Wednesday, June 20, 2007

NCS Division III Pre-Season Rankings

Historically, Division III has been one of the most competitive divisions for the North Coast Section at the state meet. The four state meet berths for both boys and girls are proof of the division's strength. This year, lots of questions abound in this division. Can the Acalanes boys make one last run at the NCS title? How will Maria Carrillo finish with the departure of coach Danny Aldridge? Will Eureka make in impact in this division? Is Las Lomas ready to move to the top of this girls' division? Will the two defending champions, Laurie Finnegan of Campolindo and Greg Drosky of Las Lomas, repeat? To paraphrase from the old Batman series, tune in next season, same NCS time, same NCS channel, to find out!

Last year, Maria Carrillo, Acalanes and Campolindo staged a great 3 team race for the NCS boys' title. The teams finished in that order with scores of 61, 67 and 73 respectively. The team's fifth runners finished at 21, 22 and 25. It doesn't get much closer than that. The favorites, at this point, for this coming XC season will be Campolindo and Maria Carrillo. Both teams return 4 out of their 7 competitors from their 2006 NCS teams. The Pumas will have three runners (Nathan Huckeba, Grant Wlliams and Alex Hartz) who all broke 10 minutes in the 3200 this past Track season. The Cougars will have a strong class of Juniors (Garret Holmes (update-will not run XC), Ross Geiger and Michael Brondello) who ran 4:33.77, 4:36.01, 4:40.55 respectively at the DFAL F/S Track finals. That junior group also includes their top returners from last year's NCS team, Nate Cox, Robert Pulford, Colby Pines and Jarrett Hendrickson. It's a coin flip at this point so to begin the rankings for this season, I am going with the defending champions, Maria Carrillo.

The favorite for the individual title has to be Greg Drosky of Las Lomas, the defending champion. Not resting on his XC laurels, Drosky went on to record a 9:23.90 3200 meter time which qualified him for the CA state track meet. Nate Beach (4:26.21 and 9:34.93) of Acalanes should also be in the mix as he has finished 3rd, the last two XC seasons at NCS. James Attarian of Dublin recorded an outstanding 4:17.87 to finished 2nd to Brian Cole at the NCS MOC in the 1600m. His teammate Jeremy Grace (9:43.76) along with state meet qualifier from last year, Zeal Levin of Bishop O'Dowd will be in the mix. Nathan Huckeba of Maria Carrillo was impressive during track season recording a season best of 9:32.61.

The girls team title should go through defending champion Campolindo which has won 4 out of the past 7 championships. They return the defending champion, Laurie Finnegan, as well as an army of young runners which includes their #3 runner, Lisa Rosenthal . Maria Carrillo loses their top three runners but the Curtin twins, ( Lauren 2:23.35/5:16.75 and Cara 2:27.93/5:16.09) are ready to make their impact on the XC team. Las Lomas and Redwood return all 7 runners from their 2006 NCS teams and could give the Cougars and Pumas a run for the title. There is no doubt in my mind that a very good team is going to finish 5th at NCS and not be able to participate in the state meet. It could possibly be one of the four teams mentioned above.

Campo's Finny (5:13.17 and 11:25.87) should be the favorite to repeat as the NCS champion. The next five runners that finished behind her as well as Maria Carrillo's Kristen Sanzari have all graduated. Despite all that, her road to the championship will not be easy. The two Maria Carrillo runners showed much promise during Track season and could be contenders. Libby Brokaw of Las Lomas was the top freshman from last year's NCS MOC as she finished 7th. Two runners (Miramonte's Elaine Tanski and Bishop O'Dowd's Alexi Pappas) that were not able to run at last year's NCS meet could possibly return this year and be in the mix for the individual title.

Division III Boys (Top 4 Advance to state)
1) Maria Carrillo-Huckeba will lead Pumas this year.
2) Campolindo-Strong Junior class can challenge for NCS title.
3) Las Lomas-Young, talented team with Drosky leading the way.
4) Acalanes-Capable of beating any of the top 3 teams.
5) Eureka-Could be wild card team here.
On the bubble: Miramonte, Alhambra, Redwood

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2006 NCS meet time:
Greg Drosky (1) 15:18
Nate Beach (3) Acalanes 15:30
James Attarian (4) Dublin 15:30
Jeremy Grace (7) Dublin 16:03
Zeal Levin (9) Bishop O'Dowd 16:09

Division III Girls (Top 4 Advance to state)
1) Campolindo-Can they repeat without Sparky?
2) Maria Carrillo-Have the talent to reload and contend once again.
3) Las Lomas-Top 7 runners ALL back.
4) Redwood-Also return top 7 runners.
5) Bishop O’Dowd-Return of Pappas would make them contender.
One the bubble: Miramonte, Acalanes, Albany

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2006 NCS meet time:
Laurie Finnegan (1) Campolindo 18:21
Libby Brokaw (7) Las Lomas 19:04
Anna Smidebush (8) Concord 19:12
Hannah Farazmand (9) Redwood 19:14
Lisa Rosenthal (10) Campolindo 19:16

From 2005
Elaine Tanski (3) Miramonte 17:59
Alexi Pappas (4) Bishop O'Dowd 18:02

Division IV will be posted next. Feel free to comment on above rankings.


Anonymous said...

Pappas graduated and Garret Holmes is doing football instead of XC, he has never run before but ran 4:33 and thinks hes getting some sort of football scholarship but is ludicrous in comparison to his running abilities and makes me want to cry.

Albert Caruana said...

Joey thanks for the information about Garret Holmes. That is unfortunate.

As for Pappas, I am pretty positive she is going to be a senior. She was listed as a junior in this past Track season and a sophomore, the last time she competed in XC, two years ago. Whether she competes is another story. We'll see.

Great job by the way at the Meet of Champions. Very smart race and well deserved victory.

Best of luck to you in college.

Calvin said...

i like! thanks for doing them, i definitely agree that this will be super competitive!

sparky said...

yep pappas is indeed going to be a senior. however, i am unsure whether or not she is going to be a real threat. if she runs she will definitely be in the top 5. tanski is still out with a knee injury that has kept her from doing basically anything.(AcL) I think you're right on with the d.3 girls prediction. I think campo will take the cake again. The campo boys, however, I am a bit more skeptical about as they have little leadership and spotty racing. I think they will most likely get 3rd again and win next year.

SMXC4life said...

I heard somewhere that Acalanes boys are going to pick up some transfers.

Anonymous said...


"Birth" refers top being born. When talking about a spot, a location, or a mooring place (nautical) the word is "berth."

Peter Brewer

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, Pappas will be a senior. The reason she did not run cross country last year had to do with soccer conflicts. I don't know how that will affect her this year. It definitely had a negative impact on her track times.

Peter Brewer

Albert Caruana said...

Thanks Peter. All fixed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for always writing up all of these predictions.
All of the athletes and coaches really appreciate it! We love not only reading them, but trying to either live up to them or prove them wrong! haha.
And yes, Pappas is a senior and Tanski will probably not be able to run yet. But wow, those two Maria Carillo freshmen girls are fast!
get excited for xc!

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