Thursday, June 30, 2011

CCS Boys' Division IV preview by Valley Christian SJ coach, Josh Small

Boys D4 
There is just no other way to put it, Division IV is going to be a dog fight  this year.  With just two state spots available to this division, it will be slim pickings for some of the best teams in the section.  You could very well see a top ranked CCS team stay home this year as it is that close.  And don’t be fooled, these pre-season rankings could very well be top to bottom by season’s end.  4th has just as much of a shot as 1st this year for the section title.  It is going to be great to see these teams duke it out come November!

Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) dominated this division in 2010 (scoring an impressive 36 points to win) and proved to us all that a school with just over 500 students could be one of the best in the entire section.  They finished #2 over-all in CCS, an amazing feat in itself, but they weren’t done there.  Running against schools up to two and a half times their size, they went on to finish 3rd at the State Meet!  What makes this year so close is that Stevenson graduated 4 of their top 7 runners providing an opening for other teams in the section.  But when you stand on the podium at the State Championship it is a magical thing and my guess is that they will be back, reloaded and ready to do defend their title.  RLS is led by Alex Farmer and Andres Spanos who both are in the top 10 returners for this season.  Also after winning the MTAL JV Championship, Stevenson will have runners eager to make the jump to varsity.    

Carmel, who finished 2nd to RLS in the MTAL and CCS Championship in 2010, also look to return to the State meet this season and are in the running for the Section title.  Finishing 12th at the State meet last season they made a strong statement that CCS schools may be worthy of an additional state birth down the line.  But with only two teams advancing this year, everyone is going to need to be tough at the section meet and Carmel is going to be in the mix.  Carmel returns 4 strong runners led by Conrad Hain who is the #2 returner this season in D4 but their real strength is the depth of their top 5. 

Another team with their eyes on the team title is San Lorenzo Valley (SLV).  Led by Cody Johnson, who is coming off qualifying for the State Meet at 800 meters, the SLV squad returns 3 runners ranked in the top 10, the most of any team in this division.  While SLV is tough up front, Carmel and Half Moon advantage is in the strength of their 4 & 5 runners.   Coach Rob Collins knows the tall task at hand, “The boys need to train hard this summer if they want to make a run for the title.  Carmel is always tough and RLS is the defending champion and you can never count out Half Moon Bay and King City.” 

Half Moon Bay is in the hunt and the top ranked team in Walt VanZant's time comparison list (and rightfully so).  Half Moon Bay was 5th last year and following an amazing track season they are ready to go after the title.  They are led by Mitch Martin who ran 16:07 at Crystal last season but Half Moon Bay’s strength is in their depth. They return 4 runners who ran 17:13 or better at Crystal last season where they are always tough.  This team is certainly capable of winning it all this season.

And lastly the depth of D4 gives these top teams “Dark Horse” status as they are all very capable of pulling off an upset this season: (1) Sacred Heart Prep is trending up.  (2) Menlo returns 4 strong runners despite losing their top runner to graduation. (3) King City is always tough and returns Samuel Hales, the top returning individual this season.

DIV. 4 BOYS: Team Pre-Season Rankings
  1. Carmel
  2. Half Moon Bay
  3. San Lorenzo Valley
  4. RL Stevenson
  5. King City
DIV. 4 BOYS: Top Returning Individuals
  1. Samuel Hales, King City
  2. Conrad Hain, Carmel
  3. Alex Farmer, Stevenson
  4. Cody Johnson, SLV
  5. Landis MacMillan, SLV

PattiSue Plumer Joins Track & Field Coaching Staff
PattiSue Plumer makes coaching move from Los Altos HS back to her alma mater.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NCS Division III boys' pre-season rankings/analysis by Bishop O'Dowd runner Karsten Kaufmann

           As summer training begins and cross country seasons lurks around summer’s bend, hundreds of athletes put in countless miles, and hours of training in order to prep for one early morning in late November.  In NCS, Division III has consistently been the most competitive and has showcased some of the most dominant performances in NCS history, such as the 2008 Campolindo team. With a team time of 1:17.55, they put all of their top 5 runners under 16 minutes, leaving them with a score of 37 points. However, their victory did not come easy. With a score of 42 points Petaluma took home the silver with a team time of 1:18.02. Their 5th man ran 16 minutes exactly.  These performances were no surprise; since 2006, Petaluma has won 4 NCS titles and finished second twice.  Campolindo has a long line of success as well. To put it into perspective, the last time they finished worse than 3rd, was in 1998. They’ve won 5 titles since 2003, along with a handful of 2nd place finishes. Overall, these two teams have dominated NCS, and this year will be no exception. Or will it? Along with the Cougars and Trojans, other teams have had their fair share of success, while some teams don’t see the trip down to Fresno as an annual vacation. 
Las Lomas started their road to success in 2003. After a 18th place finish in ’03, along then a 14th place finish in ’04, they placed 6th in ’05. Finally in 2006 they placed 4th and earned a trip to the state meet. Since then, they have collected their fair share of bronze medals finishing in 3rd place 4 years in a row. Piner is rather new to the success they experienced in 2010. After finishing 13th in 2003, they did not compete in NCS until 2008. They finished 14th that year, behind freshman sensation Luis Luna, who qualified to state individually that year. In 2009 they started to improve finishing 9th, while in 2010, they qualified to state as a team finishing 4th overall. Acalanes has a successful history of their own considering they haven’t finished worse than 7th since 1999. Acalanes has a thing for even numbers, finishing either 2nd, 4th, or 6th, from 2000-2008. 09’ and 2010, they decided to try something new and finish 5th and 7th. Maria Carrillo won team titles in ‘05 and ’06, while finishing 2nd in 2007. 

Miramonte has the largest winning streak in NCS besides University, and won 5 team titles in a row (1958-1962). They won one more title in 2001. In more recent years, they have held their own in competition, finishing no worse than 9th from 2000-2010. Northgate won 1 team title in 2004, and has been struggling to get back in the top 10 ever since. Each year  since 2006 they have slowly made their way up in the final standings which put them in 8th in 2010; Their best year since ’04. Eureka days of glory lasted from 1999-2001, winning 3 years in a row. Since then, they have been a very erratic team, finishing anywhere from 16th to 2nd from 2003 to 2010. Bishop O’Dowd has competed in every division but division V since 1968. After winning a division 1 title in 1995, their success strung from 2001-2005, finishing with a handful of 3rd place finishes.
Each of these teams has their story, they have all had their ups and most have had their downs, but this year could be special, considering almost all of them have the ability to make the trip down to woodward park this fall.

1.       1)   Petaluma 65 (4)
2.        2)  Campolindo 80 (3)
3.        3)  Las Lomas 144  (3)
4.        4)  Piner 124 (1)
5.        5)  Acalanes 163 (3)
6.        6)  Maria Carillo 185 (2)
7.        7)  Miramonte 200 (2)
8.        8)  Northgate 210(2)
9.        9)  Eureka 219 (5)
10.    10)  Bishop O’Dowd 246 (0)
Posted above are the top 10 teams from last year at NCS, along with their score, and the number of possible returners/ not seniors they have. After thorough in-depth analysis, I have concluded  each team this year with an exception of 2 has a chance of making the trip down to Woodward park this fall.

Petaluma: As stated before, Petaluma has a history of success, and is known for producing young powerhouses. Although when a team loses 4 of their returning runners, it can make one skeptical. Leading the charge of the Trojans will be juniors Ryan Douglass(2:02.38, 4:21.02), and Kevin Potteracke (4:38.36, 9:54.52) The two went 4,5 at NCS Last year and have a very good chance of doing that again if not better. Petaluma’s next top runner according to this past track season would be Duncan Gardner (4:50.55, 10:37.13) Although he did not run Varsity last year at NCS, he looks like he could be the  # 3 man for them this season. Also Returning from last year’s NCS team is Noah Forrey(5:01.69).
Ups: 2 Returning studs with impressive track season.
Downs: May not have the depth they usually have.

Campolindo: Once again, the cougars have a good chance of finishing in the top 2 this fall. While they lose 3 of their top 5, depth should not be an issue for Campo.  They had a very successful track season, with lots of individual success as well as relay accomplishments. They ran a time of 17:59.6 at the Mt. Sac Invite 4 x 1600m., as well as a 10:44.91 at Stanford in the distance medley.
 Leading their team, as well as coming off a very impressive track season is Thomas Joyce (2:02.11, 4:22.83, 9:18.06).  Thomas ran at Arcadia, Sacramento MOC, And NCS MOC, just missing out on a state appearance in the 3200. Be ready for Joyce to make a run for the individual title this season. Up next for Campo would be Vinson Compenstine (4:26, 9:35). Vinson had a very successful track season this year and ran at NCS MOC with Joyce for the 3200 as well. Leland Wong (2:01.08, 10.23.14) also had a respectable track season and will be a major contributor for cross country.  Another solid runner for Campo this year will be Keith Geiger (4:36.67, 10:11.05) . Up  next for the cougars are the young-guns. Adam Hathaway (4:39.04, 9:55.80) and Cameron Sun (4:45.32, 10.11.06). These two did not even run varsity for last year’s cross country season, but should play a huge role this year for their team.
Ups: tremendous track season. 8 returners under 5 minutes in the 1600, along with 8 returners under 11:00 in the 3200. 3 returners under 10:00.
Downs: N/A.

Las Lomas: After a 3rd place finish at NCS last year, Las Lomas will try to make the trip down to Fresno again this year. Leading the Knights is  the 2010 NorCal freshman of the year Aidan Goltra (4:39.26, 9:03.41 (3000m.)9:59.63) Goltra finished in 8th place overall last year in NCS and ran a 16:04 at state. He also had a respectable track season, competing in the 3000M at the Stanford invitational, while also putting up some nice PR’s of his own.  The next returner from the Knights is Gavin Ramos (9:57.21)he finished 27th last year at Hayward and went under 16:30 and should be a solid # 2 runner. Up next for the Knights could go to anybody. Ryan Kinney, their #5 from last year failed to put up any marks during the track season, while Sean Alyward, their #7 focused more on the sprints this season. Although their track season was not spectacular, keep in mind they did win F/S DFAL championships last year in XC. They should be able to throw together a good squad.
Ups: Goltra And Ramos trained hard through the winter, and should be ready for Hayward in the fall.
Downs: May not have had the track season they were looking for in preparation for cross country.

Piner: As of right now, Piner has arguably the fastest runner in all of Division III in California .Luis Luna already has brought the prospects of an individual title, but can he lead his teammates to their first team title since 1976? Piner finished 4th last year at NCS and only lose their 7th runner, but after looking at their outstanding track season, they should be able to fill his shoes. Piner also had some relay success this year, running a 10:35.57 for the DMR, (3rd fastest time in NCS). Now for the individuals. Luis Luna (4:14.17, 8:55.81) ran the fastest 3200 time in all of NCS, and placed 6th in CIF for the 3200. Up next is Jamie Silva (4:35.79,  9:35.14) also had a successful year for track. He ran in the 3200 for MOC as well as Luna, and at one point in the race, Piner was going 1-2. Epi Nunez(4:33.78, 10:23.80) is looking like Piner’s #3 runner, also throwing up some nice PR’s this past track season. Jason Saler (2:07, 10:14) also had a respectable track season, and should be a strong runner for the prospectors again in 2011. Efren Reyes (9:57) who did not run at Hayward last year had a phenomenal track season, breaking 10:00 in the 3200. Other possible Varsity runners are Zekaryas Mebrahtu (4:37) and Josue Lopez (4:42.89)
Ups: Fantastic track season, 5 Under 4:45, 5 under 10:30, 3 under 10:00
Downs: ?

Acalanes: After a surprising 5th place finish last year, the Dons hope to improve on their previous spot this season. Leading Acalanes will be the familiar duo of Adler Faulkner (1:56.62, 4:29.73), and Tyler Troxel (4:42, 10:21) The two finished 6th and 7th last year and both qualified for state individually. Faulkner had a successful track season, particularly in the 800M, where he made an appearance in the Sacramento MOC, as well as NCS MOC prelims just missing out on a spot in the finals. Troxel didn’t have a super year, but he still put up some good marks so don’t count him out for XC. Speedwalker Sorenson is currently at Torrey Pines High school in San Diego and will take his talent elsewhere for 2011 XC. Keenan Bryne, who ran a 16:51 last year for the Don’s 5th spot had a respectable track season runnig a 5:02, and 10:36. Vikis Agaratha( does anyone know who he is?) ran a 4:31.03 although his grade level is unknown.
Ups: 2 leaders had a respectable track season.
Downs: Loss of their seniors may have put the dons in a hole.

Maria Carillo: *Moved to Division II.

Miramonte: After a 7th place finish at NCS last year with a score of 200 points, the Matadors did a good job of setting themselves up for the 2011 cross country season. Some highlights of their track season consisted of a 4x800 time of 8:11.17, the 6th fastest time in NCS. They also had a strong Distance Medley Relay this past track season running a 10:46, putting them in the top 10 for NCS. Individual success was also present for Miramonte this year. Senior to be Jamie Fehrnstrom (1:58.71, 4:15.79, 10:08.59) had a very productive track season as he was the only runner from division III to run the 1600 in state prelims. Tyler Hanson(2:03, 4:29, 9:43) also had a strong track season making himself the 3rd fastest sophomore in the 3200 this year. Matt Stewart (4:39.77, 9:58.08) Miramonte’s # 3 from last year, had a nice track season, and should be a very solid runner for the matadors. Adam Roeder(4:38.65, 10:30.79) had some nice PR’s this season, and will play a key role for Miramonte. Dillon Read ( 4:46.52) had a respectable track season this year, which might land him a varsity spot in the fall. Lawrence Han (10:44.49) Miramonte’s #7 runner from last year also had a prodictive track season. Other names from Miramonte consist of Jason Blore, Bobby Veres, and Charlie Zamanin who all ran mid 4:50’s this season.
Ups: Miramonte put together some solid runners this track season, putting themselves in position for a state qualifying spot in November.
Downs: May have trouble producing a solid 5th man

Northgate: After finishing 8th last year at NCS, the Broncos have done well this past track and field season putting 5 returners under 5:00 in the 1600, 3 under 4:50 and 1 under 4:40Northgate’s #1 returner is Danny Salters (4:40.28, 10:03.70) who had an exceptional season running in the 3000m. at Stanford this year. Mike Valeriani (4:32.31) had a nice season, making him the fastest Junior in the DVAL for the 1600. Other Names are Joel Sumner (4:45.23, 10:42.03) and Ian Frazier (4:51.33, 10:17.67) Frazier was Northgate’s 5th man last year at NCS, and Joel did not run at Hayward. If Jack Reemy (2:00.44) decided to take his speed to the XC team, he could be an impact for the broncos as well.
Ups: Threw down some respectable times during track season and brought out some new faces
Downs: May not have the depth to reach the top 4 this year.

Eureka: Last year might be better than last for the loggers considering they were the only team in Division III able to field a team of 5 seniors. The only returning runners are Ezra Carlson and Jordan Krupka. Carlson was Eurekas 3rd runner last year at NCS, however he  failed to put up any marks during the 2011 track and field season. Krupka however, ran a 4:52.68, and a 10:26.13. The only other non-senior that put up any times during track is August Hale (5:08.53). XC season isn’t looking too good for the Loggers, but Eureka has always been known for their stealth, will the loggers be able to pull an upset?
Ups: If there was an all seniors race last year at NCS, Eureka would have beaten 3 teams
Downs: It really takes a toll to a team when they lose 5/7ths of their team, and it just so happened to be the Loggers that drew the short straw this year.

Bishop O’Dowd: The Dragons had a breakthrough track and field season putting themselves in a good striking position for the upcoming cross country season. O’Dowd was the only team in DIII to not lose any runners from 2010 and will attempt to take advantage of that position. The Dragons had strong relay success this year, putting down some great times. O’Dowd won the 2011 Twilight Relays in San Rafael with a time of 10:41.98 giving them the 8th fastest time in NCS. The Dragons also put together a successful 4x800 team running a PR of 8:06.70 making them the 4th fastest 4x800 team in NCS. Leading the Dragons will be  Sam Kane (1:57.26, 4:27.98). Sam finished 19th last year at Hayward with a time of 16:09. He had himself a fine track season, running at the NCS MOC in the 1600. Jonathan DeGroot (1:58.26, 4:35.78) also showed great improvement this track season, making an appearance in MOC for the 800. Also running at Berkeley for the 800 this year was Jake Schwartz (1:59.67, 4:49.23)O’Dowd also boasts an all NorCal freshman Andrew Melendez (4:43.20, 10:31.15) who had an impressive track season as well. Karsten Kaufmann,(4:45.01, 10:15.86)  will also be a key runner for the dragons along with Senior Calvin John (4:45.34, 10:22.64).
Ups: The Dragons really showed improvement this past season with 5 runners under 4:50 in the 1600m. and for sending 3 to NCS MOC.
Downs: They might not have the power runners other teams do this year to make the trip down to state.

Redwood:  They return the entire pack of 7 from last year's cross country team which finished in 11th place.  With a strong group of freshmen and sophomores, this team could have the biggest upside of all the teams already mentioned above.  The leadership this year will come from the mom/son coaching duo of Laura and Jake Schmitt and senior Tommy Warfel (1:59.24/4:24.36) who was the top Redwood runner last year at the NCS MOC XC meet with a 28th place finish.  Their 2nd runner was Kyle Ryan who as a sophomore on the track ran 4:28.76/9:56.58.  Freshman Fred Huxham and Jack Bullock finished 1st and 2nd respectively at the Ed Sias Invitational last year.  Huxham didn't compete for the Giants at the section XC race but did have an impressive track and field season running 4:26.45 and 9:56.58.  Competing in the tough MCAL should prepare this group for the rigors of Division III.
Ups:  A young motivated group with a solid summer could be dangerous in the fall.
Downs:  They compete in the toughest division in NCS.

Division III Rankings
1.       1.  Campolindo- The cougars have depth, experience, and the want to take the NCS title this year
2.       2.  Piner- Having 3 runners under 10:00, Piner looks like they can compete with the best now.
3.       3.  Miramonte- After a very strong track season, the Mats are ready for the best of the best.
4.       4.  Petaluma- Known for their successful cross country program, you can’t count the Trojans out.
5.       5.  Bishop O’Dowd- After losing nobody to graduation, and with a strong track season, the Dragons are ready    for that trip to Fresno.
          6.  Redwood-The team that could make the biggest improvement from last year's meet and potentially finish in the top 4.
6.       7.  Northgate- The Mustangs had a decent track season, but might not have the depth to make an impact.
7.        8.  Las Lomas- The Knights might have had a better track season but are still in the hunt considering their F/S win in the competitive DFAL last year.
8.        9.  Acalanes- This might not be the year for the Dons in a very tough division.
9.        10. Eureka-Losing 5 runners from last year, it's not looking too good for the Loggers.  
?         *Tamalpias?!?!? Where do the Hawks belong???

Nolan Tonkyn of Albany Alex Conner of Sonoma Academy Evan Quigley of Alhambra.

Thank you to Karsten for his work on the above rankings.  Feel free to comment and share your thoughts about this division in the comment section below.  Girls' Division III rankings will be posted on Friday.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coming up this week...

Monday:  Interview posted below with former Dublin HS track and field athlete Keremiah Crockett.
Tuesday:  Posted below,  Girls' CCS Division IV pre-season rankings by Valley Christian SJ coach Josh Small.
Wednesday:  Boys' NCS Division III pre-season rankings by Bishop O'Dowd runner Karsten Kaufmann.
Thursday:  Boys' CCS Division IV pre-season rankings by Valley Christian SJ coach Josh Small.
Friday:  Girls' NCS Division III pre-season rankings by Northgate HS coach, Peter Brewer.
Saturday/Sunday:  TBA.

CCS Girls' Division IV preview by Valley Christian SJ coach, Josh Small

Girls' D4
Let me begin by getting on my soap box and stating that it is my personal belief that if the CIF has set enrollment from 501-1250 for Division IV at the State level we as a section should support our smaller schools here in CCS by allowing those with CBED’s in this range to compete in this division so they can represent and compete to the best of their ability at the State Meet. I know there are those who disagree but I believe it would be better to have a larger division and then create equal teams across the three remaining divisions. There is a distinct disadvantage running against schools more than twice your size as the talent pool for runners 4, 5, 6 is much deeper. But there is no use crying over a process that puts smaller schools at a disadvantage, especially at the State level. And despite my complaining, smaller schools rub it in my face and (despite their smaller enrollment size) find ways to win. Take San Lorenzo Valley (SLV) for example, who with an enrollment of 876 could very well be the top team in

Politics aside, this division is strong! Division IV has been represented very well at the State level by schools like SLV, Scotts Valley, Half Moon Bay (HMB), Carmel, and schools who are now in D3: Santa Cruz and Valley Christian. Last year, CCS Schools placed 7th (SLV), 9th (Scotts Valley) and 10th (Half Moon Bay) at the CA state xc meet. The results of these performances have been rewarded with an additional State birth: 4 teams will now advance to the State Championship in 2011!

One of the most successful teams in the CCS over the past 15 years comes from the small mountain community of Felton, CA. Since 1997 SLV has won 8 CCS titles and 4 State Championships. SLV is the defending champion (D4) and the favorite to repeat once again as they return their top 7 runners from last season. SLV very well could be the #1 over-all school in the section but will have to run out of their minds if they want to dethrone Mountain View who has held the #1 ranking the past 3 years. It’s not going to be easy but having Anna Maxwell, who was the top CCS runner at the Section Championship in 2010 and was a footlocker finalist is a great start. She blazed the 1600 in 4:56 and ran 10:29 for the 3200 meters this spring and was the top individual last year at the CCS xc meet by an amazing 20 seconds! She will be supported by Claire MacMillan (5:15, 11:47) and Abby Sherman (2:17, 5:18, 11:48). Additional support will come from a slew of developing runners hanging around the 12 minute range for 2 miles this past track season.

I asked Coach Rob Collins about his team and he couldn’t help but be excited. 30 girls are coming back for this year’s team and only 2 are seniors. After a few rebuilding years it seems as if the machine is back to pumping out national class runners. “As a coach I'm very blessed to have a huge support from the school, parents and especially the community for all their support they have given us which has made this program a lot of fun and will be aiming for our 9th CCS Championship and the big goal our 5th State Championship but there is a lot of great teams we need to overcome first to get to the podium at League, CCS and State,” Coach Rob Collins said.

One might wonder what the Santa Cruz schools have going on over there as with a total population of about 75,000 throughout the Santa Cruz area to draw from four schools (SLV, Scotts Valley, Aptos & Santa Cruz) have realistic shots at going to the State meet. Good coaching, perfect weather, a supportive community, not to mention amazing running trails seem to be the recipe for success.

With all the pre-season hype surrounding SLV, a very big and realistic threat comes from two schools: Half Moon Bay and Scotts Valley. Half Moon Bay is a perennial power. They won the team title in 2009 and finished 3rd last season behind Scotts Valley. They return 6 of their top 8 runners from last season and will be led by Chandra Anderson, Kylie Freeburg and Natalie Strohm, all of whom were hovering in the 20 minute range at Crystal last season.

And their biggest challenge just might come from the school down the street. Scotts Valley is last year’s runner-up and they will be led by Vanessa Fraser who finished second over-all last season and coming off a superb 10:37 in the 3200 meters at the State Track Championships. Scotts Valley returns 4 of their top 5 from last year’s state meet is rumored that their #2 runner Abby Attic moved out of the area.  Still, Scotts Valley has to be considered a threat and a favorite to return to Woodward Park this fall, and maybe even pull off an upset.

The battle for a top 4 position and the final state qualifying spot will be fierce as Sacred Heart Prep (4th) and Notre Dame Salinas (5th) were separated by just one point (129-130) last season. Notre Dame is led by standout Nina Anderson but will need to add depth to the #4 and #5 positions. SHP returns 5 of their top 7 from last season.

In the individual race, two of the top individuals in the CCS will go at it again: Anna Maxwell of SLV and Vanessa Fraser of Scotts Valley. Expect Nina Anderson to also be in the mix as she came on strong at the end of both cross country and track and field seasons.

DIV. 4 GIRLS: Team Pre-Season Rankings
1.  San Lorenzo Valley
2.  Scotts Valley
3.  Half Moon Bay
4.  Sacred Heart Prep
5.  Notre Dame Salinas

DIV. 4 GIRLS: Top Returning Individuals
1.  Anna Maxwell, SLV
2.  Vanessa Fraser, Scotts Valley (picture courtesy of Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)
3.  Nina Anderson, Notre Dame
4.  Maddie Price, Menlo (photo courtesy of SM Daily Journal)
5.  Katie Alioto, Soquel (photo courtesy of Larissa Mueller/Sentinel)
6.  Abby Sherman, SLV (photo courtesy of Margaret Gallagher/

Monday, June 27, 2011

Catching up with recently graduated Dublin HS track and field athlete, Keremiah Crockett...

Today we chat with former Dublin HS track and field athlete, Keremiah Crockett (photo to the left at the NCS MOC courtesy of and Margaret Gallagher).  While other Northern California athletes such as St. Mary's Berkeley hurdler Trinity Wilson, James Logan triple jumper Ciarra Brewer and Davis HS pole vaulter Ian Rock got a lot of the publicity for their winning efforts at the state meet, Keremiah quietly finished in 2nd. place in the triple jump jumping a lifetime best 49'1.75" on his 5th attempt.  He won NCS last year in the triple jump and went on to compete at the state meet earning some valuable experience in the trials.  This year he finished in 2nd. place behind Jonte Grant of Hayward HS at the NCS MOC meet but made up for his loss at the section meet with his podium finish at the state meet.  

1) Besides Track and Field, what other sports have you played?

I used to play basketball and football during my freshman and sophomore years in high school.

2) How did you get your start in Track and Field?

I started really doing track and field in 8th grade. I knew i was fast and I loved to race my friends so we all decided to do track. 

3) What other events have you done besides the triple jump? What are your best marks in those event

I have run the 200 in 22.90 and long jumped 23ft 3in.

4) How did you get into the triple jump?

My freshman year I was just going to do long jump until our jumps coach told us freshman about the triple jump. He told me that I would be pretty good at it. It took me a while but I finally got it down and it eventually became my favorite event.

5) What were some of your highlights during your freshman and sophomore seasons?

I dont remember much about those two seasons but my freshman year I took 2nd. at our league championships to a senior from Acalanes.

6) You made the state meet last year in the triple jump. What did you do differently than previous years and owe for your improvement last year?

Well this year I was just a lot better prepared. Last year, I had no clue what the state would be like or how the track (Buchanan HS) would feel. This year, we went to an invitational earlier in the season where the state meet would be held so I could try and get used to that type of track.

7) What were your goals going into this season?

My goals for this season was to make it to finals in state this year and to maybe place. Also to jump at least 49 ft.

8)  Who are your coaches and how have they helped you throughout your four years at Dublin HS?

My freshman head coach was coach Goldstein. My first jump coach was coach Banayat. He introduced me to triple jump and showed me the basics. My head coach now, Coach Williams, has helped me to better my skills and take it to the next level with building up my strength and trying better my form. 

9) What did a typical week look like for you during the season in terms of your workouts and meets?

Our meets were usually on Wednesdays. Our practices usually consisted of doing run throughs to make sure we were on the board, doing accelerations, bounding, working on landings, and the occasional weight room workouts.

10) How did your experience last year at the state meet help you this year? Did you have to make any adjustments due to the weather?

Going to state last year really helped me out for this year. I was a lot less nervous because I knew exactly what to expect. The weather was a little rainy this year but I have practiced in a lot worse so it didn't bother me at all.

11) Where will you be going to school next year?

Next year I will be jumping at Eastern Michigan University with future teammates Solomon Ijah and Donald Scott and coached by former Cal coach, Chris Huffins.

Thank you very much for your time Keremiah!  AJC 

NCS Division III pre-season rankings coming up this week...

While I put the rankings together for this division, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.  Who are the state meet team contenders (boys and girls)?  Who will win the individual titles?  What runners improved the most during this past track and field season?  Who are the teams flying under the radar at this time? 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nikki Hiltz of Aptos HS qualifies for USA Championship 1500m. jr. final

Also as noted in the comment section below:
"Allen Williams From Bishop O'Dowd also is Running in the finals for the 110 Hurdles. Trinity Wilson also made it to the finals. Tyler sorensen from Acalanes will be participating in the 10,000 meter racewalk also."

"Alex McGuirk (formerly of Mountain View HS, now Chico State) is in the steeple Saturday night."

Shanique Walker of Mt. Pleasant won the junior triple jump as well.

Josh MacDonald of Liberty U. (former Redwood Christian)took 5th place in the 3000m steeplechase. 

If you know of any other Northern California high schoolers competing in Eugene, feel free to add their names and events in the comment section.

It appears Jack won't be back (Gilroy HS Athletic Director)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

CCS Boys' Division V preview by Valley Christian SJ coach, Josh Small

Boys D5
Last year, York High School dominated its division putting 5 runners in the top 7, outscoring runner-up Crystal Springs Uplands School by 39 points (23-62). 2011 is a whole new ball game and CSUS will look for some payback as they return 3 of the top 4 runners in DV this year. A whopping 10 of the top 12 individuals in last year’s race graduated leaving Division 5 wide open for the individual and team titles. Will Shearer of York is the top returner from last year with his 6th place finish.  Kaveh Motamed is the top returner for CSUS with his 9th place finish and then followed by his teammates Preston Lam and Ryan Kaveh.

On paper Crystal Springs is the runaway favorite as they return 5 of the top 8 runners coming into this season. They return their entire roster for the 2011 season and will look to bring home both a girls and boys section title. But it’s not going to be easy. Priory has the talent to make a title run as well and with some hard work over the summer could very well pull off the upset by the end of the season. Led by Dylan Croll, Priory return 7 of their top 9 runners from last season.

York High School won the title last season but lose 5 runners to graduation returning only number 4 and 6 from last year’s team. I am never one to count out defending champions, as once you get a taste of success it is contagious. They fielded a complete JV and freshman teams at their league finals so they could rebuild and be a threat once again. Also expected to make a run for the state meet is St. Francis CCC of Watsonville. They return 5 of their top 7, including their top 3. Anzar enters the season ranked 5th in DV and could also make a run but will have their work cut out for them as they return just two runners from last year’s team.

DIV. 5 BOYS: TEAM Pre-Season Rankings
1.  Crystal Springs Uplands School
2.  York
3.  Priory
4.  St. Francis CCC
5.  Anzar

DIV. 5 BOYS: Top Returning Individuals
1.  Will Shearer York
2.  Kaveh Motamed, CSUS
3.  Preston Lam, CSUS
4.  Ryan Kaveh, CSUS
5.  Roland Centeno, York

LIVE Webcast of USA Outdoor Championships 2011

Aptos' Nikki Hiltz invited to run 1,500 meters at junior nationals this week

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 NCS Division IV Pre-Season Rankings...

I have been ranking the North Coast Section cross country teams since 2006 and every year this is always the toughest division to figure out (especially during the pre-season).  The other divisions field teams who regularly face each other in league races and invitationals while Div. IV is a mixture of teams from all over Northern California ranging from the south end of the NCS map and all the way up to near the Oregon border.

Last year was a banner year for Div. IV especially on the boys side.  With the addition of the S.F. University boys, the race for the state meet was as competitive as it's been in the history of this division.  Following a run of success at the state meet, NCS also received an extra bid in 2010.  Moreau Catholic finished in 6th place and ran the fastest team time (1:25:02)  for that place in the history of the section meet at Hayward High School.  At the state meet, NCS posted the individual (Daniel Milechman) and team champions (San Rafael High School).  Three other runners finished in the top 10 with John Lawson of Sir Francis Drake (5th), Trevor Ehlenbach of San Rafael (7th) and Ned Tannebaum of S.F. University (8th).  Three other teams also finished in the top 10 with Tamalpais in 6th, Sir Francis Drake 9th and St. Mary's Berkeley in 10th.

Needless to say, it will be a tough act to follow for this year's group of runners and teams.  The race for the team title will be between the two teams that return the most fire power from last year, St. Mary's Berkeley and Sir Francis Drake (check out Drake's team picture from last year here).  Duncan Calvert (2:00.54/4:20.63/10:07.20) was St. Mary's #1 runner at the state meet last year and followed that up with a successful track and field season.  Stevie Greene (10:27.08) led St. Mary's to a 2nd place finish at the NCS MOC meet last year along with #2 runner (Patrick Mariolle-2:09.60/4:36.53) and #4 runner runner Nate Hill.  If St. Mary's can find a decent 5th runner, they will be the favorites to take their 4th title ('06, '07 and '09) in the last four seasons.

Sir Francis Drake (interestingly enough, just missed moving up to Division III by 2 students) will be led by long time coach Bill Taylor, who will be in his 29th season at the school.  His last boy's NCS title came in 1990 but this could be the team that claims the school's 2nd male NCS xc crown (girls won NCS titles in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1985 and 2010).  They will be led by the individual favorite, John Lawson (4:25.30/9:33.30) who finished 2nd at the NCS meet which preceded his 5th place finish at the state meet.  Will Baker Robinson (9:47.00) and Clayton Hutchins (4:32.76/9:57.89) could give Drake the best 1-3 punch in this division but until their 4th and 5th runner step up, I will keep them as the runner-up team.

The race for the final two state meet qualifying spots will come down to teams who will be reloading after losing the majority of their 2010 squads.  Last year was a magical season for San Rafael's team with their first NCS (not confirmed) and state meet xc titles.  Now, coach Jason Jacobson will have to figure out how to contend at NCS without his top 4 runners from last year.  Cardinal Newman is an interesting team in that they have their top 3 runners (Alexi Taylor, Charlie King and Jack Bowlby) back which makes them quite competitive through their first three runners.  The problem is that their 3 to 4 gap is quite large and it will come to play at the section meet.  If they can tighten up that gap, they could finish in the top 5 easily.

The three time defending individual champion, Daniel Milechman of Tamalpais HS, will be competing next year at Harvard University.  With 6 of the top 10 runners graduating, the favorite as mentioned earlier, will be John Lawson of Sir Francis Drake.  He is a proven competitor in cross country and just won another black shirt at the world famous Dipsea race. Keeping him honest will be his teammates Will Baker-Robinson and Clayton Hutchins, Alexi Taylor and Charlie King of Cardinal Newman, Duncan Calvert, Stevie Greene, Patrick Mariolle and Nate Hill of St. Mary's Berkeley.

Sometimes you just have to admit defeat and I would like to state that I had a hard time trying to rank the girls' teams in this division.  Most of the top teams lost a significant portion of their squads as 9 of the top 14 runners from last year's NCS meet graduated (unusual for a girls' race).  However, just like the boys, the top two teams will be St. Mary's Berkeley and Sir Francis Drake.  

St. Mary's returns 6 of their top 7 runners from last year which includes the defending individual champion, Spencer Moore (2:19.27/5:06.68/11:11.33).  Drake won last year but will now have to replace their top 2 runners from last year who both finished in the top 10.  They do return runners 3-7 and their 6th runner (Bianca Doerschlag) from last year ran an impressive 2:21.32 in the 800m. this past track and field season.

The next best team appears to be Arcata, a team that has been consistently in the top 10 in this division for many years.  They also happen to return every runner from last year's section meet including  year's 7th place finisher, Erin McNulty.  The 2nd place team from last year, Terra Linda, will try to make it two state meets in a row returning runners, 2 (Katlin McKeogh), 4 (Macauley Pickett) and 6 (Emma Pedlar).  Moreau Catholic returns just one runner (Yvette Navaro) from their 3rd place team but this is a team that has had consistent success in this division.

The race for the individual title should be a good one.  Spencer Moore of St. Mary's is the defending champion as she soundly defeated El Molino's Nicole Lane by over 30 seconds at the 2010 NCS MOC meet.  The gap between these two runners appears to be closer now following Lane's outstanding track and field season (5:07.29/11:12.83).  The rest of the contenders will include Navaro of Moreau Catholic and McNulty of Arcata.

Division IV Boys (Top 4 Advance to state)
1) St. Mary's Berkeley-Return best lineup from all the Div. IV 2010 squads.
2) Sir Francis Drake-Might have the runners to upend St. Mary's.
3)  Cardinal Newman-Triumvirate up front could be enough to make state.
4) San Rafael-This will be a rebuilding year for the defending champions.
5)  Moreau Catholic-Traditional strong program in this division.
On the bubble:  ArcataPiedmont

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2010 NCS meet time:
John Lawson (2) Drake 15:43
Alexi Taylor (7) Cardinal Newman 16:26
Stevie Greene (9) St. Mary's Berkeley 16:27
Charlie King (12) Cardinal Newman 16:30
Patrick Mariolle (13) St. Mary's Berkeley 16:32

Division IV Girls (Top 3 Advance to state)
1)  St. Mary's Berkeley-Potentially could start their team score with a 1.
2)  Sir Francis Drake-Can the Pirates make it two titles in a row?
3)  Arcata-The mystery team from up north returns their entire top 7.
4)  Terra Linda-2nd place team last year will try to make it to Fresno again.
5)  Moreau Catholic-Yvette Navaro is lone returner but don't count this team out yet.
On the bubble:  Piedmont, San Marin

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2010 NCS meet time:
Spencer Moore (1) St. Mary's 18:32
Nicole Lane (2) El Molino 19:05
Yvette Navaro (6) Moreau Catholic 19:45
Erin McNulty (7) Arcata 20:05
Katlin McKeogh (15) Terra Linda 20:27

Let me know your thoughts. Did I miss anybody? Who is looking good this summer? Any freshmen that will have an impact in this division?

Sara Bei Hall: Becoming an Athlete Who Gives Back

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CCS Girls' Division V preview by Valley Christian SJ coach, Josh Small

Girls D5
It’s the usual suspects in the Girls' Division V title hunt for the upcoming 2011 cross country season.  Crystal Springs Uplands School, coached by Albert Caruana, enters the season as defending champions and the favorites to repeat in 2011 and will look to improve upon their 12th place finish at last year’s state meet. The Gryphons will be led by Elsa Valenzuela and Alani Douglas who both finished inside the top 6 at CCS last season. Valenzuela will be chasing Kat Gregory for the individual title but it will be Priory (formerly Woodside Priory) and Castilleja who will be chasing CSU for the team title.

Since entering the CCS in 2008, coach Caruana has coached his team to three straight state meet appearances. CSUS finished 3rd that inaugural season and then in 2009 was the runner-up before they won their first team title in 2010. “We start each season with the initial goal to qualify for the state meet.  Our 2nd goal is to win a trophy by finishing in the top 2 and our ultimate goal is to try to win CCS,” Caruana said. “I think we will have a good shot at accomplishing our goals.  If things go right we have 2 of the best runners in Division V and the rest of our girls had solid track and field seasons.”

Castilleja was the runner-up in 2010 and looks to challenge CSUS once again. They lose their #1 and #3 runners but have a strong xc culture at the school that includes 8 CCS titles, six of which were won in the last 10 years and should be able to build on last year’s finish. Priory will also chase CSUS and has hopes of an upset. They will be led by the outstanding senior Kat Gregory who has been one of the top individuals in the section the past three years she leads her team’s hunt for their first title since 2008.

In the individual race, Kat Gregory is in search of her third consecutive title and will be the strong favorite after her 6th place finish at the CCS track and field championship running 11:05.70 in the 3200m.

DIV. 5 GIRLS: TEAM Pre-Season Rankings
1.  Crystal Springs Uplands School
2.  Priory
4.  York

DIV. 5 GIRLS: Top Returning Individuals
1.  Kat Gregory, Priory
2.  Elsa Valenzuela, Crystal Springs Uplands School
3.  Fiona Maloney-McCrystle, Castilleja
4.  Alexandra Young, St. Francis CCC
5.  Alani Douglas, Crystal Springs Uplands School

The rest of the CCS season previews:  One division a week (Tuesdays-girls, Thursdays-boys)
Josh Small

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