Monday, November 05, 2007

2007 HAAL Cross Country Preview by Peter Brewer

Final Dual Meet standings:
1. Arroyo 7-1
2. Castro Valley 6-2
2. Hayward 6-2
4. Bishop O’Dowd 5-3
4. Moreau Catholic 5-3
6. San Leandro 3-5
7. Mt. Eden 2-6
8. Tennyson 1-7
9. San Lorenzo 0-8

Arroyo is in the driver’s seat for the overall league title, as they would have to slip to 3rd in the finals to lose out. This would be their first HAAL boys’ title since 1962, and their highest finish since a 2nd place in 1990.
Castro Valley appears to be the favorite for the finals race itself. Jack Leng and James Fazzio have been the solid 1-2 finishers in all of the center meets. Arroyo’s Thomas brothers Daniel and Derek have been the HAAL’s 3-4 runners all year right behind Castro Valley’s 1-2. Castro Valley counters with sophomore Tom Ashby and freshman Ben Eversole, and Arroyo answers right back with seniors Martin Miller and Rick Medierios. Castro Valley’s rotating 5th man (senior Joel Becker and freshman Anthony Martore) seem to have the advantage over Arroyo’s 5th man rotation (senior Marcus Hines and junior Abe Zakkak).
Hayward, Moreau Catholic, and Bishop O’Dowd are all very very close, as indicated by the results of center meet # 3. Hayward has Bisrat Zerehaimanot up front, Moreau counters with Brian Fix, and O’Dowd boasts Zeal Levin. Hayward follows closely with Geordan Smith and Sam Hales, while Moreau claims Kevini Hannon. O’Dowd has to wait awhile before Connor Cronin and Joe Diaz show up. Where the picture muddies up is that O’Dowd can bring iin 6 runners before either Hayward or Moreau can finish their scoring with a number 5. The league finals could see some shakeup in the overall standings.
The second tier of teams has San Leandro clearly in front of the rest. Johny Garcia and Edgar Alvarado are good runners for the Pirates. San Lorenzo has the edge on Mt. Eden and Tennyson by virtue of their top two runners John Lyndon Vergara and Billy McGrath. Tennyson and Mt. Eden look evenly matched in a big race, even though Mt. Eden beat the Lancers easily in their dual meet.

Predicted order of finish
1. Castro Valley
2. Arroyo
3. Hayward
4. Bishop O’Dowd
5. Moreau Catholic
6. San Leandro
7. San Lorenzo
8. Mt. Eden
9. Tennyson

Predicted order of finish, Individuals
1. Jack Leng 12 Castro Valley
2. James Fazzio 12 Castro Valley
4. Daniel Thomas 10 Arroyo
5. Derkek Thomas 12 Arroyo
6. Thomas Ashby 10 Castro Valley
7. Brian Fix 12 Moreau Catholic
8. Bisrat Zerehaimanot 11 Hayward
9. Ben Eversole 9 Castro Valley
10. Kevin Hannon 12 Moreau Catholic

Girls’ Predictions:
Final GV dual standings:
1. Castro Valley 8-0
2. Moreau Catholic 7-1
3. Bishop O’Dowd 6-2
4. Arroyo 5-3
5. San Leandro 4-4
6. Hayward 3-5
7. Mt. Eden 0-8
7. San Lorenzo 0-8
7. Tennyson 0-8

Castro Valley holds all the marbles here. They have been running well all season, are top ranked in NCS Division I, and have been nibbling at top-10 consideration at the State level. Freshman Kelsey Santisteban has been their leader, with defending HAAL champion sophomore Chelsea Schneider only steps behind her. Sophomores Pamela MacLeond and Nicole Yang are close after that, with junior Samantha Owyang the consistant #5 for the Trojans. These runners have all placed in the top 7 of all the center meets this year.
Even though Arroyo counters with a very good Samantha Kearney and an always-tough Lacey Bockhaus, and Bishop O’Dowd has the excellent front duo of freshman Kaitlyn Spees and junior Damajeria Dubose, it is Moreau Catholic that has prevailed over the other two in league standings due to superior depth. The Mariners were able to squeeze 7 runners in front of O’Dowd’s # 4 two weeks ago to take that duel. In a larger race, though, the upfront power of O’Dowd might turn the tables. This will be a very close race for 2nd overall.
San Leandro and Hayward have been able to field complete teams but both remain second tier teams. San Lorenzo runs incomplete, if at all, and Mt. Eden and Tennyson have yet to field a team.

Predicted HAAL finals finish:
1. Castro Valley
2. Bishop O’Dowd
3. Moreau Catholic
4. Arroyo
5. San Leandro
6. Hayward
7 (tie) Mt. Eden, San Lorenzo, Tennyson

Predicted HAAL finish, individuals:
1. Kelsey Santisteban 9 Castro Valley
2. Chelsea Schneider 10 Castro Valley
3. Samantha Kearney 12 Arroyo
4. Pamela MacLeod 10 Castro Valley
5. Nicole Yang 10 Castro Valley
6. Kaitlyn Spees 9 Bishop O’Dowd
7. Samantha Owyang 11 Castro Valley
8. Gabrielle White 9 Castro Valley
9. Lacey Bockhaus 12 Arroyo
10. Damajeria DuBose 11 Bishop O’Dowd

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