Thursday, June 14, 2007

NCS Division I Pre-Season Rankings

After one year of testing the waters of prognostications, here are my second attempts at predicting the top cross country teams in the North Coast Section (NCS). When one thinks of the best harrier squads in NCS, several teams quickly come to mind: De La Salle, College Park, Campolindo, Piedmont and SF University. Now before anybody gets all up in arms about not being included on that list, check out the all time team championship lists for (boys and girls) on the NCS website. Those five schools have won more team titles in the past 7 years than any other teams.

Of course, things do change and several up and coming teams are poised to join those elite teams. With coaching moves, transfers as well as hot shot freshmen, this time of year is always the most difficult time to rank teams. I am always open to feedback so feel free to comment on any of the following picks.

This year's meet will once again take place at Hayward High School. For those of you that need a refresher on the course, you can check out the following two maps, an old school version thanks to the NCS website or this one courtesy of the Miramonte XC website. For the top ten list of times for the Hayward Course at the NCS MOC, you can view that list at this link once again thanks to the NCS website. There has been confusion in the past about the course length but it is in fact 3.0 miles, just shy of being a true 5K course.

Let's begin with Division I teams (Schools with enrollments above 2,111 students) which will have 19 schools that could potentially compete for those elusive spots to Fresno. Without a doubt, this is the most difficult division at the state meet which has left the NCS with only two state meet berths. The returning team champions for both boys and girls will be College Park High School. At this point, the Falcons will be the favorite to repeat as NCS champions but Castro Valley will have something to say about that. CP will be guided by their 3rd coach in the past three seasons although this coach is no stranger to the program as former athlete and coach, Melissa Ridings, takes the helm.

The seven runners that competed at last year's NCS MOC for the Castro Valley girls ALL return. They will be after their 2nd NCS XC championship following their first title in 2004. With those two teams battling for the NCS title, the rest of the teams can only hope for those two teams to slip which may open the door for Livermore or Granada.

The favorite for the individual title will be the returning champion, Alycia Cridebring of College Park. With Livermore and Diana George dropping down to Division II this year, her challenge to repeat should be much easier. George ran a very close 2nd last year and recorded an impressive double at the NCS Meet of Champions winning the 1600 and 3200 races turning back two of the most talented freshmen in California (Carondelet's Nicole Hood and Casa Grande's Jacque Taylor) in both races. With the loss of George from this division, the top five returners were all freshmen last year. That list includes Cridebring, Chelsea Schneider and Pam MacLoed of Castro Valley, Collen Lillig of California and Kelsey Gallagher of College Park.

The College Park boys won convincingly last year but they will have to defend their title without recently graduated, 2006 individual champion, Andy Peabody. They do return the deepest senior class of any team which makes them the favorite. Castro Valley returns the top tandem of any teams in this division with seniors James Fazzio and Jack Leng. The rest of the top five teams from last year (Deer Valley, San Ramon Valley and Liberty) should be considered contenders again despite some heavy losses due to graduation. Amador Valley, Monte Vista and Foothill appear to have the most returners and should be in the hunt in November.

The top two runners from last year's meet, CP's Peabody and Douglas Whichard of Granada, will be competing in the college ranks this coming season. The top returners are listed below with no clear cut favorite. Junior Wyatt Landrum is the top returner as he finished in 3rd place last year. You would also have to add the two Castro Valley runners as well as fearless front runner, Dimitry Kislyuk of California. Monte Vista's Bhavik Kanzaria should also be in the picture as he finished in the top 10 at the NCS Meet of Champions 3200 meter final.

Division I Boys (Top 2 teams advance to state)
1) College Park-NCS Champions 4 out of past 6 years.
2) Castro Valley-Strong duo up front.
3) San Ramon Valley-Will need to make up ground to catch top 2 teams.
4) Amador Valley-Young team that could impress later in the season.
5) Liberty-Fastest returner, Wyatt Landrum, leads the way.
On the bubble: Deer Valley, Foothill, Granada, Monte Vista

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2006 NCS meet time:
Wyatt Landrum (3) Liberty 15:36
James Fazzio (4) Castro Valley 15:46
Dimitry Kislyuk (5) California 15:52
Jack Leng (7) Castro Valley 15:55
Josh Chaidez (10) College Park 16:10

Division I Girls (Top 2 teams advance to state)
1) College Park-Can 3rd coach in 3 years continue NCS run of titles?
2) Castro Valley-Strong Trojan group can unseed the Falcons.
3) Granada-Returns 2 through 5 from last year's 3rd place team.
4) California-Individual state meet qualifier Collen Lillig leads the way.
5) Monte Vista-Return 4 out of top 5 from last year.
On the bubble: Antioch, San Ramon Valley, Amador Valley, Arroyo

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2006 NCS meet time:
Alycia Cridebring (1) College Park 18:07
Chelsea Schneider (4) Castro Valley 18:53
Pamela MacLeod (6) Castro Valley 19:06
Colleen Lillig (7) California 19:13
Kelsey Gallagher (9) College Park 19:19

Feel free to comment on the above rankings. Division II will be posted soon.


Anonymous said...

According to the NCS website, Livermore will be in D2.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for catching that error. I will make all the necessary changes.

Anonymous said...

Why can't the picture of Kelsey Gallagher be viewed along with the other top five female cross country runners?
As her parent I have not put any restrictions of viewing them, but when clicking on her name a restriction message pops up.


Anonymous said...

I will see what I can do to get a picture link that can be viewed by all. If you have an online link of a picture of your daughter, please send it to me at and I will link it.

Anonymous said...

Nate Baker of Deer Valley is missing from the top returning freshman with a time of 16:58

SMXC4life said...

What were Landrum's track times? I do not recall seeing him in any results?

Albert Caruana said...

Kelsey Gallagher's pic has been posted and should work now.

Nate Baker is listed as a sophomore in last year's NCS MOC meet.

Wyatt Landrum ran a 9:42.89 for 3200 at the NCS MOC.

Anonymous said...

great work, albert.

when can we expect D2?

Anonymous said...

oh, thats why then...hes actually going to be a sophomore this year. he was a freshman last year

Anonymous said...

does anyone know where i can find the results from ncs from this past track season? i cant find them on dyestat anywhere

Albert Caruana said...

You can view results from this past NCS MOC in Track at the following links (1st link for Friday, 2nd for Saturday):

Anonymous said...

i think castro valley is going to win NCS D1 for girls

Anonymous said...

College Park Girls are returning 4 of their top 5 runners. It should be a good match up with Castro Valley

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