Sunday, July 23, 2006

NCS Division IV Pre-Season Rankings

After scoring an impressive 33 points at last year's NCS Meet to win their 7th section title, the Piedmont H.S. boys lived up to their pre-season billing and won their 1st XC State Championship. Piedmont has quietly been one of the top XC programs ever since the debut of the State Championship at Woodward Park in 1987 with an impressive string of success in Fresno. From the inception of the state meet to 2005, Piedmont has recorded 7 Top Five Finishes (1988 5th in Division II, 1993 4th in Division IV, 1994 4th in Division IV, 1995 3rd in Division IV, 2000 3rd in Division IV, 2004 5th in Division IV and 2005 1st in Division IV). Not too many teams in the state of California can match that level of consistency over that period of time.

The loss of the senior group from last year could prove to be too much for the Highlanders. Although they appear to return a dynamic duo (Marc Ceraldi and Jesse Baldridge), that too is still uncertain. Ceraldi was shut down midway through Track season and his return to XC is still up in the air. For anybody who has been to the Piedmont campus, there will be no doubt that whoever will make up Piedmont's top 7 this year will be very tough on hills.

With Piedmont appearing to be the wild card of Division IV, St. Mary's Berkeley and Arcata now emerge as the two favorites for the NCS title. Both teams are well armed for battle this year bringing back the majority of their top runners (Arcata doesn't lose anybody). Matt Duffy and Rob Riccardi will lead St. Mary's this year after both recording top 10 finishes at last year's NCS meet. Arcata will bring a lot of depth to the meet led by senior Ian Girard.

For the girls, Piedmont appears to be the favorite for the NCS crown. They return their top runner (Marki Becker) along with a very talented group that just narrowly lost last year's NCS race to a very tough, senior laden, Arcata team. The next three state meet qualifying spots will come down to a very even competition between El Molino (down from Div. III), Ursuline, St. Joseph Notre Dame, and San Rafael (also down from Div. III). Frequent state meet competitors Moreau Catholic and Arcata will be ready of any of the previously mentioned teams falter in Ukiah.

Division IV Boys (Top 3 Advance to state)
1) St. Mary's Berkeley-Duffy and Riccardi form tough duo up front.
2) Arcata-Deep, competitive team that could upset.
3) San Rafael-Dave Buscho leads the way for the Bulldogs.
4) Piedmont-Can they put it together again this year?
5) Moreau Catholic-Always one of the top Division IV teams.
On the bubble: Cardinal Newman

Top 5 Returning Individuals, (place) & time 2005 NCS meet:
Marc Ceraldi (1) Piedmont 15:24
Matt Duffy (6) St. Mary's Berkeley 15:58
Jesse Baldridge (7) Piedmont 16:03
Rob Riccardi (9) St. Mary's Berkeley 16:03
Ian Girard (11) Arcata 16:26
Also: David Buscho (6th in Division III) San Rafael 16:02

Division IV Girls (Top 3 Advance to state)
1) Piedmont-Deepest team returning in this Division.
2) Ursuline-Have qualified for state 3 out of the last 4 years.
3) St. Joseph Notre Dame-Damajeria Dubose (10th) leads the Pilots.
4) San Rafael-Could this be their 1st State Meet berth?
5) El Molino-Top 5 is back with hopes of Fresno.
One the bubble: Arcata, Moreau Catholic

Top 5 Returning Individuals, (place) & time 2005 NCS meet:
Marki Becker (3) Piedmont 19:03
Natalee Fisher (5) Marin Catholic 19:22
Arielle Frasher-Slavin (5)Arcata 19:27
Marielle Ponticiello (8)Ursuline 19:32
Damajeria Dubose (9)St. Joseph ND 19:33

Division V will be posted on Wednesday. Feel free to comment on above rankings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

SM vs Arcata will be close... up front power verse packing... It will determine how deep the field will be this year

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