Thursday, July 01, 2010

Top 20 Countdown of CCS Girls' XC teams...

First, it's actually 23 teams with the addition of three "Teams to Watch".  Second, this is not my list but thank you to the contributor of this list.  Lastly, if anybody out there would like to contribute pre-season rankings for any sections in Northern CA to this blog, feel free to email me your lists to

Teams to Watch:
(or better known as “why they heck are they not in the top 20” list)

Notre Dame Salinas (8) – A great team last year that finished 8th in the final ranking in 2010, they return 3 of their top 5.  But besides that their 4 & 5 runners were in the 24’s for Toro Park last season.  They surprised us last year, and could do it again but at this point they have to get bumped.

Palo Alto (19) – 19th last season they lose their #1 but the next 6 runners return, 5 of whom were under 21 min at Crystal last year.  Watch out!

Woodside Priory (23) – Priory was the D5 Champion this year and Kat Gregory really separated herself as one of the top runners in the section last year. This team finished 23rd last year and return 5 of 7.  They are going to need some help if they want to get into that 10-15 spot but with a talent like Gregory leading the way anything can happen.

20)  Leigh (15) 15th last season they lose their #1 but just like Palo Alto the next 6 runners return.  Another team to watch out for this year!

19)  Aragon (25) Did anyone notice this team returns their top 6 runners (who were all freshman and sophomores last year) three of whom are absolutely outstanding?  Led by Lauren Croshaw and Nikki Stokman this team is making some waves and are on the move.  Don’t let their 25th over-all finish from last season fool you, with some development of their 4 and 5 runners (or another lucky freshman or two) this team is in the top 10!

18)  Evergreen Valley (18) This team finished 18th last year over-all and return Samantha Garcia who proved to be one of the best cross country runners in the section last season.  They return 4 runners who have run sub 21 at Crystal last year but needs that number 5 runner to take the next step

17)  San Benito (16) Last year finished 16th in the final rankings and return 5 runners all under 21 at Crystal last year but they lose a really good #1 runner, Rachel Shimabukuro who ran 18:51 at last year’s CCS championship.  San Benito is a big school and they get a big turn out every year.  They are deep and could sneak into the top 15 this year.

16) Sacred Heart Cathedral (27) Maybe it is the luck of the Irish, but more likely that Coach Andy Chan is one heck of a coach.  They had a tough run at CCS last year but this team is definitely a dark horse this season.  Led by standout Sophia Cannata-Brown who won the WCAL Championship at 3200 meters and made the CCS final this team returns their top 7 runners and could be dangerous this year. With 6 runners who ran sub 21 last year at Crystal they are going to be a lot better.

15)  Valley Christian SJ (12)  A talented group of runners return with Morgan Lira, Isabel Garcia, and Emily Blaha leading the charge.  That trio had a solid track season as they all ran sub 5:15 for 1600 meters and 11:40 for 3200 meters.  The Warriors return 4 of their top 5.

They lose Kendra Higgins to graduation and Amy Bergman who moved to Texas. The Warriors top three have yet to convert their track ability to the trails but still are very competitive up front.  The key to this team’s success, like everyone else, is how fast will the 4 & 5 runner be?  They return some solid 21 min runners but that is not going to get it done against Aptos, SI, Santa Cruz and Sacred Heart.  The Warriors have to step it up if they want to return to the State meet, right now they are on the outside looking in.

14)  Scotts Valley (10)  Last year Scotts Valley finished 10th in the final CCS rankings and will be very good once again in 2010. Four talented runners return, led by standout Vanessa Fraser.  But the story here is that Scotts Valley also had a very talented JV girls’ team and will be able to field a very strong team from top to bottom this season.

The team graduates the Germany twins who were essential to their great run last year and they are going to be hard to replace.  This is a bubble team and with one or two runners step up they will once again be top 10.

13)  Lynbrook (17) Led by CCS track finalists Cindy Huang and Shaelyn Silverman Lynbrook returns 5 of their top 7. This team was solid all year last year and will be once again.  They have had some amazing success in the 800 on the track this past season posting one of the top times in the section in the 4 x 800 relay.

They lose their number 3 runner Michelle Yee but returning 5 runners who ran under 21 last year is a good place to start.  They have a new coaching staff once again and you might think that constantly adjusting to a new program might be difficult, but I think they will thrive under the new leadership.  The toughest challenging facing this team is to climb the ladder in the tough D2 standings.

12)  Mitty (20) You might not have noticed but this team started the season by quietly winning the first WCAL meet in 2009 and closed out the season 2nd at the WCAL Championship.  This is a good team led by Mary Kriege, who was a CCS finalist this year at 3200 meters.  Olivia Rentera had a good season with the 800 as all of their top 5 runners return from last season.

The only bad is out of their control: they are in the brutally tough D2.  But what can you say, returning their entire top 5 they will be very, very good.  They know how to step up for the big race, just look at how they ran at WCAL.  If someone steps up or they get an outstanding freshman this team will be dangerous in 2010.

11) St. Ignatius (11) The defending WCAL Champions get it done, even in rebuilding years.  Led by standout Rachel Hinds, one of the top runners in CCS, this team has the depth to be a contender year after year.

SI loses their #3 runner, Abby Otto who ran 19:47 at CCS last year but this team has a ton of quality runners on JV and Frosh-Soph who step up year after year.

This team seems to battle Aptos every year for a CCS title.  Now they will have to also fend off Santa Cruz, Valley Christian and an emerging Sacred Heart team. With Hinds leading the charge and a favorite for the individual title this team is tough!

10)  Half Moon Bay 5 of their top 7 return this year and will be led by Chondra Anderson who was very good as a freshman last year and was the Cougars top finisher at CCS.

Sammy Hamilton is the big departure.  Her tenacity and gutsy running was special to watch.  My bet is it rubbed off on the returning members and will still be dang good.  They also lose their #3 runner who ran 19:39 at CCS last year.

Five very good runners return.  Led by Anderson this team still has potential to do damage and get it done and worthy of a top 10 ranking.

9) Presentation (14) This team’s power comes in the pack, and they are strong from top to bottom.  They are decent up front and are probably the early favorite to win the WCAL due to the strength of their 3, 4, 5 runners.  They return all 7 runners led by Laura Vasquez, Angie Korpusik, and Tori Tsolis.

They don’t lose a single runner this year but they do lose a very talented head coach.  The new energy might just be the thing that gets them going this year.  On paper they’re great, they just need to put it together on race day.

I think this team has a ton of talent and just needs that breakthrough win.  They have been so close, they just need to put it together.

8) Gilroy (4) Gilroy surprised time and again last year ending the season ranked #4 in the section.  Despite a brilliant performance at CCS they finished 3rd behind Gunn and Carlmont and due to only 2 team spots in D1 the Mustangs did not get to go to the big dance as a team. They return three very talented runners: Athena Alarcon, Maritza Ruelas, Savannah Silacci who all could be in the 18’s.

Patricia Hernandez (19:06) and Brandie Rodriguez (20:01) graduate which is a big dent to this year’s team.    Last year there wasn’t much depth beyond the number 5 as their 6 and 7 runners were in the 22’s at Crystal.  Those are good times, just not good enough to justify a top 5 ranking.

This team is a tough call.  With 1-2 good freshman who can run in the 20’s they could once again be a contender and top 5 team.  At this point not knowing who will show up that first practice I have to drop them down.  There is a good Junior High program in South Bay but with the opening of Christopher High taking half of incoming freshman you have to wonder what will happen with the split in enrollment.  While most teams would not likely finish in the top 10 with two 22 min runners I think the 4, 5 runners will step up and the powerhouse threesome they have up front will certainly carry them to a top 10 finish.

7)  Santa Cruz (9) I’m probably being a little biased toward my alma matter but coach Greg Brock got his girls rolling at the end of last season as they took down a very powerful Notre Dame – Salinas and Scotts Valley to finish 2nd in the section and qualify for State.  And it doesn’t hurt to have Maggie Vesse as a role model, watching her workouts there on the band new Santa Cruz track before practice.  To top it off 6 of 7 return.

The Cardinals lose a great runner in Elle Sanders who was one of their top runners all season.  She will be hard to replace but SCCAL schools always do somehow.

I have to be honest here, when I heard Santa Cruz would be moving up to D3 this year it was an “oh crap” moment for my team.  They have a traditional slow start but my guess is they will be peaking at the right time to challenge for one of those State spots.

6)  St. Francis MV (13) This is a big time program that is primed for a big timejump and should be respected.  Morgan Healy returns after leading the team last year and will be challenged by Madeline Roemer who had an amazing tack season. They return 6 of their top 7 and should be much better than last year.

The Lancers lose a #4 who was very consistent but their frosh-soph and JV was stacked last season.  They will be an early player and a very solid team throughout 2010.  They have two very strong front runners who are probably going to be running in the 18’s and a very strong supporting cast.  This team is deep and with another good incoming freshman this is the team to watch out for.

5)  Aptos (6) Nikki Hiltz had one killer track season and made a name for herself as the next great Aptos runner.  If you took a glance at the Junior High results from Santa Cruz you will find another great freshman in the works for Aptos.  And if you can count on one thing it is that Danny will get his team ready to roll come CCS finals as they always do!

Marissa Ferrante (CCS Champion, D3) and Kim McMullen (3rd in CCS, D3) were key components to the team that placed 3 runners in the top 5 at CCS last year. 

On paper this team is not going to be as good as year’s past but if you have watched Aptos over the years that’s the way it is there… Great runners graduate and are replaced by fresh new talent.  In the end this is an opportunity for the younger runners to step up, and they always do.  They may not be ranked #1 like last year but they will be a good team and in contention for another team title. 

4)  Los Gatos (5)  Katie Castro, Danielle Katz, Kayla Knapp return after a breakthrough track season.  This team has gotten stronger and stronger over the years and is ready for a big breakthrough as they return 6 of their top 7.  This team defeated Gunn at the SCVAL Championship last year and has the character to get it done when you need it most.

Their only loss is their #5 runner who was solid running 19:52 at CCS last year. 

This team is going to be good!  If you think back to the pre- Mountain View days Los Gatos topped the CCS as the #1 team back in 2006 and this team looks very similar and it wouldn’t surprise me the least if they end up #1 when the Toro Park dust has settled at the end of the day.  If history is any indication of what is in store my guess is a freshman will come in and step into that top 5 role nicely.  I have them at #4 but with a few lucky freshman could be #1, they are that good.

3)  Gunn (2)  In 2009 Gunn finished just 4 points from the #1 ranking thanks to the efforts of Erin Robinson and Kieran Gallagher.  These two dominated the 2010 track season as Robinson won CCS at 3200 meters and Gallagher finished the season with the fastest 800 time in the section. 

Gunn loses some heavy hitters in Claire O'Connell and Rachel Wittenaur, their powerful 3 and 4 runners that really carried the team last year.  While their 6 and 7 runners would be big time contributors most teams in the CCS, they will be hard pressed to replace the talent that is graduating, but you never know.  Not much help from Frosh-Soph or JV but like all girls teams they are just 1-2 freshman away from running away with the top ranking.

This team knows how to compete.  I almost put them #2 and then #1, but we settled here…for now.  It will be hard to get freshman or a new recruit to step up and fill the rolls vacated by O’Connell and Whittenaur but Gunn will still be dang good.  The only reason I have them #3 is the lack of depth after their #5 runner which showed in the SCVAL and State championships last season.  You still need to watch out for them as they make another run for the top spot and defend their Division 1 title.

2)  Carlmont (3)  Jessie Petersen returns to high school running (or is supposed to anyways)!  The two time CCS Champion at 3200 meters was the only runner from the CCS last year to break 18 at Crystal last year (17:28).  Corin Soelberg (18:24) and Megan Shearer (18:31) combine to make one of the most competitive trios in the section for 2010.  The good news for Calmont is 4 of their top 5 return.

Carlmont loses a big #3 runner with the graduation of Abby Barker (18:36).  Not very deep in the F/S or JV and  they will need to rely on incoming freshman or recruits for that essential 5, 6, 7 runner.

The question remains: will the Carlmont runners all return to a coaching staff they rejected this past spring?  I guess we will soon see…  Despite the team drama (fueled by the San Mateo paper) this team got it done last year, and probably will once again.  Kids are resilient and despite it all coming to a head this track season it sounds like everyone will go back to doing what they do best up there: running and winning.  On paper this is by far the top returning team in CCS and could pull through in the end to upend the Mountain View dominance we have all become so accustomed to.

1)  Mountain View (1)  Last year I ranked Mountain View #1 and used the words, “machine” to describe what Mountain View has going over there.  Well here we go again: Allison Sturges is the defending D2 cross country champion and is coming off of her CCS win in the 1600 meters. She has come into her own showing unbelievable toughness making the State final.  Another highlight is Sarah Wells who finished the season with a respectable 11:50 for 3200 meters.  The real story is that this powerhouse team returns 5 of their top 7. 

This team loses two heavy hitters, Martina de Geus (18:22) and Zoe Pappas (18:40).

If you look on paper this team should probably be ranked 3 or 4.  But how do you bet against them? There is something to be said about being able to compete and run with guts, and that is exactly what this team does time and again.  Last year I wasn’t sure if they were going to pull off being the top team in CCS as Gunn looked unbelievably strong.  Well they did, and they are back to once again defend their #1 ranking.  Even though they lose two great runners don’t count this team out, they return 5 of their top runners and will make a run for the CCS top spot once again.                              

 So there you have it folks.  Thanks to Josh Small for putting the above list together.  Now that you can see all the teams, what are your thoughts?  Who are going to be the top individuals?  Any teams not ranked above that you think will be there at the end?   


Anonymous said...

Decent rankings, I think when you are in the lower stages (i.e. on the 15-25 teams), a lot of these schools are pretty close and the rankings could go either way. I feel like Aragon could really surprise and maybe even place top 10.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster and the author of the rankings, if Aragon's 4 & 5 can get in the 20-21 range they could be top 10!

Anonymous said...

I think the 3 top returning runners at Aragon (Lauren Croshaw/Nikki Stokman/Kat Chinn) will be even better this coming season

MV Moose said...

Moose's top 23...

Five to watch: Palo Alto, San Benito, Leigh, Leland, ND Salinas
18. Scotts Valley: Need a fifth runner
17. Evergreen Valley: Garcia can't carry the whole team.
16. Gilroy: Strong top three, need two girls to step up to move higher.
15. Valley Christian: Loss of Bergman hurts!
14. Sacred Heart Catherdal: ENTIRE 2009 CCS team was underclassmen.
13. Aragon: I thought I was the only one who had Aragon on the radar...
12. Lynbroook: They look tired at the end of the 2009.
11. Santa Cruz: My notes say SC is Div 4. They looked great at CCS last fall.

10. Half Moon Bay: Still have five under 21 at CS
9. St. Francis: Had a great day at CCS in 2009
8. St. Ignatius: Four solid seniors, but need an underclassman to step up.
7. Mitty: Seven under 21 at CS, three under 20.
6. Aptos: Can they get another frosh to step up?
5. Presentation: Also with seven under 21 at CS.

I think there is then a big spread between #5 and #4...

4. Los Gatos: four under 20 minutes at CS.
3. Gunn: Lost #3, #4, and #7, but are still stacked. Ernie seems to avoid the big CCS meets, so in-season comparisons are difficult.
2. Mountain View: CCS Champs lost #2 & #3. Nine under 21 minutes at CS with four more between 21:00 and 21:18! Talk about a full cupboard!
1. Carlmont: This assumes Petersen returns. Without Jesse, the Scots fall to #9.

Albert Caruana said...

Thanks MV Moose. We will see how closely the list I am posting resembles yours.

Any other attempts at the top 20 girls' teams in CCS?

Anonymous said...

Who is the author of these rankings? Is it Small? I know he did them last year and I know for a fact he is getting a stud freshman this year who has run a 5:30's mile and sub 2:30 for 800. The last 3-4 years Valley always finishes down in league and then is the 1st or 2nd WCAL team in CCS. He, or whoever this is, is either downplaying what he has got or they don't know. I mean they beat St. Francis last year in the over-all CCS. I'm not buying it.

Anonymous said...

SLV Girls Need to keep a eye on for do have 6 talented in coming 8th graders coming in. All have broken 6 min and 2 have broken 5:30. Two have beaten SV top girl. I know coach has been waiting for this and is very excited. Then a lot of sophmores have step up and decided to train this summer. Just keep a eye on!

MV Moose said...

My notes appear to be wrong. Looks like Santa Cruz got the bump to D3. Makes D3 really competitive this fall!
To anonymous ...
I wasn't aware of the incoming SLV horde. Mtn View and St. Francis have to share the bumper crop of 8th graders from Blach. As last years freshies showed, they can make a huge difference for a team, but its really hard to predict which ones will excel and which ones don't have the heart.
Except for Aptos, my rankings necessarily exclude this fall's freshmen.

Albert Caruana said...

Josh Small did put these rankings together.

We'll keep an eye out for the SLV girls. Their boys should be very good as well.

Anonymous said...

What's up with Blach? How is it they produce good runners that feed into Mountain View? I notice at that Lynbrook Invite meet and a few other middle school meets, a lot of years it is a Blach girl that wins or some Blach girls that place high (Allison Sturges won it 2-3 years ago). Is there a good middle school program there?

Anonymous said...

Blach also feeds into Los Altos High and has had a tremendous middle school running program for years. Recently, both Ben Sitler and Tori Tyler also attended Blach

Anonymous said...

So did Garrett Rowe and Ian Myjer...but I think it was more luck of the draw or something in the water then the program. It's not a bad program, but the kids tend to run off pure talent more than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Sounds just like Ralston Middle School feeding Carlmont

Albert Caruana said...

and Cunha feeding Half Moon Bay.

Any others?

Anonymous said...

Willow Glen Middle feeds Willow Glen HS, Aptos middle school, Aptos! :0)

Quimby on the east side is good, feeds Evergreen HS.

Anonymous said...


When will we see NCS D2 rankings? To your detriment, DyeStatCal's migration to mediocrity has left a gap g chasm in coverage of all things running.

Anonymous said...

the north monterey county coach is starting a team at the north montrey county middle schol for his kids

Anonymous said...

when's rank #4-1 gonna be posted?

Albert Caruana said...


Anonymous said...

Come on Albert, when you add the new rankings you have got to give CCS a bump to the top, I'm tired of seeing all the NCS stuff up there!

Albert Caruana said...

I try to post something daily so the latest additions are always on top.

I will add the top 5 CCS girls' teams tomorrow and that post will move back up to the top.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to put together the rankings. I think that MV Moose's list is closer to what we will see this year.

Anonymous said...

It annoys me that it is listed as a 'parent vs coach' drama at Carlmont.
The runners all made their own choices not to run track at Carlmont during spring, while that coach was involved. The parents didn't make those decisions, they just supported their children.
I say good luck to all the runners who are strong and determined enough to run a sport like Cross Country. I hope they all have a great time developing memories and friendships that come with this sport.

Albert Caruana said...

Fair enough. Comment edited.

Anonymous said...

"I think that MV Moose's list is closer to what we will see this year."

MV Moose list's was pretty much identical with a few teams mixed around here and there. The top 4 teams are the same top 4 and it is anyone's game after that.

To be honest I think the big factor is who will have the best freshman, these guesses are all based on who is coming back which is a better predictor for boys.


As for Carlmont, is the coach that was there last year not coming back? What annoys me is parents who plant views into their children and then hide behind them saying they are merely supporting them. I attended a poor public school and one year we didn't even have a coach until half way through the season, and when we did get one they were nothing more than a babysitter. My parents didn't like the coach but would not let me quit. I had to finish what I started even if I didn't like the coach. "One day you will have a boss you don't like and disagree with too," they said. In fact, not one person quit the team. Of course this was back in the day when quitting actually was a bad thing. And not one parent went to the newspaper over the bad coaching either.

It was a Carlmont parent who went to the newspaper, not the kids. So I say leave the "parent vs. coaches" statement, because that is exactly what it is. Otherwise they would have quit and no one would have been the wiser but a PARENT had to make it public. My vote is to bring back what was written, because it was nothing but truth!

MV Moose said...

Last Anonymous:
I agree with you:
"MV Moose list's was pretty much identical with a few teams mixed around here and there. The top 4 teams are the same top 4 and it is anyone's game after that."
I know that my pre-CCS predicts were much worse than the Merc's although both were way off.

As far as the Carlmont thing: I think the edit is appropriate. Let's deal with known provable facts: there was a a controversy. As to a parent's role in the affair, does it really matter? <- rhetorical question. What matters is whether the runners show up to practice and run their hearts out for themselves, their friends, school, family, and coach.

I also agree that a freshman or two can make a huge difference. I'm so looking forward to this season, its going to be great!

And lastly... why can't everyone use an alias on this board? You can still remain anonymous, but then we can direct our retorts at the right poster.

Another Carlmont Parent said...

Sorry to go on about this but.....
not one but numerous parents went to the paper about the Carlmont situation so that it was 'public.' That was the aim.
It needed to be known that over 20 runners quit the team because of a serious problem.
Sadly to say the runners will show up to practice and run their hearts out for themselves, their friends, school, family, but not necessarily the coach.
(That will depend on the coach!)

Anonymous said...

"I think that MV Moose's list is closer to what we will see this year."

Let me be more precise. There are 2 components to the rankings--the individual teams and the rankings within those teams. I agree with MV Moose's rankings.

Anonymous said...

whens the boys rankings gonna come out?

Albert Caruana said...

Boys will be up next.

Until then, feel free to check out Walt Van Zant comparisons:

NCR said...

I agree, MV Moose has it right. I think Small did a great job but is trying to stay possitive and be nice. Moose lays it on the line and speaks the truth.

I agree with the parents vs. coaches thing as already brought up as well. If multiple parents went public then that is exactly what it was. But it should have been deleated, unless you are Moose who speaks the truth!

Anonymous said...

Is there any news on Silver Creek's girls team? Or on their coaching staff after the death of head coach Chuck Bean?

Coach Sena said...

I think the rankings are as close as anyone can predict. There has to be some up and coming athletes that each coach knows will surprise a few folks this year. That is the exciting part...who will they be?

Evergreen Valley Boys and Girls will be strong in the BVAL this year. Good running talnent and they will benefit from a new head coach that tunred out some good results at College Park High. CCS Div 1 will be tough for this team but you may see a few indiviual surprises. Samantha Garcia will be stronger thsi year, unfortunaltely illness held her back in both XC and Track. I know because I am the exiting coach and wanted to get some publicity for this wonderful group of runers.

Carlmont has a rich tradition and great runners. The athletes will be the leaders this season and they will make the team top contenders. I look for them to take Div 1 boys and girls.

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