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


Just a fan said...

D4 is going to be tough this year! Can't wait till we get to the big schools! Its going to be a crazy year that is for sure!

Good previews all makes me miss the racing season a little less! Keep it up guys.

pmccrystle said...

When Walt Van Z's team comparisons came out last week, it was clear that qualifying for Woodward would be toughest in D IV Boys. Every year there are deserving teams that will not earn a trip to Fresno, and this year there will be several in DIV Boys. Well done Josh on the write up, and of course you are absolutely right on the crazy injustices in XC in the state given the school size difference from section to section...which makes RLS's performance last year that much more impressive!!! Good luck, and good health!, to all these excellent teams in 2011

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