Sunday, July 06, 2008

CCS Division II Pre-Season Rankings '08

The following rankings are based on teams and individuals that competed in this division last year. The CBEDs are not out yet for CCS so there could be changes which will be dealt with later in the season. Thanks to former Palo Alto coach Jeff Billing with his help on the following rankings. Thank you also to Walt VanZant for his incredible compilation of all runners and teams in every CCS division which can be found at this link.

With my sabbatical from teaching and coaching last year, I was able to attend a LOT of cross country races and without a doubt, two of the most exciting races I witnessed last year involved Mt. View and Palo Alto High Schools, but more specifically Philip MacQuitty (Palo Alto) and Garrett Rowe (Mt. View). Fortunately for cross country fans, MacQuitty and Rowe were both sophomores last year so we will get to see those two battle once again for at least two more years.

Going into this season, it appears that Mt View and Palo Alto are going to lock horns again in a very tight battle during the league, section and state competition. The match-ups will be tight down the line starting from the #1s (Rowe vs. MacQuitty), #2s (Charlie Avis vs. Ian Myjer), and #3/4s (Parker Schuh/Neil Lingarker vs. Skyler Cummins/Henry Jordan). As with most close cross country races, the winner could be decided by the 5th and 6th runners as both teams displayed a lot of depth this past track and field season.

With 3 teams going to the state meet and with Mt. View and Palo Alto already spoken for, the next two teams are no strangers to CCS Championships. St. Francis, the defending Division II champions, have won 7 CCS titles ('91, '94, '97, '98, '02, '05 and '07) while Los Gatos, last year's 2nd place team, has won CCS titles in 4 separate decades ('78, '79, '80, '88, '92, '98, '99, '00, '05 and '06). While they both lose several key runners, it appears that St. Francis will have the edge returning 4 out of their top 7 from last year.

This is a clearly a very deep division that will result in several very good teams staying home during Thanksgiving weekend. The teams at this moment that appear to be on the cusp of state meet berths are Gunn with their 5 juniors, the Vince Rodriguez led Santa Clara squad who should have a very low number begin their team scoring.

The contest for the individual crown will be a repeat from last year as most of the top finishers are all back as well as Sobrato's Lance Wolfsmith who drops down from Division I. Last year's race had the first five runners separated by 5 seconds and this year's race could be just as competitive. Despite some setbacks during the just finished track and field season, the two favorites will be juniors Philip MacQuitty and Garrett Rowe. Rodriguez and Avis should be right there with those two as well as Daniel Filipcik of Woodside, Lance Wolfsmith of Sobrato and Myjer of Mt. View.

The girls' team race will be a battle between two teams returning their entire top five, league rivals Mt. View and Gunn. Both have tremendous front runners (Jackie Evans and Allegra Mayer for Gunn and Mary Reynolds and Alexandra Westbrook for Mt. View) and tremendous team depth. I am not sure how many times these teams will meet each other but the CCS race could be the tie breaker to determine the season champion.

While Gunn and Mt. View may have the two best teams, the team with the two best runners will be Leland as they return the individual section champion, Stephanie Barnett and her sister Claudia who finished in 4th place in the same race. The rest of their team included precocious 9th graders who should benefit from the experience. The next two teams should be one of the state meet qualifiers from last year, Presentation and Lynbrook which boasts two runners (Lauren Tang and Cindy Huang) with sub 19 Crystal Springs clockings.

As with most girls' races, the majority of last year's finishers are back. The favorite and rightfully so will be Stephanie Barnett of Leland. She won last year's race by 23 seconds in an impressive 17:32 but don't count out her sister Claudia, the Mt. View and Gunn runners who could all venture into the sub. 18 territory.

Division II Boys (Top 3 teams advance to state)
1) Mt View-Top 5 are back for state '07 state qualifying team.
2) Palo Alto-MacQuitty/Avis, tough 1/2 punch.
3) St. Francis-Can they repeat another stunning performance at CCS?
4) Gunn-Paul Summers will lead the way.
5) Los Gatos-New coaches/key losses but don't count them out.
On the bubble: Leland, Sobrato, and Santa Clara

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2007 CCS meet time:
Philip MacQuitty (1) Palo Alto 15:26
Garrett Rowe (2) Mt. View 15:27Vince Rodriguez (3) Santa Clara 15:27
Daniel Filipcik (8) Woodside 15:44
Charlie Avis (9) Palo Alto 15:47

Division II Girls (Top 3 teams advance to state)
1) Mt View-Top 5 are back for state '07 state qualifying team.
2) Gunn-Will give Mt. View all they can handle.
3) Leland-Barnett sisters lead the way.
4) Presentation-State meet qualifiers last year.
5) Lynbrook-Could have 2 runners in top 10.
On the bubble: Santa Clara, St. Francis and Palo Alto

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2007 CCS meet time:
Stephanie Barnett (1) Leland 17:32
Allegra Mayer (3) Gunn 18:19
Claudia Barnett (4) Leland 18:21
Mary Reynolds (5) Mt. View 18:29
Emma Dohner (7) Gunn 18:33

Feel free to comment on the above rankings. NCS and CCS Division III rankings will be up next.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Caruana,

The picture that leads from Mary Reynold's name is incorrect. Just thought you might want to know.

Albert Caruana said...

Thanks for catching. It's fixed now.

Anonymous said...

Great summary. Paly boys will need to step up to beat Mountain View. Returning 16:13 avg for MV vs. 16:35 for Paly through 5 and 16:22 vs 16:59 through 7.

Anonymous said...

Rumor around St. Francis is that Mountain View has an amazing female runner: Alison Sturgis. Have you heard about her?

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