Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CCS Division III Pre-Season Rankings '08

Looking at the state meet results from the 2007 CA state meet, 2 CCS teams finished in the top 5 (out of all divisions, boys and girls) and they both resided in Division III. The Aptos boys finished in 3rd place last year as they made their first appearance on the podium (top 3) at the state meet. Willow Glen finished in 3rd place at the CCS final just one point behind the 2nd place St. Ignatius team (83-84) and 21 behind the Aptos boys. Showing the strength of this division, WG finished 4th at the state meet behind the top 10 finishes of Mohammed Abdalla and Nohe Lema.

For this coming season, both teams appear well armed to compete well again at the section and state meets. Aptos returns their #1 runner, Rylan Hunt, as well as 4 out of their top 6. As they have done in the past, Aptos might come out of the gates slowly but Coach Gruber will have them humming again during post season.

Willow Glen does lose their #1 runner from the previous four seasons, Abdalla, but return the rest of their formidable team. Lema, despite being a junior last year, was experiencing his first xc season which makes his 7th place finish at the state that much more impressive. According to in their latest ratings of the top boys' teams in the state, Aptos is ranked at #23 with Willow Glen right behind at #24.

The Central Coast Section has done quite well at state in this division which means they get rewarded with 4 state meet berths. Once you get past Aptos and Willow Glen, the rest of the contenders will include St. Ignatius which managed to just get past WG (83 to 84) last year to finish 2nd. Saratoga returns most of their 6th place team from last year and hope they can leap frog two teams devastated by graduation, North Monterey County and Terra Nova.

The individual battle will start with now seniors Hunt and Lema who finished in 4th and 5th last year respectively at the CCS meet. Hunt had a spectacular junior season on the track (4:13.38/9:21) as he qualified for the CA state meet in the 1600. Lema (4:18.60/9:32.48) was equally impressive as he finished 5th at the CCS 1600m. final.

The rest of the challengers will include Hunt's teammates, Dayne Gradone (4:22.63/9:37.06) and Mitch Moriarty (4:25.56/9:40.63), St. Ignatius' Greg Innis (4:22.23 to finish 7th at CCS), Monterey's Jake Arveson (1:55.62/4:23) who qualified for the ca state track meet in the 800 and Saratoga's Alan Menezes.

The girls' team favorite this coming season will be the defending champions, St. Ignatius. They return the whole kit and kaboodle (entire top 5) which includes the defending CCS individual champion (Rachel Hinds) and defending state champion (Katy Daly). Their main competition will once again be Aptos which finished a close 2nd to SI last year (56 to 62). They return 6 out of the top 7 including Marissa Ferrante (4:55.27/10:57.41) who had an outstanding track and field season finishing 2nd in both the 1600 and 3200 at the CCS finals.

The battle will be for the last state meet spot (3rd) will be between North Monterey County (qualifiers here last year as the 3rd place team), Sacred Heart Cathedral (4th place last year, just 10pts. out of the "money"), Saratoga which returns 6 out of their top 7 and Valley Christian SJ, 2nd placers last year in Division IV.

Hinds and Daly will once again battle for the individual title. Hinds has youth on her side but did not run track during the spring. Daly is an incredibly tough runner who rebounded from her 2nd place finish at CCS by winning state. Moving up to Division III will be Valley Christian SJ's Jennifer Bergman who ran the fastest time on the Crystal Springs course last season (17:25). Ferrante ran well on the track and appears ready to challenge the three runners above. NMC's Jovita Trujillo finished in 4th place last year at CCS and should not be counted out. Katie Nast of Saratoga, a 2nd generation runner on the Crystal Springs course, finished in 9th place last year and will look to move up this season.

Division III Boys (Top 4 teams advance to state)
1) Aptos-4 out of top 6 return for state podium team.
2) Willow Glen-Lema ready to step in as #1 runner.
3) St. Ignatius-4 sub 16:30 runners return.
4) Saratoga-Falcons looking to improve 6th place finish from '07.
5) Monterey-Individual hopeful Arveson leads the way.
On the bubble: North Monterey County, Pioneer, and Riordan

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2007 CCS meet time:
Rylan Hunt
(4) Aptos 15:22
Nohe Lema (5) Willow Glen 15:27
Jake Arveson (7) Monterey 15:47
Mitch Moriarty (10) Aptos 15:52
Greg Innes (12) St. Ignatius 16:08

Division III Girls (Top 3 teams advance to state)
1) St. Ignatius-Top 5 are back for state '07 state qualifying team.
2) Aptos-Will give Mt. View all they can handle.
3) Valley Christian SJ-Bergman is fastest returning runner from last year.
4) North Monterey County-State meet qualifiers last year.
5) Saratoga-Could have 2 runners in top 10.
On the bubble: Burlingame, Notre Dame Belmont, and Sacred Heart Cathedral

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) & 2007 CCS meet time:
Rachel Hinds (1) St. Ignatius 17:41
Katy Daly (2) Gunn 17:45
Marissa Ferrante (4) Aptos 18:24
Jovita Trujillo (5) North Monterey County 18:31
Katie Nast (9) Saratoga 18:53

From Division IV
Jennifer Bergman (1) 17:33

Thank you to Gus Ibarra (NMC) and Walt Van Zant (Wilcox) for their help with the above rankings.

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

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