to see his best effort but look for him to be among the top individuals as he leads one of the top boy's teams in the nation, Dublin HS.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

NorCal Cross Country Rankings (1st Edition)

Boys' Teams
1) Bellarmine (CCS) Division I
2) Dublin (NCS) Division I
3) Maria Carrillo (NCS) Division III
4) Jesuit (SJS) Division I
5) Davis (SJS) Division I
6) De La Salle (NCS) Division II
7) Campolindo (NCS) Division III
8) St. Francis MV (CCS) Division II
9) Scotts Valley (CCS) Division IV
10) Amador Valley (NCS) Division I/Whitney (SJS) Division II

Boys' Individuals
1) Matt Strangio Jesuit (SJS) Division I
2) Christopher Middleton-Pearson Dublin (NCS) Division I
3) Colin Peattie Bellarmine (CCS) Division I
4) Daniel Hernandez Vacaville (SJS) Division II
5) Amir Barkan Sir Francis Drake (NCS) Division IV
6) Spencer Pickren Jesuit (SJS) Division I
7) Colton Swinth Maria Carrillo (NCS) Division III
8) Patrick Curulla De La Salle (NCS) Division II
9) Kellen Steplight Vacaville (SJS) Division II/Austin Vasquez Whitney (SJS) Division II
10) Aidan McCarthy Amador Valley (NCS) Division I/Jacob Lehmann Duke College Prep (NCS) Division V

Girls' Teams
1) St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS) Division II
2) St. Francis, MV (CCS) Division II
3) Menlo (CCS) Division IV
4) Oak Ridge (SJS) Division I
5) Vista del Lago (SJS) Division II
6) Rio American (SJS) Division II
7) Campolindo (NCS) Division III
8) Amador Valley (NCS) Division I
9) Redwood (NCS) Division II
10) Granada (NCS) Division II/Maria Carrillo (NCS) Division III

Girls' Individuals
1) Alexandra Klos Vista del Lago (SJS) Division II
2) Harper McClain St. Helena (NCS) Division V
3) Riley Chamberlain Del Oro (SJS) Division Division III
4) Hope Bergmark Amador Valley (NCS) Division I
5) Cate Joaquin St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS) Division II
6) Isabella Fauria St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS) Division II
7) Audrey Allen Miramonte  (NCS) Division IV
8) Eleanor Wikstrom Skyline (OAK) Division I
9) Lauren Soobrian Los Altos (CCS) Division I
10) Tatiana Cornejo St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS) Division II

As always, I listen and will make changes if I made a mistake in terms of where the above teams are ranked. Please show proof of recent results. I do however try to project a bit so some teams may be ranked based on potential down the road. Did I leave anybody out that deserves to be ranked?

Former NorCal HS'ers at Chicago Marathon

Brendan Gregg (Davis HS) 2:11:38 for 16th place
Diego Estrada (Alisal HS) 2:11.54 for 19th place
Jennifer Bergman (Valley Christian SJ) 2:34:37 for 14th place
Megan Gentes (Del Oro) 2:41:03 27th place
Nicole Lane (El Molino HS) 2:42:24 36th place

If you know of others, please add them in the comment section below.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Northern California results

WBAL #1 results at Crystal Springs course (CCS) NEW
Aragon Crystal Springs Center Meet results at Crystal Springs (CCS) NEW
Jim Tracy Challenge live results at Golden Gate Park (NCS)
Serra Crystal Springs Invitational live results at Crystal Springs (CCS/NCS)
Clovis Invitational results at Woodward Park (state wide)
Castro Valley Peter Brewer Invite results at at Canyon Middle School
Del Oro XC Invitational results at Johnson Springview Park (SJS) NEW

Any other league results, please post links below and I will add them.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

California state divisional rankings now posted

Speaking for myself, it was really tough to rank all the teams in the state with so many different courses and with many teams not showing their full lineups yet this season. I think we will get a clearer picture after this Saturday's Clovis and Crystal Springs Invitationals. If you notice any missed teams or see teams that should be placed differently, please feel free to comment in the section below.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

2019 NCS Cross Country Rankings #1

Here is my first attempt at the NCS rankings now that we have had a few invitationals and league meets in the books. Please feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section below. 

Division I Boys
1) Dublin
2) Amador Valley
3) Dougherty Valley
4) James Logan
5) Berkeley

Division I Girls
1) Amador Valley
2) Dougherty Valley
3) Dublin
4) California
5) Berkeley

Division II Boys
1) Granada
2) De La Salle
3) Monte Vista
4) Liberty
5) Redwood/San Ramon Valley

Division II Girls
1) Granada
2) College Park
3) San Ramon Valley
4) Monte Vista
5) Liberty

Division III Boys
1) Maria Carrillo
2) Campolindo
3) Casa Grande
4) Tamalpais
5) Piner

Division III Girls
1) Campolindo
2) Maria Carrillo
3) Alameda
4) Tamalpais
5) Piner

Division IV Boys
1) Sir Francis Drake
2) Acalanes
3) Bishop O'Dowd
4) Alhambra
5) ?

Division IV Girls
1) Miramonte
2) Piedmont
3) Bishop O'Dowd
4) Marin Catholic
5) Acalanes

Division V Boys
1) University
2) St. Joseph Notre Dame
3) Sonoma Academy
4) Head-Royce
5) Stuart Hall

Division V Girls
1) Lick-Wilmerding
2) University
3) Head-Royce
4) Urban
5) St. Joseph Notre Dame

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Mixed gender 4 x 400 relay at IAAF World Championships

Sara Hall Runs Massive PR in Berlin, Takes 5th Place

You can check out the article at this LINK.

For those of you that may not know Sara Hall, she was one of the best high school runners in California history where she attended Montgomery HS in Santa Rosa. During her high school days, Sara Bei was a four-time state champion in Cross Country (2 in Division III and 2 in Division II). She along with Sarah Baxter and Jordan Hasay are the only 3 females to win 4 state titles. On the track, she won the 1600 and 3200 as a freshman and won the 3200 as a senior. She went on to attend Stanford University and is still throwing down some great times at 36.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

NorCal meets this week

SCVAL #1 live results at Baylands Park (NEW)
Salinas City Championships results at Nativadad Creek Park (NEW)
Delta League XC #1 results at Cherry Island Sports Complex (NEW)

Eye Opener results (NEW)
Scott Bauhs Invitational results at Shadow Cliffs Park (NEW)
Capital Cross Challenge results at Arcade Creek Golf Course (NEW)
Nike Portland XC results (NEW)
Ram Invitational results at Westmoor HS.

If you know of any other meets taking place this week, please feel free to add the link below.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Being aware of thieves out there

My public service announcement...

Earlier this season at the Lowell Invitational, my backpack was stolen from our tent area during the final race. Unfortunately, I had my laptop, iPad and other material in there that I did not appreciate losing. I also know of another coach who had his daughter's backpack stolen from a vehicle in San Francisco. Today, my team was running at Sawyer Camp Trail and during our run, somebody had smashed the front passenger window of one of the school vans and took a backpack that was in the vehicle. It wasn't visible but that did not stop the thief.

All unfortunate cases and hopefully it's a warning for coaches and parents out there to remind our students/children that they should not bring stuff with them to practices or meets that they consider valuable to them. I believe there is a daily average of 65 car break-ins in San Francisco and that is definitely not just limited to the city. When you park anywhere, don't leave anything in sight that invites another smash and grab.

The Harriers

In memory of Coach Jim Hunt, this dates back to the 60s and it's 14 minutes of awesomeness featuring Humboldt State runners.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

RIP former Humboldt coach, Jim Hunt

For those of you that go to the Humboldt Cross Country Camp, you should be quite familiar with Coach Hunt. He was inducted in the Humboldt State Hall of Fame in 1993 and during his time as the coach (1965-2008), he had some of the best Cross Country teams in the country. Sadly, he passed away today. If you are not familiar with Coach Hunt, you can read all about him at this LINK. I would also recommend his latest book (The Rhythm of Running) which you can find at this LINK.

If you knew Coach Hunt and have a story to share, please feel free to do so in the comment section below.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Early season NorCal Team and Individual rankings

I am working on the first in-season NorCal team and individual rankings. I will post the top 10 teams and individuals so in the meantime, feel free to comment below on teams and/or runners that you think deserve to be mentioned.

De La Salle Nike Invitational Varsity Boys race

Courtesy of Jesuit coach Walt Lange featuring the duel between Matt Strangio of Jesuit and Christopher Middleton-Pearson and the great team battle between Bellarmine and Dublin.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Top 10 NorCal times from Woodbridge (also other 3 mile courses)

Harper McClain St. Helena (NCS Division V) 16:23.9
Cate Joaquin St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS Division II) 16:25.7
Isabella Fauria St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS Division II) 16:33.3
Tatiana Cornejo St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS Division II) 16:39.7
Riley Chamberlain Del Oro (SJS Division Division III) 16:52.9
Eleanor Wikstrom Skyline (OAK Division I) 17:05.7
Charlotte Tomkinson Menlo (CCS Division IV) 17:25.2
Sophia Karperos Rio Americano (SJS Division II) 17:28.9
Kelli Wilson Monte Vista (NCS Division II) 17:31.9
Haley Silva St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS Division II) 17:38.9

Daniel Hernandez Vacaville (SJS Division II) 14:31.9
Matt Strangio Jesuit (SJS Division I) 14:43.84 (from DLS Invite)
Christopher Middleton-Pearson Dublin (NCS Division I (from DLS Invite)
Colton Swinth Maria Carrillo (NCS Division III) 14:47.6
Kellen Steplight Vacaville (SJS Division II) 14:47.6
Adin Dibble Sonora (SJS Division IV) 14:51.7
Patrick Curulla De La Salle (NCS Division II) 14:54.7 (from Cool Breeze)
Alexis Ramirez Mt. Shasta (NS Division V) 15:00.9 (from Bill Springhorn)
Mario Giannini Chico (NS Division III) 15:03.23 (from Bill Springhorn)
Rory Smail Maria Carrillo (NCS Division III) 15:04.2

Friday, September 20, 2019

NorCal results for this week

PAL #1 Results at Half Moon Bay HS (CCS)
BCL W/C Scrimmage Meet Results at Golden Gate Park (NCS)
WCAL #1 Results at Baylands Park (CCS) NEW
Sierra Foothill League #1 results at Willow Hills Reservoir (SJS) NEW
Lou Vasquez results at Golden Gate Park (SF) NEW
Farmer Invitational results at Hayward HS (NCS) NEW
Woodbridge Invitational results at Silver Lakes Sports Complex (Statewide) NEW

Weekend Invitationals
Pacific Tiger Invitational results at Elkhorn Country Club
De La Salle Nike Invitational results at Newhall Park

Please let me know of other meets that have taken place or are taking place this week and I will add the links as I receive the results and/or links.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Athlete of the Week: St. Mary’s High’s Daniel Winter running strong as a sophomore

2019 De La Salle Nike Invitational meet preview

You can check out DLS assistant Tony Roberts' preview for this Saturday's DLS Nike Invitational at this LINK. The varsity boys' race will feature three of the top teams in California who are also on the national radar. It should be a great day for racing.

Let us know if you are competing at the meet and what you are most looking forward to watching this Saturday.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Catching up with St. Helena junior, Harper McClain

You can check out my interview with St. Helena junior, Harper McClain at this LINK. McClain is in the midst of her first Cross Country season as a junior and was victorious this past weekend at the Ed Sias Large School girls' race. Last Track and Field season, McClain finished in 3rd place at the NCS MOC 3200m race and finished in 7th place at the California Track and Field meet with a lifetime best time of 10:29.68.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Friday, September 13, 2019

Tribute to Peter Guerrini

Tribute by Larry Meredith which you can find at this LINK. For those of you that remember using to enter your athletes, Peter was the mastermind behind that site.

His daughter in law wrote the following about Peter which I had no idea. Something to the effect of not all heroes wear capes.

On 9/11 Peter Guerrini (a.k.a Peter Pilot, Steve’s dad, Christopher’s grandpa, my father-in-law) flew his United 777 plane from Paris, France, and as he was approaching NYC, a plane flew into the World Trade Center; he diverted his plane to Canada and in doing so, saved many lives. He was a skilled pilot, flying for United for 30 years and for the US Navy. When he learned I qualified for NYC marathon this year, he was looking forward to going with us, paying respect at the 9/11 memorial and showing us around NYC where he lived with his Guerrini grandparents during WWII while his father was away at war. These past 2 weeks he was on life support; he died peacefully yesterday. We are so proud of the life he led, of the sacrifices he made. We miss him so much but we know he is in a better place.❤️

Ed Sias Invitational Preview and Stinson Relays coverage

You can check out Campolindo assistant coach Andy Lindquist's preview at this LINK which includes the live results link as well as Walt Lange's awesome course map. All the meet info for the meet including past results can be found at this LINK.

You can also check out the Marin IJ article about the 63rd (SIXTY THIRD!) Annual Stinson Relays at this LINK.

Lastly, here is an article about tomorrow's Viking Opener which you can find at this LINK.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Area roundup: UCD to honor Sumpter with inaugural Stump Invitational

Celebrating the life of an all-time Aggie great, the UC Davis cross country team will host its inaugural Stump Invite on Friday afternoon at Wildhorse Golf Club.

Named for Sarah Sumpter, the event will honor the inspirational 2012 All-American and two-sport Big West Conference Athlete of the Year, who died in 2015 after a five-year battle with cancer.

UCD to honor Sumpter with inaugural Stump Invitational

SJS Divisions now posted

The teams that moved divisions are:
Inderkum, Woodcreek, Rocklin, Lodi, Pitman, West, Laguna Creek, Vista del Lago, Cordova, Mira Loma, Atwater, Antelope, Yuba City, Johansen, Mountain House, Placer, Woodland, Lathrop, San Juan, Western Sierra and Colfax.

The Vista del Lago girls were 2018 California state champs so that is a pretty significant change.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

45th Annual Crystal Springs Invitational info

2nd Annual Jackie Henderson Memorial Preview by Coach Ibarra

Please help spread the word about this website

Each year a new batch of runners and parents join our ranks who may be unfamiliar with this site. I will continue to provide content for the six Northern California sections this coming season and beyond. As always, if there is anything else you would like to see on this site, please let me know. You can use the comment section below or email me at

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

36th Annual Monte Vista Invitational Recap

You can check out the meet recap of yesterday's Monte Vista Invitational at this LINK thanks to meet director Mike Davis. Lots of East Bay talent on display at the annual event that takes place on the first Tuesday in September. The start of the senior boys' race is on the left.

Lowell Invitational Top 10 Marks for current course

Bumping this back up to the top with the Lowell Invitational taking place this Saturday.
Here are the top times that I could find for the Lowell Invitational since 2006 (current course). If you know of other times that break into the following lists, please post below in the comment section below. I am trying to verify the course length for yesterday since the runners did not go around the big tree. This is also a very unofficial list since the course has fluctuated through the years.

1) Quinn Hagerman Merced 16:49.8 2018
2) Gabrielle Peterson Healdsburg 17:00.8 2018
3) Grace Catena Palos Verdes 17:03.0 2017
4) Rylee Bowen Sonoma Academy 17:03.5 2016 
5) Colleen McCandless Granada 17:05.4 2017
6) Alize Hartke Oakmont 17:06.3 2017
7) Lauren Peurifoy MLK 17:08.2 2016
8) Alize Hartke Oakmont 17:10.2 2016
9) Joyce Shea Gunn 17:10.9 2017
10) Marissa Ferrante Aptos 17:13 2008

1) John Lawson Sir Francis Drake 14:08 2012
2) Garrett Corcoran Villa Park 14:21 2013
3) Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau Bellarmine 14:24.2 2017
4) Kent Slaney Palo Alto 14:29.5 2016
5) John Bennett Granada 14:34.0 2017
6) Robert Miranda Menlo 14:35.3 2017
7) Preston Norris Las Lomas 14:35.5 2018
8) Colin Peattie Bellarmine 14:37.1 2018
9) Owen MacKenzie Los Altos 14:37.1 2018
10) Yohanes Estifanos Milpitas 14:38 2012

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

36th Annual Monte Vista Invitational set for Tuesday, Sept 3rd

A maximum field of 20 teams with over 1300 runners entered will once again kick-off the east bay cross country season at the historic Monte Vista Invitational.  Established in 1983, this meet switched in 2005 to feature grade/gender level races, over a 2-mile course which runs through the high school campus and into hilly Oak Hill Park.  With the usual afternoon heat and the rugged "Eliminator" hill waiting in the second mile, this meet is a great indicator of which individuals and teams have put in the work over the summer and who has an early edge going into the season.
Last year in the Senior Boys race, Preston Norris of Las Lomas and Russell Sullivan of Foothill broke away from the pack early and pushed each other to new course records.  Norris won in an unbelievable 10:29 time, breaking the mark of 10:37 that had been held by Danny Stalters of Northgate since 2012.   Sullivan's 10:36 also bettered the mark.

On the girl's side, San Ramon Valley's senior Kate Tavella was the fastest on the day, with a 12:20 clocking that is good for 5th fastest all time.  The girl's course record is held by Chloe Hansel of Las Lomas in an eye-popping 11:55 mark.

This year's meet features not only teams from the East Bay but entries from San Francisco, Stockton, and the South Bay.  

Races kick off at 4PM at Oak Hill Park in Danville with the Boys Junior race and conclude at 7PM with the Freshman Girls race.  

LIVE Results can be found at Diablo Timing live during the meet:

Mike Davis and Mile Huntsman
Meet Directors

Monte Vista Invitational Top 10 Fastest Times 
- Current Course Configuration (since 2005)

Boys Name School Year Time 
1 Preston Norris Las Lomas 2018 10:29.6
2 Russell Sullivan Foothill 2018 10:36.0
3 Danny Stalters Northgate 2012 10:37.1
4 Nolan Peterson Washington 2012 10:42.1
5 Jason Intravaia San Ramon Valley 2013 10:42.5
6 Jackson Crose Livermore 2014 10:43.4
7 Mike Roderick Monte Vista 2008 10:44.4
T8 Peter Schlachte Amador Valley 2014 10:45.2
T8 Tom Robey Las Lomas 2015 10:45.2
T10 Alex Summers Granada 2009 10:46.2
T10 Aiden Boyle Amador Valley 2018 10:46.2

Girls Name School Year Time 
1 Chloe Hansel Las Lomas 2014 11:55.8
2 Megan McCandless Granada 2014 12:12.6
3 Jena Pianin Amador Valley 2012 12:14.4
4 Brooke Starn Monte Vista 2014 12:20.1
5 Kate Tavella San Ramon Valley 2018 12:20.2
6 Kelsey Santisteban Castro Valley 2010 12:23.2
7 Meredith Corda Monte Vista 2016 12:27.2
8 Carina Novell Granada 2011 12:28.6
9 Colleen Lillig California 2009 12:31.6
10 Madison Ricks California 2013 12:32.8

Accepted Teams for the 2019 MVI
1. Monte Vista (host)
2. Dougherty Valley
3. Las Lomas
4. Liberty
5. Miramonte
6. Antioch
7. De Anza
8. Castro Valley
9. Foothill
10. San Ramon Valley
11. Heritage
12. Sacred Heart Cathedral
13. Mission San Jose
14. California
15. Northgate
16. Newark Memorial
17. Irvington
18. Quarry Lane
19. St Marys Stockton
20. St Marys College High School (Berkeley)

photos:  Norris and Sullivan/Tavella in 2018
photos:  the Eliminator Hill profile

Catching Up With Great Oak XC

If you want to get a great insight on the best Cross Country program in California (perhaps the United States), check out the following link which includes interviews with head coach Doug Soles as well as many of his top runners.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Friday, August 30, 2019

Jackie Henderson Memorial Invitational

The Jackie Henderson Memorial Invitational will be limited to 45 teams this year.
The first 45 teams registered on will be allowed into the meet.
Coach Ibarra

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Starting blocks for 800m.

If you fast forward to 1:24, you can see the competitors hammer down their blocks for the start of the 1956 Olympic 800m final. I am not sure when they started and stopped using blocks but certainly interesting to see the start of an 800m race with blocks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Catching up with Bellarmine coach Patrick McCrystle...

You can check out my updated interview with Coach McCrystle at this link which was posted TODAY:

Since a lot of visitors to this blog are new, I am going to repost some past interviews with coaches and athletes that are still pertinent to this current cross country season.  I will start with the coach of the top-ranked boys' NorCal team, Pat McCrystle of Bellarmine HS.  This interview was originally posted on October 6th, 2008.
Today's interview is with Bellarmine Cross Country coach Patrick McCrystle (pictured here standing far right). Coach McCrystle ran for one of the best coaches in CA, Jesuit's Walt Lange and is now continuing the legacy of another CA coaching icon, Terry Ward. His current Bellarmine team is ranked #1 in CCS and is ready to start league competition in the tough WCAL.

1) How did you get your start in running?

I started running track my sophomore year at Jesuit High School Sacramento. I played football, basketball, and baseball my first year in HS, and football and basketball my sophomore year, but my PE teacher—Walt Lange—talked me into coming out for track, and I loved it because in football and baseball so many guys on the team didn’t work very hard, and if we didn’t win it seemed very frustrating to have worked hard but have the outcome rest on people who hadn’t worked very hard, but in track you HAD to work hard or it would be pretty clear you were slacking, and at J-High the distance runners were tough. So, I just decided to give cross country a try. My dad had given me a book called The Worlds of Brutus Hamilton when I was in 8th grade, all about the famous Cal distance coach, but of course I wanted to be like the guys on TV…looking back, I wish I had read it and been mature enough to go out for XC my freshmen year, because I could have used those two years of training!

2) You ran for one of the most decorated coaches in California, Jesuit's Walt Lange. From your experience under his tutelage, what are some of the reasons for his successl?

Walt is successful for several reasons, but one of the biggest, I believe, is his understanding of the ‘big picture.’ He looks at each athlete on his team as an opportunity for improvement, and he trains them with that in mind. Of course, many other coaches do that as well, but Walt develops training sessions with the whole season in mind, looking at how he can get the most out of each of his teams near the end of the season. The Sac-Joaquin Section has championships at 4 levels (Frosh, Soph, JV and Varsity; why can’t other sections do that? What a great way to build up interest in the sport!), and if one researches the J-High records at those levels one would find tremendous success for the Marauders, because Walt is not focusing on one level or group of runners.

Walt also understands distance running very well, and neither under or over-trains his teams, in my opinion. Also, Jesuit HS is the sort of school that has tremendous school spirit, and most of the students want to be a part of the athletic program, so he gets a lot of eager and motivated students out for cross country. And, perhaps the secret weapon for J-High is the American River Parkway, endless miles of dirt trails going in both directions away from J-High, running along the banks of the American River, linking up with several big parks that have enormous, flat, well-maintained grass fields. Jesuit runners never have to run on concrete!

3) You started out as a hurdler (I believe) and eventually moved to the 800 recording a 1:50.70 during high school. How did that transition come about?

I was a triple jumper and hurdler my sophomore year, but Walt put me in the 400 a few times, and then told me I should run the 800, and that I should come out for cross country, too. So I did, though the actual moment that sold me both on track as well as longer races happened at Arcadia. We had a miler named Pedro Reyes (4:06.01/2nd 1600 1980 state meet…who also started as a 400 man) who was running the 1600 at Arcadia, and Walt asked me to run the 400 on a Distance Medley team, which would be anchored by Pedro (4:17 that night, his third sub-4:20 1600 in 24 hours!) I weighed about 100 pounds and couldn’t have been more than 5’2”, but I got the baton, put my head down and tucked in behind some huge guy from LA and Pr’ed by 2 seconds. We finished 4th and received a medal and Pedro was my hero and all I wanted to do was run after that. I kept running hurdles and triple jumping and running the 400 and 1600 in dual meets, depending on what the other team’s strengths were, but the 800 was my event for the big meets.

4) How long have you been at teaching/coaching at Bellarmine? Any other coaching experiences?

I started teaching English at Bellarmine in 1989. I have been teaching History here since 1990. I also taught at Jesuit High Sacramento from 1986-1988, and at Mitty for one year (1997-98), so 19 years teaching at three Catholic schools. I coached football and track at Jesuit for two years, and soccer at Bellarmine for 9 years and Mitty for 1…I am proud that all 9 years I was in the soccer program at BCP, we won section soccer championships, though I was the JV coach. I coached track at BCP for three years in the early ‘90s, and I am the head track coach as of this year. I do consider myself more of a teacher than a coach; I teach World Cultures, AP European History and Conflict in the Modern World.

5) Tell us a little about Terry Ward and what he has meant to Bellarmine HS.

Well, for over 30 years Terry is and has been an ambassador both for the sport of distance running as well as Ignatian education (he is a graduate of SI in San Francisco and taught and coached at SI before coming to BCP.) In my experience, one of Terry’s finest qualities is his wonderful kindness and acceptance of all people. I always marvel at Terry when we are at meets together; everybody—EVERYBODY—knows Terry, and he knows everyone, and more than that he always has something kind to say and remembers something personal about the person. I have tried—and largely failed—to emulate that. As a coach, Terry was extremely flexible in how he coached his charges. He understood that some athletes require more miles while some need periodic breaks. I learned a lot from him in that regard, and having coached under both Terry and Walt Lange, I think it says something about me that my teams have never come close to their success…perhaps I am a poor student!

6) How do you attract so many runners to run cross country? What is the size of this year's team?

This year we have 134 runners on the team. Obviously the size of Bellarmine contributes to that; we have somewhere around 1600 students, all boys of course, one of the biggest schools in the CCS, so how could we NOT have a huge team? But, beyond that, I think our numbers are a result of the three other coaches on staff: Dave Barone, Casey McCullough, and Richard Nevle. All three are truly excellent, and popular, teachers here at Bellarmine, so we are in constant contact with the student body, encouraging students to come out for the team. The average Bellarmine student is a fairly motivated young man, looking to get involved, and at Bellarmine there is a least one sport each season that is ‘no-cut’ so that any student who wants to compete in athletics can have the chance. Cross Country is that sport in the Fall, though we call it ‘self-cut’ because anyone who comes to practice every day can be on the team, but they have to come to practice every day. That policy has worked out for us well; Kyle Tuttle ’07 ran a 9:48 1600 time trial his freshman cross country season, and a 9:48 3200 in the WCAL track finals his senior year. He just showed up to practice every day and did what he was asked.

We also try to make the sport fun, especially by running off campus as much as possible, including yearly ‘mystery runs’—the athletes don’t know where we are going, and we run somewhere we have never run before. Our next mystery run is October 15th. This year we have relied on Senior and Junior leadership to interact even more with the young runners, hoping to inspire them to become leaders themselves, while also making them feel more a part of the team. On some recovery days this year we have played ultimate Frisbee, and we always have the beginning of the season pot luck, during which we encourage parents to come to as many events—including practices—as they can, which increases the amount of food that shows up at meets and workouts, which makes the runners happy too! Maybe not the most inspiring list, but I think it all adds up to a big roster every year.

7) Tell us a little about what you want your runners to accomplish during the summer.

Summer running is a real conundrum for me. Chad Evans, the outstanding coach at SI, gave me a line I use all the time: the three most important words in cross country are June, July, and August. And I agree with that; no runner will maximize his or her potential without putting in the miles over the summer. But, at Bellarmine, like at all schools, I have many student-athletes who have varied interests, and during the summer they have opportunities to explore those interests in ways they cannot during the school year because of academic responsibilities. So, I encourage them to go to music camp and space camp and Boy Scout Camp and everything else that will enrich their lives. At Bellarmine, we are blessed to have immersion trips that take students to El Salvador and Guatemala during the summer, and many of our students travel with Amigos de las Americas, and this summer one of our better runners actually worked with the Sisters of Charity (Mother Theresa’s order) in India…how am I going to say no to opportunities like that? I WANT them to do those things! So, I say run when you are here. As far as the running goes, we take it easy in general. 40+ mile weeks for our better runners, though if their bodies can handle more, then I encourage them to add in long runs when possible. We do absolutely zero quality work, nothing until late August. In the end, I wish our guys ran more during the summer but I am happy with the sorts of things most of them do in lieu of running, so on balance it all works out.

8) What training areas do you primarily use for your practices?

Running around Bellarmine is horrible. We are bound by the Alameda, I-880, the SJ airport, the Cal train tracks and Taylor Street…nothing but pavement and traffic in every direction. We do have two city parks close by, and we use them quite often. But we go to Rancho San Antonio once a week, Alum Rock once a week, and the Los Gatos Creek Trail once a week. We also use Quicksilver Park during the season. The highlights of the season, though, are the weekend runs we do at the Forest of Nicene Marks State Park in Aptos, Rio Del Mar beach and my personal favorite, Waddell Creek State Beach, where we run up into Big Basin State Park. Of course, this means buses 4 days a week, so thank heavens for our outstanding AD’s office and maintenance crew.

9) Your team competes in the WCAL which is an incredibly competitive league for many sports. How does competing in this league prepare your team for CCS and beyond?

Well, it prepares me because the other coaches are excellent coaches and even better people; I have to try to keep up with them! And, much of what I have learned has come from them…thanks especially to Al Berran at SI! We know that every year our League is going to be very competitive on all four levels, and that all seven schools will field competitive teams on all four levels, so we will have to be mentally focused at all three of our League meets or we will be beaten soundly. Ironically, I think it may hurt us as much as help us at CCS. Of course it helps in that we have run three intense races, but I also think it can take a lot out of us. Our three League meets happen on three Wednesdays, run every other week over a five week period. We are pretty ‘run out’ by the end of that, and I wish our League would change that so that we could be fresher at the end of the season. Also, in trying to prepare for our League Championship (which counts for ½ the team total), we choose not to go to meets like Mt. Sac, which I think would help us prepare for State.

10) From your experience as a competitor and coach, what does it take to be a successful distance runner?

I believe that successful distance running requires many things, but for me the absolute ‘musts’ are consistency and discipline. Runners must run consistently for a long period in order to build the cardio-vascular fitness that can then be fine-tuned. I don’t think four days a week will do it. And, so many intangible items inhibit or boost one’s running that discipline is huge. Runners must live a healthy life, obviously staying away from alcohol and drugs, but also incorporating healthy foods into their diet and getting the hours of sleep that their body—and mind—needs. They must limit the time they spend in front of a video game console or IM screen on the computer; do your homework and go to bed, that’s my coaching credo!! In addition to those two things, I think having like-minded teammates is key, because a season of running long and hard on your own can be emotionally draining, while sharing the challenge of hard training with teammates not only enhances the experience but can push a student-athlete way beyond what they may have perceived as their limits.

11) Rumor is that you are quite adept at figuring out team scores as cross country races progress and before the results are even announced. How does one acquire such a skill?

Uhm, you have been talking to Sean Laughlin! Wasting countless hours as a kid calculating baseball stats without a calculator in competition against my brother Timothy; trying to figure out 1600 relay splits in my head; luck.

12) Anything else you would like to add.

Thanks to you Albert for running your site. I am a fan, because anything that celebrates the sport of running is a boon. I love coaching these young people, and I truly believe a positive athletic experience can help them to realize their potential as humans, which is why I wish we could attract even more kids away from computers and video games and out on trails…and anything which shines a light on our sport helps that. While simply running on your team should be enough as an intrinsic reward, I feel the sport could use some more positive publicity. I wish we had better places to train and race, or perhaps I should say more places to train and race. And, it is an honor to work with and compete against so many other wonderful people, all these great coaches in Northern California. Other than that, thanks for asking and go Red Sox!!

Thank you very much for your time Patrick! AJC

Monday, August 26, 2019

Pre-Season section previews

You can check out previews for all the sections in California at this link:

You can also check out the countdown of all the top teams in California which includes several Northern California teams:

Friday, August 23, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

2019 NCS Division V pre-season Cross Country rankings (boys and girls)

You can check out the divisions for the upcoming season at this LINK. The lone team that dropped down from Division IV is Cardinal Newman.

Due to the air quality last year, this division's races were not contested. At the state meet, the Lick-Wilmerding boys finished in 2nd place followed by Rincon Valley Christian in 4th, University in 8th and Head-Royce in 10th place. For the girls, the Lick-Wilmerding team won their first state title followed by University in 5th place, Branson in 8th place, Head-Royce in 9th place and St. Joseph Notre Dame in 10th place. It was a great showing once again for the section despite many teams not having the opportunity to race for several weeks.

For this coming season, the race for the team title appears to be wide open. Multiple teams will have an opportunity at the section title provided they did their summer running and are able to add depth to their strong front runners.

Lick-Wilmerding scored a 2nd place finish at the state meet and return potentially one of the best runners in this division in rising sophomore Alex Mader (4:28.76/9:29.63). They return 4 from last year's state meet and have displayed excellent depth as one of the largest division V teams in this section.

Head-Royce had an excellent 2018 season and had one of the tightest packs in this division. They finished in 10th place at the state and will return 5 members from that team.

The University boys won their first state championship in 2017. They battled through injury issues last year and finished in 8th place at the state meet. Lead runner Charlie Kennedy (1:56.40/4:26.54) made a spectacular return in the spring and performed extremely well during this past Track and Field season.

Rincon Valley Christian had their best season ever under the leadership of veteran coach, Harry Skandera. They finished in 4th place at the state meet and return some very strong runners (Brady English and Simon Peterson) from that team. Last spring, Rincon Valley Christian closed it's doors after four decades as they graduated their final class of seniors. It looks like another school (Victory Christian Academy) has taken it's place but we where those RVC runners attend this fall is still a mystery.

Other teams that will be in the mix are Stuart HallCollege Prep and St. Joseph Notre Dame. All three schools have done well in the past and shouldn't be counted out as contenders for the state meet.

The race for the individual title should come down to a battle between College Prep senior Jacob Lehmann-Duke (4:27.56/9:28.22), Lick-Wilmerding sophomore Alex Mader (4:28.76/9:29.63) and Rincon Valley Christian junior Brady English (4:32.27/9:53.00). University senior Charlie Kennedy will also be in contention and would be quite a threat if there is a sprint for the individual title.

Division V Boys (Top 5 Advance to State)
1) Lick-Wilmerding-Strong 2nd place finish at last year's state meet.
2) Head Royce-Very solid team that will be looking to improve their state meet finish from '18.
3) University-Some heavy losses due to graduation but do not count them out.
4) Rincon Valley Christian-Actually this school is closed but don't count them out just yet.
5) Stuart Hall-Sold team in BCL West will be looking to qualify to another state meet.
On the bubble: Branson, College PrepSt. Joseph ND

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2018 state meet time:

Jacob Lehmann-Duke (8) College Prep 16:16.0
Alex Mader (12) Lick-Wilmerding 16.21.6
Brady English (17) Rincon Valley Christian 16:29.5
Simon Peterson (16) Rincon Valley Christian 16:45.9
Jack Vanden Heuvel (27) Healdsburg 16:50.1

Despite not racing for a few weeks, the Lick-Wilmerding girls won their first state XC title in 2018 They edged out St. Margarets by 6 points (97 to 103) as the Tartans just missed winning two state titles following their boy's victorious effort.

This coming season, L-W will return 7 of their 8 top runners and should be considered as the favorites. They will be led by Mira Terdiman (2:23.39/5:08.39) and Maya Lacamp (2:16.53/5:09.70).

Their main competition should come from the top team out of the BCL East, the Head-Royce Jayhawks. They have one advantage over the Lick-Wilmerding Tigers in that they return their top 8 runners. They also have a strong duo upfront with Kaya Hano (2:26.77/5:09.69/11:29.98) and Ona Ortiz-Guteman (2:24.63/5:12.90/11:17.01).

University will more than keep Lick-Wilmerding and Head-Royce honest as they have been one of the strongest teams in the state. Coach Carin Marrs has maintained and built on the success established by past coach Jim Tracy. They finished in 5th place at the state meet last year and will be looking to improve on that finish.

The rest of the contending teams should include St. Joseph Notre Dame (10th at 2018 state meet), Marin Academy, Urban and Branson (8th at 2018 state meet). 

Individually, all the girls mentioned above will be vying for a top finish but the individual favorite should be St. Helena junior, Harper McClain (2:24.79/5:01.04/10:29.68). She has not competed in Cross Country so far in high school but considering her track success this past spring, I think it's pretty clear that she will be tearing it up this fall.

Division V Girls (Top 6 Advance to State)
1) Lick-Wilmerding-Defending their first-ever state XC title.
2) Head Royce-Return their top 8 runners from 2018 season.
3) University-Solid top 3 team that will be in contention once again.
4) St. Joseph ND-Solid competitive program led by veteran coach, Tony Fong
5) Marin Academy-One of the surprises from the 2018 season that will be in the hunt once again.
6) Urban-Resides in the always tough BCL West which may elevate their girls to contention.
On the bubble: Branson, Convent & Stuart Hall

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2018 state meet time:

Mira Terdiman (12) Lick-Wilmerding 19:17.3
Kaya Hano (16) Head-Royce 19:36.8
Ona Ortiz (21) Head-Royce 19:42.2
Caitlin Evers (29) Branson 19:51.6
Maya Lacamp (30) Lick-Wilmerding 19:55.9

2019 State XC Meet auto team qualifiers

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Note from Lowell Invitational Meet Director Andy Leong

Apologies to teams that were rejected from the San Francisco/Lowell Invitational.  San Francisco Rec and Park has put a cap on the numbers of runners I can have so I cannot let any other schools in the meet. At this point, the meet is full.

Andy Leong
Meet Director
Lowell Invitational

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