Monday, July 28, 2008

Oakland Section Preseason Rankings 2008

There could be some history made this year in the Oakland Section. Oakland High has won 14 Oakland Athletic League (OAL) titles and Skyline has won 30 since the OAL added cross country in 1964. None of the other four schools (Castlemont, Fremont, McClymonds or Oakland Technical) have won a boys team title. However, this might be the year that all changes. The rankings were based on individual personal records at Joaquin Miller Park since 2005.
1 – Oakland Technical
The Bulldogs definitely have the most talent of any of the teams coming back. Junior Ryan Potter returns as one of the prospects vying for the individual title. He was able to break up Skyline’s score for perfection at the Oakland Section Championships, taking 5th in 19:47 and beating the other top two returnees (Cameron Kohles from Skyline and Ryan Lok from Oakland High) in the process. The return to the team of senior Jacobo McGuire, who did not run cross country last fall, and sophomore sensations Michael Andemasyal and Larkin Sherrill should provide Oakland Technical enough depth up front to win their first league title ever. Key concerns: Who will be their 5th guy? Will the lack of a track season for Potter derail his title chances? Can McGuire return to his previous form?
2 – Skyline (2007 Champion)
Luckily for Skyline, races aren’t run on paper. They can take consolation in the fact that both themselves and Oakland High won their league titles in streaks, with the shortest being five in a row by Oakland High (1985-1989). The current streak for the Titans is two. The only returning varsity runner from their 2007 Joaquin Miller Park team time record team is senior Cameron Kohles, who will be in thick of it for the individual title. His ability to step up on the big stage was on display at the Arcadia Invitational, where he was a relay member of the 7th place 4 x mile team and 6th place distance medley team. Fellow senior Javier Panzar lost to Potter at the finish line during their dual meet last year. Key concerns: Will a successful junior varsity season in 2007 turn into a successful varsity season in 2008? Will the lack of championship experience be a factor? Can Skyline reload after an amazing 2007 season?
3 – Oakland High
Coach Dave Ponas’ Wildcats could be the dark horse in this battle. After injuries derailed most of his 2007 year, senior Ryan Lok will look to lead his team back to glory and for the individual title. He is the only returning boy who has run sub-19 at Joaquin Miller Park and he was on the OAL championship team in 2005, so experience will not be a factor. Juniors Robert Nguyen (brother of UC Davis runner Thomas Dileo) and Donaciano Mata-Silva will give Oakland High a tough trio. Coach Ponas knows how to get his teams ready for Joaquin Miller Park, exemplified by his nine consecutive OAL titles from 1997-2005. Key concerns: Can Lok return to his previous form? Can they find enough depth in their 4th-7th runners?
Top Returners
Rank Name School Grade Joaquin Miller PR
1 Ryan Lok Oakland High 12 18:56
2 Cameron Kohles Skyline 12 19:33
3 Ryan Potter Oakland Technical 11 19:47
4 Javier Panzar Skyline 12 20:13
Jacobo McGuire Oakland Technical 12 20:13
6 Michael Andemasyal Oakland Technical 10 20:24
7 Larkin Sherrill Oakland Technical 10 21:01
8 Robert Nguyen Oakland High 11 21:11
9 Donaciano Mata-Silva Oakland High 11 21:18
10 Excel Love Skyline 12 21:34

This championship could be a bit more interesting than most people think. Because our section is so small, having a great group up front doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory – there aren’t that many runners for displacing. A team with good depth could squeeze out a title without having an ace.
1 – Oakland Technical
Coach Noah Hinkston has the top three returners ready to roll for a championship run. Sophomore Amelia Dreyer is the going away favorite for the individual title. She has the fastest time of any returnee by a full minute, and her PR was after only a couple months of running. Fellow classmate Julia Eylar could give her a challenge and senior Shira Zingman-Daniels rounds out a talented 1-2-3 combination up front that any team in the OAL will have a tough time breaking up. Key concerns: Can Dreyer and Zingman-Daniels continue their success without quality track seasons? Can they find a 4th and 5th runner to break up Skyline’s depth? Can they challenge the league history similar to the boys (only 1 title in 1991)?
2 – Skyline (2007 Champion)
The Titans will have to flex their depth if they have a chance at repeating. They could possibly put all 7 runners in front of Oakland Technical’s 4th, led by junior Kim Bowen. Bowen has had success in beating Zingman-Daniels in the past and Skyline will need that to have a chance. Similar to the boys, history is on their side – 21 OAL titles since girls cross country was added to the OAL in 1978. Key concerns: Can anyone break up the big three from Oakland Technical? Can Bowen recover from a soccer injury? Will a lack of championship experience (only 3 returners) become a factor?
Top Returnees
Rank Name School Grade Joaquin Miller PR
1 Amelia Dreyer Oakland Technical 10 22:57
2 Julia Eylar Oakland Technical 10 23:57
3 Shira Zingman-Daniels Oakland Technical 12 24:03
4 Kim Bowen Skyline 11 24:27
5 Jade Cho Skyline 11 25:41
6 Adrienne Chen-Ok Skyline 12 25:43
7 Alana Ayasse Skyline 12 26:52
8 Lily Tsukayama Skyline 12 26:58
9 Madeleine Mountain Skyline 12 27:27
10 Chanel Harris Skyline 10 27:34

The Biggest Loser
It seems that, to break up the monotony of summer training, the coaches of the OAL have a silent battle going on as who is the biggest loser of weight, even if they don’t want to admit it. Oakland High coach Dave Ponas started the trend last year losing a tremendous amount of weight. Now, Oakland Technical coach Noah Hinkston has been spotted intensifying his training to shed a few and Skyline coach Christopher Luke Williams was questioned after he was noticed putting in a few miles of his own. Both Hinkston and Williams (cough – lost 20 pounds – cough) have been spying on each other the last couple of months, catching the other sneaking in that extra run or that extra mile. This all begs the question – who will be the biggest loser by seasons end?
Editor’s Note
I want to thank Albert Caruana for asking me to do these rankings. It is a great honor to have not only the Oakland Section recognized, but all of the sectional rankings that he puts on this site. Keep up the great work Albert!
Christopher Luke Williams
Skyline High School
Mathematics Teacher
Cross Country Head Coach
Track & Field Coach

Oakland Athletic League History of Champions
More to come including pictures-Albert

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