Friday, July 01, 2011

NCS Division III girls' pre-season rankings by Northgate HS coach, Peter Brewer

1. Campolindo
     The defending State Champion Cougars look just as strong as ever. State winner Carrie Verdon (17:19 Woodward) capped off a great track season with 4:51.80 and 10:22.50 PR’s, the latter good for 3rd at the State Meet. She is ably backed up by senior Rachel Meadows (18:40 Woodward, 5:01.54, 11:25.19). The rest of the cast is impressive as well: senior Julie Farnan (19:09 Woodward, 5:19.54, 11:20.15), junior
Sarah Orders (19:20 Woodward, 11:58.16) and sophomore Haily Shipway (19:28 Woodward, 5:18.98, 11:51.14).

2. Acalanes
     The DFAL rival Dons look to chase Campolindo once again in 2011. They return the bulk of their team, led by juniors Annie Marggraff (18:20 Woodward, 11:17.88) and Amy Hollshwander (18:46 Woodward, 2:20.10). Junior Kellie Berge (19:18 Woodward, 2:22.30, 5:16.32) and sophomore Tara Bozinni (19:48 Woodward, 2:23.61) will be part of the pack.

3. Redwood
     The Giants bring back almost all of their 2010 State Meet team. Frontrunner senior Kathleen Killeen (18:58 Woodward) had a nice track season (5:18.87, 11:37.66) and will provide the upfront power for their prospects this fall.

4. Las Lomas
     The Knights also return the team virtually intact. They have a trio upfront of sophomores who appear to be the team strength for 2011: Brenna Gracely (19:41 Woodward), Clare Orton (19:51 Woodward) and Madison Hight (19:56 Woodward). Orton had the best track season (5:46.66, 12:02.56).

5. Petaluma
     The Trojans are another team that has everyone coming back for the 2011 season. Junior Kirby Franklin (19:13 Hayward, 5:25.19, 11:46.74) is the team leader, along with sophomore Audrey Behen (19:18 Hayward).

Ready to pounce:
Bishop O’Dowd
     The Dragons have the luxury of returning the majority of last year’s team. They will be leaning on junior Paige Robertson (19:56 Hayward) and Maria Diaz (20:03 Hayward) to be their leaders this season.

     The Broncos will be thin on experience, but do have some firepower with sophomore Caitlyn Mundrane (20:29 Hayward, 5:24.03, 11:27.13) and junior Ami Boucher (21:59 Hayward, 5:28.04, 11:56.28).

     The Hornets will be relying on the leadership of sophomore Isabel Moon (20:25 Hayward, 5:29.34, 11:50.92) and junior Kelsey Nieman (20:34 Hayward, 5:28.85, 11:58.84).

     Returning runners to watch are Albany’s sophomore Suzanne Becker (19:33 Hayward, 5:20.08, 11:50.31, sophomore Olivia Heitz of Tamalpais (19:38 Hayward), and Dublin’s sophomore Jillian Colwell (21:27 Hayward, 5:28.89)

     It is hard to see anything but total dominance from Campolindo this year. The girls followed an outstanding cross country season with a stellar track season. And who knows what talent the Cougars have lurking down in the ranks? Acalanes, continuing in their tradition of emphasizing the middle distances during track, are an excellent team in their own right, and finished 7th last year in a very competitive State Meet race. These two squads will be emphatically ahead of the rest of the NCS D-III crowd.
     The next cluster of the merely mortal teams are themselves State Meet veterans.  Redwood had a better track season than the Las Lomas girls, and so get the nod here in the preseason list. Petaluma has a solid group and an excellent distance tradition, and will most likely be a viable contender for one of the 4 State Meet berths allotted to NCS D-III this year.
     Bishop O’Dowd had a sudden rash of injuries and illnesses last year, but was still able to put a creditable squad on the line. This experience, along with a large returning group, gives them a presence in the rankings.
The rest of the field is fully capable of major surprises, as every season has shown us. Still, on paper, Northgate and Novato are at least two teams that have a bit of power upfront and it remains to be seen if they can develop enough support to have the squad make an impact.
     Apologies to any team or individual I may have missed. Be sure to let me know if there have been any omissions or oversights: Peter Brewer


Anonymous said...

This will be Campo's year again. The real fight will be for the 2-3-4 spots.

Acalanes should make a push but their real shot at a title is next year, once Campo's core group graduates... but do they really have a shot this season?

Las Lomas and Petaluma have relatively young core groups so they'll be in the mix the next couple of years.

And maybe I haven't been paying much attention, but who exactly was injured/ill last season that makes O'Dowd a credible threat this year?

Peter Brewer said...

As for Bishop O'Dowd's prospects -- perhaps there was a conflation of ideas into one phrase. Last year's Dragons had to do without their # 1 girl Kailtyn Spees was injured and did not run at NCS. Their # 2 girl, Maria Diaz, was sick, and did not run well. That was last year. Maria Diaz returns, Kaitlyn graduates, so Maria's return signals perhaps a better performance than last year.

A note on O'Dowd's cross country girls -- for some reason, the distance girls in recent years have had much better cross country seasons than track seasons. If this is an ongoing trend, then yes, O'Dowd is a a possibility to develop over the course of a summer and a season.

Peter Brewer

Anonymous said...

What kind of potential is there for Novato vs. Redwood?

Popular Posts