Friday, June 29, 2012

Catching up with Homer Center HS runner, Angel Piccirillo...

The following interview was with David Taylor of

Angel Piccarillo (picture to the left is courtesy of is a 2 time High School All-American and two time Footlocker finalist in Cross Country.  She won this year's Pennsylvania AA 1600m. championship in a PR of 4:39.42.  She followed that race with a 2nd place finish at the Adidas Grand Prix Dream Mile race behind Chami Chapus of Harvard-Westlake School with a new PR in the mile of 4:39.94.

1. Three words that describe you and why?
Three words I would choose to describe myself would have to be driven, head case, and approachable. I think the things I have been fortunate enough to accomplish show that I am driven but the interviews I’ve done prove after that I can be somewhat of a head case. I can psych myself out like it’s nothing and all my life I have over thought things and it’s been something I have had to overcome. I have also tried to project myself as a friendly and approachable person. I have always been fairly shy but because of some of the success I’ve been put into a position where I need to remain approachable. This kind attitude helps when I need an extra push from the fans!

2. What does passion means to you, how does it apply to running and perhaps succeeding in life?
Passion is where it all begins. Given, I understand that there are runners and other athletes all over that have passion but haven’t been able to reach an elite level of success but I can guarantee you that there isn’t one elite athlete who doesn’t have a passion for what they do. You have to be able to rise above adversity and stay focused through the good times and the bad times. If you don’t have a passion for what you are doing, you can have all the talent in the world but you can never reach your full potential. Especially in something like running, If you don’t have a passion for it, you just won’t do it and that’s really it. Running is such a hard and demanding sport that if you don’t love it, you’ll realize it’s not worth it.

3. How do you want to be remembered as a runner? An all-time great, a record breaker, or one of many? An example of something greater?
I would say I want to be remembered as an all-time great, really just an ambassador of the sport. If people can say that this sport in my area, or even in the state is a little bit better because I was here that’s all I can ask for. To be remembered as an all-time great would be a feeling I don’t think I could put into words.

4. If you met an 8th grader transitioning into high school who dreamt of being a successful distance runner, what words of advice would you give to him?
I would say never take your eyes off the prize. It’s going to be hard, you’ll face adversity, you’ll have good races, bad races, there will be surprises along the way but in the end, it will be worth it. Never let someone convince you to give anything less than your best, because people will. And always, always, always believe in yourself, no matter what.

5. Humility In all things...what does that phrase mean to you?
This is an adjective I try to keep with me always. People are always asking my coaches and fellow teammates what I’m “really like”. I know they expect to hear that I’m cocky or boastful but I have always told myself that If I were to act like that, that would be the day I stop doing this because that’s not what this sport Is about. It would really be an embarrassment.

6. Looking back, what is the most significant moment in your running career?
It’s really, really hard to pick just one moment but I would have to say the outdoor state championships of this year. Just because of the immense amount of support I received there. To get an outdoor track as loud as that and a standing ovation was unreal. It was the perfect sending off, and not only that but I accomplished what I never imagined I would. To go under 4:40 in the 1600 for the first time, break the record, and win that double that I have tried over the years but never able to accomplish was so special to me. The fact that everything I wanted was accomplished in that one day was amazing. That whole thing was an unreal experience to me and one I will never forget.

7. What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
My favorite sport, until I completely dedicated to running was volleyball. I loved volleyball and I never would have anticipated quitting. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but a decision I will never regret. I knew it was something that needed to happen but not exactly something I wanted to have to do. I loved volleyball and I had planned to try and play in college even but I gave it up and haven’t looked back.

8. How did you get your start in running?
My coach spotted me running in elementary school and just knew. I didn’t start seriously running until I was a freshman. I participated in Jr high track in the 8th grade but I can’t say that it was something I was really focusing on. I was mostly just doing it to hangout with friends. I medaled on my 4x8 as a freshman, and I think once I got a taste of that success, I was hooked.

9. What were some of your highlights from your high school career so far?
I have been very lucky throughout my high school career and have had many, many memorable moments. I would say that some other highlights would be a 2-time all-American (cross country and Indoor mile), becoming a Foot Locker finalist and winning the Northeast regional Foot Locker championships, winning the Penn Relays COA high school girls mile twice. Also being invited to the Dream mile twice and coming back from finishing last for the first time In my career there my first year, to placing second this year. I was also named the Pennsylvania Gatorade XC runner of the year twice, and now track and field too. It’s such an honor.

10. What is your favorite racing moment thus far?
My fondest racing memories have been made this year, at the state track and field championships. It was a race I was in control of from the start to the finish and I ran the time I wanted, which was a lot of pressure off of me. Between that state championship and the Indoor state championships I have never received as much support as I did. The crowd was so behind and that’s the only reason I was able to do what I did. I always saw the crazy good runners get attention like that from the crowd so for it to be me, was just unreal.

11. Tell us a little about your family and how they have helped you develop during your years in high school.
My dad and my mom have been married for 21 years and they have always supported me. I have 2 brothers, and a sister and they are all much older than me. There are really no other athletes in my family so this has been a learning experience for me and my parents. My parents are the type to tell me to always follow my dreams. They never pushed me in any direction and let me choose what I wanted to do. They are both teachers so the only way they have really pressed me about anything was when I was picking a college, to not just pick a school for athletics but for academics as well. They really believe in me and have faith in everything I do. I couldn’t ask for two more supportive people and they are the reason I have been able to do as much as I have, they never let me get too down on myself.

12. Your has he Influenced your running, team?
My coach, other than my parents, is by far the most influential person in my life. If not sometimes THE most influential person in my life. He has also always believed in me and never let me quit. He pushes me to reach my full potential and I don’t know anyone who knows more about running and honestly more about me. He has done everything humanly possible to make me the best runner that I could be, and I can’t thank him enough for that. Yes, I did the actual running but he was the mastermind behind it all. When I first started, I had no idea that he would become too important to me and we would make it through so much together. He’s seen me at my worst and best and loves me anyway.

13. Favorite distance in track? Favorite run? Favorite invitational? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite track workouts? Favorite run?
My favorite distance would have to be the mile. It’s such a classic distance and I have had some really good races at that distance. My favorite invitational was probably this year when we went to Baldwin, just to have that many talented high school athletes in one place was awesome. Obviously states and nationals are also incredible just to watch the talent, in all distances and events. I love racing my PA girls, this state is so talented so when I get a chance to race the AAA girls like at Indoor states, and I love it. It’s so fun, and they are all so sweet. I have become really close to all of them so leaving is going to be hard.

14. What races are you most looking forward to as you look ahead to the rest of your track and field season?
I can’t wait until big East championships when I enter college. Of course, if I am fortunate enough to attend NCAA championships as a freshman would be amazing.

15. Running ultimately will not define who you are, how would you like to be defined?
I would like to be defined as someone with a big heart. I try to be as caring and kind as possible. I know that the things I have done couldn’t have been accomplished without the support of my friends and family, and God. So I would just like to pay forward whatever I can because of how fortunate and blessed I am.

16. Favorite running movie, running song, and favorite runner?
I always listen to Good feeling by Flo Rida before my races, I am a huge Rocky freak and I am always watching those movies. I would have to say my favorite runner Is either Allyson Felix, or Usain Bolt. They have always been my favorites and I can’t wait to watch them compete at the Olympic Games this summer!

Kim Conley's Blog

Julia Lucas After Her Heart Wrenching 4th Place Finish at the 2012 US

The other side...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kim Conley's final drive to the Olympics

As captured by photographer Michael Scott
Post race press conference

Another interview with Kevin Selby

Watch more videos on Flotrack

Former Montgomery HS/UC Davis runner, Kim Conley qualifies for Olympics

Kim Conley, leading the pack here in high school, just qualified for the London Olympics by placing 3rd in the women's 5000m. An amazing race and finish if you didn't watch it as she leaned at the finish to get the last spot and also get under the Olympic A  standard. 

2012 NCS Division IV Pre-Season Rankings

Northern California individuals and teams have done quite well at the state meet in this division.  Here is a list of recent accomplishments in the past five years (different sections other than NCS noted):

John Lawson Sir Francis Drake 1st
Vanessa Fraser (CCS) Scotts Valley 1st
Kaila Gibson (CCS) Santa Cruz 6th
Nicole Lane El Molino 7th
Anna Maxwell (CCS) San Lorenzo Valley 8th
Spencer Moore St. Mary's Berkeley 9th
Yreka (NS) 1st (Boys)
San Lorenzo Valley (CCS) 2nd (Girls)

Daniel Milechman Tamalpais 1st
John Lawson Sir Francis Drake 5th
Trevor Ehlenbach San Rafael 7th
Ned Tannenbaum University 8th
Anna Maxwell (CCS) San Lorenzo Valley 3rd
Vanessa Fraser (CCS) Scotts Valley 4th
Spencer Moore St. Mary's Berkeley 7th
Becky Hobby (SJS) Hughson 8th
Nina Anderson (CCS) Notre Dame Salinas 10th
San Rafael 1st (Boys)
Stevenson (CCS) 3rd (Boys)

Daniel Milechman Tamalpais 1st
Dan Maxwell St. Mary's Berkeley 3rd
Brian King Cardinal Newman 6th
Matt Airola (SJS) Bret Harte 9th
Theresa Devine Marin Catholic 2nd
Rebecca Hobby (SJS) Hughson 5th
Nina Anderson (CCS) Notre Dame Salinas 7th
Corissa Storms (NS) West Valley 8th

Tyre Johnson (CCS) Palma 1st
Brennan Lynch (CCS) Santa Cruz 2nd
Daniel Milechman Tamalpais 3rd
Dan Maxwell St. Mary's Berkeley 5th
Tiffany Heflin (NS) Lassen 3rd
Theresa Devine Marin Catholic 5th
Michelle Johnson (NS) West Valley 7th
St. Mary's Berkeley 2nd (Girls)

German Fernandez (SJS) Riverbank 1st (Woodward Park course record 14:24)
Tyre Johnson (CCS) Palma 2nd
Matt Duffy St. Mary's Berkeley 4th
Matt Airola (SJS) Bret Harte 6th
Brennan Lynch (CCS) Santa Cruz 7th
Sarah Sumpter Healdsburg 1st
Jennifer Bergman (CCS) Valley Christian SJ 2nd
Annie Lee (CCS) Stevenson 3rd
Michelle Johnson (NS) West Valley 8th
Kelsey Ripp San Rafael 10th
St. Mary's Berkeley 2nd (Boys)
St. Mary's Berkeley 2nd (Girls)

That's 7 individual state champions, 2 team champions and 5 additional podium teams.

So what's in store for 2012?  A couple of high powered additions will have an impact on who wins the team championships (boys and girls).  Piner HS moves down to Division IV after a remarkable season in Division III.  The Piner boys chased Campolindo to a 2nd place finish at the NCS MOC meet and then returned the favor at state by outpointing them by 1 point, earning their first plaque with a 3rd place finish.  The Piner girls finished a very competitive 6th place and had two individual state meet qualifiers (Kyra and Dezirae Johnson).  Chloe Pigg is an incoming freshman at Arcata HS and her credentials are quite impressive (see below).  She joins an already potent Arcata HS team that won the NCS championship last year.

The road to either NCS title (team and individual) on the boys side will  go through Sir Francis Drake HS this coming season.  Drake will be the favorites to win the team title with the best 1/2 punch in this division, John Lawson (4:18.55/9:12.23) and Clayton Hutchins (4:19.88/9:34.84).  They lose a very talented 3rd runner, Will Baker-Robinson (9:29.29), and will need their young runners (Matt Saunders 4:41.06 and Cole Schwartz 4:50.54 and  to step up to win this division.  Drake will once again be led by veteran coach Bill Taylor and Rod Berry, one of the all-time greats in California HS running.  Interestingly, Berry will also be coaching his son this coming season, freshman Kent.

The school challenging for the team title once again will be St. Mary's Berkeley.  They have won the NCS Division IV title 4 times in the past 6 years and finished 2nd both years they didn't win.  They lose their top two runners from last year (Duncan Calvert and Stevie Greene) but chances are they will be reloading to challenge once again.  Leading the way for the Panthers will be senior Patrick Mariolle (2:04.21/4:31.35) who finished in 9th place last year at the NCS MOC XC meet.  Interesting note, St. Mary's coach Jeff Rogers is the school record holder at UC Berkeley with a jump of 7'5 3/4".

When the NCS divisions first came out, one of the biggest changes was Piner HS dropping down to Division IV from Division III.  While Division III teams celebrated about not having to deal with Piner for at least a year, Division IV teams groaned at the prospects of facing another great program in this division.  During the past three seasons, Piner HS finished in 9th place in 2009, 4th place in 2010 and a 2nd in 2011 (3rd at state).  They lose the talented Luis Luna but return their #2 and #3 runners (Jaime Silva-4th in Division III last year and Efren Reyes-9:56.82).  Matt Mulligan (9:58.87) gives Piner 3 strong runners up front and if some of their young runners can step up, Piner could be vying for a team championship here.

Another dangerous team in this division will be Cardinal Newman.  They also lose their #1 runner, Alexi Taylor but return #2-#5 runners as well as their 7th runner.  Veteran coach Pat Lafortune returns to lead the team along with assistant coach Kevin King (Georgetown University Hall of Famer).  Jack Bowlby ran 16:12 on the Hayward course last year and will lead the team this year.  Fellow senior Charlie King (Kevin's son) has a 10:03.26 3200m. PR and will be vying for a top 10 finish at the NCS meet next year.

Just 2 years removed from an improbable state championship, San Rafael will once again be in the hunt for a top spot.  SR coach Jason Jacobson has quietly led one of the most consistent programs in this division.  In a rebuilding year last season, SR finished in 4th place to once again qualify for the state meet.  They have a little more returning this year and will at the very least by fighting for another top 4 finish.  They will be led by senior Joey Morris who finished 6th at last year's NCS MOC XC meet and continue to improve during track by posting 1:58.47/4:28.11/9:56.48 times.  He has top 5 potential as an individual.

The dark horse in this division will be El Molino.  They finished in 8th place last year but return everybody this year and 6 of the 7 runners will be seniors.  They had a very productive track season by posting lots of new personal records.  Seniors Ben Schulz (9:58.39) and Rodrigo Vargas (9:59.54) both dipped under 10 minutes in the 3200m.  Sophomore to be Brady Lane (Nicole's brother) ran an impressive 4:42.92 1600m. during his frosh track season.  Definitely a team to watch.

To be continued...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Harry Marra on Ashton Eaton Day 2 and World Record

I was at SF State when Harry Marra was the Head Cross Country and Track and Field coach.  Now, he is the coach of a world record holder in the Decathlon.  So happy for him and all the work he has done for the event.  Well deserved!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2012 NCS Division V Pre-Season Rankings (Boys)

The boys team race has a clear favorite in defending champion St. Joseph Notre Dame.  They had quite a season last year winning the NCS title in dominating fashion (38 points) and garnered their first plaque at the state meet with a 3rd place finish by 1 point.  They lose a great runner in the recently graduated Nick Ratto but return a formidable lineup nonetheless.  Leading the way will be junior Gabe Arias-Sheridan (4:36.95/9:45.29) who broke the NCS Division V Hayward course record (15:16) with his victory last season.  Louis Rodrigues finished 8th at NCS last year and qualified to the NCS MOC in the 1600m. this past season, running 4:25.09 in the final.  The rest of the Pilots will include Michael Murphy, James Lafollette, Sam Levy-Wendt and Chris Melendez (brother of Bishop O'Dowd's Andrew Melendez).

The University boys are in the hunt to regain their place atop this division.  In the past 15 years, UHS has won 11 NCS championships although they had a short stay in Division IV in 2010.  Leading the way for the Red Devils will the state individual favorite, senior Connor Clark.  He finished in 3rd place last year at NCS but improved to 2nd place at Woodward Park.  Three years ago, Clark along with four other freshmen (James Burton, Chris Mah and Liam Gallivan) helped UHS win their 15th NCS XC championship.  Can the now senior group bookend NCS Championships?  We'll see.

The dark horse in this race will be Athenian.  If cross country was scored through 3 runners only, Athenian would be co-favorite with SJND but that is not the case so for now, they are a dangerous threat to both SJND and UHS.  The three headed monster for Athenian includes juniors Gabriel Elliott (4:36.41/10:04.32) and Tanner Shaw (4:34.17/9:56.51) and senior Cameron Taylor (4:45.60/10:04.41).  Senior Charles Thimesch gives Athenian a very competitive fourth runner so don't go to sleep on the Owls (ha!).

Sonoma Academy finished in 4th place last year at the NCS MOC XC meet (highest placing in school history).  They have the majority of their team returning including Jax Reiff (4:49.38/10:33.45), Patrick Loftus (4:50.22/11:02.96), Jacob Gaynor (2:09.14/4:40.51) and Austin Orr (2:00.56/4:57.00).  Their coach, Danny Aldridge, got the Maria Carrillo program rolling before taking over the reigns at SA.  Marin Academy finished in 5th place last year led by super frosh, Trevor Reinhart.  He finished 4th at the NCS meet and 9th at the state meet.  He was part of the NCS Division 2 championship Lacrosse team in the spring and was the fastest high school boy in the recently completed Dipsea race.  Junior to be James Kinney had a nice track season with 2:01.36/4:31.07 personal records and that gives MA quite a 1/2 punch.  Their supporting cast will need to improve if they are going to make to make the state meet again this year as a team.

With five teams going to state, other schools are still in the picture for the last remaining state qualifying spots.  Another team in contention will be Lick Wilmerding and their upside is quite high.  They return 11 of their top 12 runners from last year and that doesn't include freshman Troy Mock (10:25.94).  LW will be quite deep with several other runners also under 11:00 for 3200m.  That list includes Jack Crawford (10:29.72), Avery Rock (10:32.21), Ivan Barrales (10:41.64), Zac Oji (10:57.30) and Matt Jenkins (10:59.77).  Their potential #1 (Corey Robinson) finished 2nd for them last year at the NCS MOC XC meet and was on his way to quite a sophomore Track and Field season (2:01.04/4:39.99) before the onset of an injury.  College Prep has been a frequent competitor at the state meet and they have a rejuvenated coach (Jack Coakley) returning from sabbatical.  Two young teams with room for improvement are International and Berean Christian (3 freshman in the top 5 last year, Tobin Bolter, Ross Deniston and Eric Windt).  If their young runners can continue to improve, both teams could be a threat.  Urban is only 2 years removed from their section title.  Walker Willett (2:02.30) will lead the way for the Blues along with Shane Bannon (2:04.41).

The race for the individual title will be an interesting one.  The defending champion, Gabe Arias-Sheridan, broke the Hayward HS course record for Division V runners (15:16) previously held by Nick Neely of Crystal Springs Uplands (15:23).  Connor Clark finished in 3rd place last year behind Arias-Sheridan and teammate Nick Ratto but moved up to 2nd place at state behind St. Margaret's Billy Gaudreau.  Based on track times (4:13.89 and 9:14.72) Clark should be the favorite but you can't count out Arias-Sheridan.  Sophomore Trevor Reinhart will be in the hunt as well showing tremendous talent with an eye-opening freshman XC season.  The trio of Athenian runners (Elliott, Shaw and Taylor), MA runner James Kinney and SJND runner Louis Rodrigues will keep the runners up front honest.  

2011 NCS Meet of Champions (XC) Division V Results Boys
2011 CIF State Championship Division V Results Boys

Division V Boys (Top 5 Advance to State)
1) St. Joseph ND-Only University has repeated as NCS champions in Div. V history.
2) University-Clark needs help to overcome St. Joseph ND.
3) Athenian-Much improved program aiming for top 2 finish.
4) Sonoma Academy-Finished 4th last year to qualify for 1st state meet.
5) Lick Wilmerding-Great sophomore class with big upside.
On the bubble:  Berean ChristianCollege Prep, InternationalMarin Academy, Urban

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2011 NCS meet time:
Gabe Arias-Sheridan (1) St. Joseph ND 15:16 (Course Record for Div. V)
Connor Clark (3) University 15:32
Trevor Reinhart (4) Marin Academy 15:34
Gabriel Elliott (6) Athenian 16:13
James Kinney (7) Marin Academy 16:16

Comments?  Who did I miss?  What can you add to my rankings?  Please keep it civil.  Use your name when posting as anonymous posts may be deleted.  

Fahy and Wallace Named CA Track & Field Gatorade Athletes of the Year

Coming up tonight...

2012 NCS Boys' Division V Pre-Season Rankings.

Before I post, any thoughts on this division?  Who are the team favorites?  Individuals?  Who will be the five teams going to state?  Surprises?  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

State and CCS At-Large marks for 2013

2012 NCS Division V Pre-Season Rankings (Girls)

Now time to tackle the most successful North Coast Section division when it comes to the state meet.  After another stellar showing at the 2011 state meet, the NCS Division V girls added one more state meet qualifying spot (6) for this coming season.  How successful were the NCS girls last year at the state meet you may ask?  Try 6 individuals in top 9 including the state champion (Julia Maxwell) and the 2nd place finisher (Bridget Blum).  The University girls won their 9th state championship (3rd in a row) and College Prep won another plaque by finishing in 3rd place.  Overall, the 5 qualifying NCS teams all finished in the top 7.  Any way you look at it, there is only one word that can be used for those types of results, Dominating!

Without the ridiculous rule that forced teams to move up in divisions if they won 3 section titles in a row, the University girls can continue to wreak havoc on their division V opponents.  It won't be easy considering they lose their top 2 runners from the previous 2 seasons (Blum and Holland Reynolds).  What they do return is a talented #1 runner in senior Jennie Callan who finished 5th at the NCS MOC XC meet, 7th at the state championship and just recently finished 2nd (5:01.23) at the NCS meet to qualify for her first state Track and Field meet.  UHS also returns 5 out of their top 7 including Lizzy Teerlink (5:36.60/12:04.07) and Grace Euphrat-Weston (5:45.31/12:43.02).

University's competition could be quite formidable this year in the form of Branson.  They return the strongest 1/2 punch in the division with defending state champion Julia Maxwell (more on her later) and Anna Harleen (4th at NCS and 9th at state).  Their all sophomore lineup finished 5th at NCS and 7th at the state meet last year.  With an improved 5th runner, Branson could have quite a season in 2012 as they aim for their first section cross country title in school history.

The rest of the challengers will start with the previously mentioned College Prep which returns their coach Jack Coakley from sabbatical, their top 2 runners (seniors Claire Shellem-15th at state and Amanda Glavin-5:49.66/12/12.93) and 4 of their top 7.  In the past three seasons, CPS has won 3 plaques at the state meet so no reason for them not to be considered as a threat at NCS and beyond.   Lick Wilmerding, one of the largest Division V schools, will be led by Andie Von Eschen (5:29.01/12:14.14).  They finished in 4th place at NCS and 6th at state and will be in the mix with a return to health of several of their runners.  Marin Academy finished in the unenviable 6th position last season but that makes state this year so they are in the hunt.  Convent of the Sacred Heart returns all their runners, Head Royce has a talented duo in Aida Julien (2:14.02) and Jasmine Hardy (2:21.60) and Urban will try to reload with a very talented front runner, Molly Carleton (58.64/2:20.66).

The chase for the individual crown starts and ends with Branson's Julia Maxwell.  She went undefeated in the regular season in cross country, sweeping the MCAL, NCS and State Meet.  She continued to improve on the track running 2nd at the NCS MOC to Carrie Verdon in the 3200m. with a time of 10:32.81 and finished a really impressive 4th at state with a new PR of 10:27.99.  The race for 2nd will consist of Branson teammate Anna Harleen and University runner Jennie Callan.  They had some very close battles last year and look to continue that this season.  The rest of top 10 contenders include Andie Von Eschen of LW, Katy Lee of Sonoma Academy, Molly Carleton of Urban, Claire Shellem of College Prep as well as the runners already mentioned above.

Division V Girls (Top 6 Advance to state)
1) University-Until a team knocks them off, they are still #1.
2) Branson-Is this the year, Branson wins their 1st section crown?
3) College Prep-Finished top 3 last 5 seasons.
4) Lick Wilmerding- Can break into the top 3.
5) Marin Academy-Another consistent threat in this division.
6) Convent-In the mix to go to state.
On the bubble:  Head RoyceSonoma AcademyUrban

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2010 NCS meet time:
Julia Maxwell (1) Branson 17:40
Anna Harleen (4) Branson 18:28
Jennie Callan (5) University 18:30
Andie Von Eschen (7) Lick Wilmerding 18:53
Katy Lee (8) Sonoma Academy 19:01

Please feel free to chime in on the rankings above. I won't be offended if you strongly disagree as the above rankings are meant to be a launching pad for conversation. Fortunately section titles and state meet berths are decided by the runners themselves. Did I miss any teams or individuals? Any other impact freshmen that we should know about?

Boys coming up later this weekend...

Summer running opportunity

If you are in the east bay and looking to find a group to run with, check out the Diablo Running Collective.  You can check out their blog at or contact coach Philip Hadley at

If you have a group that is meeting this summer, feel free to include the information below in the comment section.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Kenyan Summer

From the July 2012 Issue of Running Times
"How to show up for fall practice fitter and faster than ever."

2012 Postal National Championships

The National High School Coaches Association is pleased to announce the 2012 Postal National Champions. The Postal Championship consists of ranking a track teams top five 3200 meter performances nationally, teams competing above 4000ft altitude received the NCAA altitude conversion as designated by NCAA ranking purposes to award the Best Distance Team in America.

Founded in 1956 by cross country coach Forrest Jamieson the "Postal" concept was presented to Track&FieldNews. Bert & Cordner Nelson seeing the potential of such an event quickly jumped behind the high school coaches idea. The event culminated with a National Championship awarded based upon five man 3200 meter teams and published in the Prep Panorama of Track & Field News.

Boys Postal National Champions (Full Postal National Rankings)
Davis HS, Kaysville, Utah boys run US#8 all-time 9:11.88 to defeat US#2 and NXN Champions Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, New Jersey. Ranking as one of the deepest seasons over 165 teams averaged sub-10 minutes for the 5x3200 meter team concept.
  1. Davis HS, Kaysville, Utah  9:11.88 ATUS#8
(Brad Nye 9:07.27c; Brayden Cromar 9:08.30; Alex Hedquist 9:12.15c; Logan Wood 9:15.48c; Andrew Aposhian 9:16.21c)
  2. Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, New Jersey  9:13.21 ATUS#11
(Jack Boyle 9:08.28; Tim Rooney 9:11.53; Aaron Liberatore 9:13.18; Mike McClemens 9:15.95; Billy Bragg 9:17.15)
  3. American Fork HS, American Fork, Utah  9:14.89 ATUS#15
(Clayton Young 9:00.83c; MacKenzie Morrison 9:10.72c; Brayden McLelland 9:17.17c; Tyson Green 9:20.02c; Connor Mcmillan 9:25.75c)
  4. Southlake Carroll HS, Carroll, Texas  9:18.29 ATUS#20
(Joe Sansone 9:09.24; ; Ben Golestan 9:15.27; Kyle Scanlon 9:18.00; Connor Hendricksen 9:24.29; Nate Sullivan 9:24.67)

Girls Postal National Champions (Full Postal National Rankings)
La Costa Canyon HS, Carlsbad, California upsets the 6-time defending national cross country champions Fayetteville Manlius HS, Manlius, New York. La Costa Canyon's team average 10:41.70 ranks as the 5th best all-time with F-M's 10:42.64 all-time US#8.
  1. La Costa Canyon HS, Carlsbad, California 10:41.70 ATUS#5
(Emma Abrahamson 10:24.86; Shanoah Souza 10:27.73; Kelly Lawson 10:40.84; Ellie Abrahamson 10:46.63; Rebecca Bossler 11:08.48)
  2. Fayetteville Manlius HS, Manlius, New York 10:42.64 ATUS#8
(Jillian Fanning 10:26.07c; Christie Rutledge 10:36.50c; Katie Sischo 10:46.13c; Michele Duffy 10:48.27c; Alaina Pearl 10:56.23c)
  3. North Shore HS, Glen Head, New York 10:43.33 ATUS#9
(Samantha Nadal 10:13.67c; Brianna Nerud 10:21.84c; Jessica Donohue 10:43.94c; Elizabeth Caldwell 10:48.86c; Alexandria Osman 11:28.35c)
  4. Saratoga Springs HS, Saratoga, New York 10:44.64 ATUS#10
(Keelin Hollowood 10:35.78c; Taylor Driscoll 10:42.81; Margaret MacDonald 10:43.20c; Megan Szpak 10:46.94c; Katie Treichel 10:54.48c)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Historical Race(s) of the Week

Unfortunately, I can't embed the videos of the following two races here but you can view them at the links below.  The first race is the 10000m. final at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.  It features the best distance runner in the world at that time (Haile Gebrselassie of Ethopia) vs. the World Cross Country champion (Paul Tergat of Kenya).  The race picks up steam with 5 laps to go when Tergat takes over the lead and really turns up the pressure on Gebrselassie.  You can watch how that turns out.

The second race was the rematch at the next Olympics in Sydney.  Different strategy for Tergat this time and watch for the exciting last lap for both runners as headed into the last straight. (1996) (2000)

Northern California Cross Country Coaching Vacancies

Sacred Heart Prep (CCS): in Atherton is looking for an assistant XC coach.  If interested please contact Marisa Beck at
Gunn High School (CCS): in Palo Alto is looking for a head cross country coach for the 2012 season. If interested, please contact Sarah Stapp at (Position of head coach has been filled.  Now looking for assistant coach)

Northgate High is looking for a sprints coach or a jumps coach for the 2013 season.  We compete in the Diablo Valley Athletic League.  Our team is mid-sized (100 athletes) and we like to think of ourselves as a complete team.  We have in place established coaches in the throws, the hurdles, the vault, and the distances.  
We would like to add a sprint coach with at least some coaching experience, or at least a strong competitive background in track.  
This would be a 5 day a week spot, with the usual number of Saturdays thrown in.  
The hours are long.  The stipend is modest.  There are no teaching positions.   

If interested, give Peter Brewer a call or message.
cell: 510-919-4769

Oakland Tech (OAL) in Oakland is seeking to hire a assistant track and
field coach in the following area;Sprints,Hurdles,Horizontal jump and
Vertical jump,High jump.Candidates must also be willing to buy into
our program philosophy.Contact coach Noah (510)
The Piedmont Middle School running program is looking for runners who are interested in coaching Cross Country. No previous coaching experience is needed, just an interest in working with kids, both boys and girls, ages 10 to 13.  Cross Country practice starts Wednesday, August 22nd at 3:15 p.m.  Practices take place Mondays through Thursdays from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. at Witter Field in Piedmont.  A commitment to coach a minimum of two days a week is required and a stipend is offered. The basic requirements are:
- Interest in working with kids and ability to establish a rapport with them.
- One or more years running, experience running in cross country races desirable.
- Reliable, positive attitude, and willing to learn.
- Ability to work in a team coaching environment.
- Willing to undergo a background check, i.e., fingerprinting.
If interested, please contact Len Goldman at:

If you have other openings that you would like to add to the above list, please email me the information at

In honor of Father's Day today...

Here is the list of 2nd generation runners on the Crystal Springs course maintained by Hank Lawson:

Fastest father/son combo in California history?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

2012 NCS Division III Girls' Pre-Season Rankings...

NCS D3 GIRLS PRE SEASON RANKINGS by Campolindo assistant coach, Andy Lindquist
While not as deep as the boys, the girl’s competition in Division III is still a showcase for some of the best teams in the entire NCS. Much like the boys, this division has been dominated by Campolindo which has won the past 2 team titles and has won 7 out of the last 12 team championships as well as state titles in 2001 and 2010. Last year was no different as the Campo machine; known to some people as Chuck’s Army, smashed the Hayward course record for team time by 78 seconds to run 90:29. Unfortunately an off day the next week at the State Championship caused the Cougars to end up finishing 4th. This upcoming season should prove to be equally exciting as DFAL rivals Acalanes and Las Lomas will try to close the gap on a rebuilding Campo squad looking to defend its 6 year DFAL title streak in addition to its NCS title streak. As with the boys rankings I have used NCS times from last year and track times from 2012. These rankings do not take into account any incoming freshmen, so if anyone knows of any incoming freshmen that could make an impact then please feel free to leave a comment. The teams are listed in no particular order below, with THE ACTUAL NUMBERED RANKINGS at the BOTTOM of the page for the impatient ones out there.

REDWOOD: The Giants return their top 3 from last year’s 4th place team but will need to add in some more depth if they want to make a return trip to Fresno. Megan Bordes (18:50), Molly Hunt (18:52), and Julia Hansen (19:12) did not put up any  track times this year so it remains to be seen if they can replicate their past performances again this year (if anyone does have track times for them or anyone else mentioned just post them in the comments below!). Senior Sophie Epstein had a solid track season running 12:11 for 3200 but Redwood will need to find other girls to step up onto their varsity team in order to remain competitive.  

Ups: Return a core group from last year’s team
Downs: May not have the depth at the back end to nail down a top 4 performance

BISHOP O’DOWD:  Much like the boys, the Bishop O’Dowd girls team narrowly missed out on a state championship berth last year, coming within 4 points of 4th place. However, it looks as though the Dragons have all the pieces in place to make another run at snatching up a state berth. Soph Meredith Nix had an impressive track season running 5:15 for 1600. If she is able to continue that success this fall she will give the Dragons a solid frontrunner. Junior Emily Fieberling (19:44) also make some good progress in the 1600, clocking a 5:36 while Alyssa Byer (19:45) also notched an improvement to bring her 1600 time down to 5:30. Those 3 along with Page Robertson (19:50) should supply O’Dowd with a great starting point to work off of. If they can add in one or two more quality runners look for the Dragons to make it back to state.

Ups: Great track season and great tradition sets them up nicely
Downs: Pack margin needs some work

NORTHGATE: The Broncos will look to punch their ticket to state for the first time since 2004 and bring back a good group of returners from last year’s 10th place squad. Junior Caitlyn Mundrane (18:54) had a good season during the spring, clocking a 5:27 1600. In addition Senior Ami Boucher (19:37) continued her steady improvement by running 5:26 and 11:55 in the 3200. Right behind them is sophomore Brittany Swystun who ran 12:00 in the 3200 and Meredith Peterson (19:50) who also had a nice track season running 5:30. These four will give Northgate a great pack that should keep them in contention for a state spot; however, in order to firmly secure a spot they will need step up performances from Kelsey Bowman (21:17) and Alex Mora (22:56).

Ups: Top runners continue to improve at a steady and consistent rate
Downs: Big gap between #4 and #5 runners could be costly

TAMALPAIS: Tam is a relative newcomer to this division, but they held their own last year to finish 7th and look to improve upon that this season. The Hawks return Isabella Amyx (19:07), Madison Kwasny (19:44), Amanda Barrisca (20:38), Meghan Tanel (20:42), and Grace Dougherty (21:15).  However, Meghan was the only one of the bunch to post any track times as she ran 5:37 in the 1600 and 12:29 in the 3200. What makes Tam a contender for a state spot is that they had a good amount of other girls step up in track, and if they can continue that progress throughout the summer Tam will be able to compete with all the other teams eyeing a top 4 finish. Kate Bartschat, Gianna Garza, and Morgana Sidhum ran 12:36, 12:49, and 12:50 respectively during track. If they are able to adapt to the longer distances in XC that will give Tam a great deal of depth to work with, something essential to breaking into the top 4.

Ups: Lots of depth
Downs: Frontrunners will be needed to match the top end talent of other teams

LAS LOMAS: The Knights bring back a great crop of talent and competing in the DFAL will give them a season long preview of both Campolindo and Acalanes. Top returner Clare Orton (18:43) ran a respectable 5:30 1600 and 11:55 3200 during track while Madison Hight (19:05) was right behind her in 5:32. A little bit farther behind those two are Megan Wenzel (19:08), Sydney Carroll (19:30), and Rachel Gemar (19:38) who will all look to hone down the pack margin in order to bypass the strong front running of rivals Campolindo and Acalanes. Competing in the DFAL does give Las Lomas an advantage over the other non-dfal teams vying for a top 4 spot because the heightened level of competition prepares them well by the time NCS rolls around.

Ups: Return a solid pack
Downs: Competes in the DFAL and Division III  

ACALANES: The Dons return everyone from last year’s 2nd place team and will attempt to capture their first section title since 1986. Leading the charge is Annie Marggraff (18:09) who had a stellar track season running 5:17 for the 1600 and 10:58 for the 3200. Amy Hollshwander (18:16) focused more on the sprints during track but she did finish 4th overall last season so don’t count her out just yet. Next in line is Kelly Collins (18:31) who ran 11:51 during the spring and Kelli Berge (19:24) who clocked a 2:23.26 800 time to go along with a 5:26. Junior Tara Bozzini (18:38) will also be a huge factor for Acalanes. Rounding out the returners are Caith Wright (19:50) and Kyra Ruegg (19:59). Getting to face quality schools such as Las Lomas and Campolindo during league competition will provide the necessary conditioning for the Dons to challenge for the NCS title and improve upon their 7th place finish at the State Championships last season.

Ups: Everyone returns
Downs: The gap between their #5 and #6-7 runners needs to be closed down to bolster their depth  

CAMPOLINDO: The two time defending champs have one of the best post-season traditions in the NCS with the Cougars qualifying to the state meet every year since 1995 to go along with their 10 team titles in that span. This upcoming season they will feature a great front end presence with Rachel Johnson (18:21) having had a very successful track season clocking a 5:10 1600 and 11:07 in the 3200. Not to be outdone, Mary Orders (18:20) ran a spectacular 11:01 in the 3200 to compliment a fine 5:14 1600. These two will give Campo plenty of firepower to match or surpass any other team in the division at the front end. Sophomore Brighie Leach (18:50) had a good track season running 5:27 and will give the Cougars a great 1-3 attack. The top returner from last year’s meet, Megan McMillan (18:02) was sidelined by injury during the track season so it remains to be seen if she can make it back up with the other 3. The biggest question mark here is whether or not Sarah Orders and Haley Shipway, two critical members of Campo’s 2010 state champion team, can rebound from an injury riddled fall and spring. It appears they have with Sarah running an 11:59 and Haley running a 5:47 this past track season. With them back in the mix in addition to always strong jv and frosh soph teams, look for Chuck’s Army to compete with the best the division has to offer.

Ups: Strong front running that can match any other team
Downs: Lack of depth could be an issue if one of the frontrunners goes down with illness or injury.

Team Rankings: 
1. Acalanes
2. Campolindo
3. Las Lomas
4. Bishop O'Dowd
5. Northgate
6. Redwood
7. Tamalpais

Individual rankings:
1. Annie Marggraff- Acalanes
2. Rachel Johnson- Campolindo
3. Mary Orders- Campolindo
4. Amy Hollshwander- Acalanes
5. Meredith Nix- Bishop O’Dowd
6. Clare Orton- Las Lomas
On the bubble: Brighie Leach (Campolindo), Kelly Collins (Acalanes), Isabel Moon (Novato)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

2012 NCS Division III Boys' Pre-Season Rankings

NCS DIII PRE-SEASON RANKINGS BOYS by Campolindo assistant coach Andy Lindquist
Year after year Division III remains the most competitive and deepest division in the NCS. Last year was no different as Piner and Campolindo staged a yearlong battle for supremacy with Campolindo emerging on top at the NCS championships and setting the team time course record (77:53) which had previously been held by the 2008 Camplindo team. However that victory proved to be short lived as Piner nipped Campo at the state championship meet by one point to secure 3rd place and their first ever spot on the podium. With Piner moving down into Division IV and Campo losing 5 out of their top 7 due to graduation, the door is open for a new team to claim the title. After many hours of analysis I have narrowed these rankings to the top 7 teams that have the potential to land in the top 4 and secure a spot at State. For sake of a simple comparison I have used NCS times from last year which are noted in parentheses () as well as the best track marks that I could find. They are listed below in no particular order:

PETALUMA: The Trojans went through some struggles last year with the resignation of head coach Jim Lynch and it showed as they wound up finishing 13th and missing state for the first time since 2004. However, they do return their entire top 7 from last year’s NCS team and have put up some respectable track times. Senior Ryan Douglas (16:02) clocked a 4:19 1600 and made it to MOC finals placing 7th while Kevin Poteracke (15:56) put up a solid 4:34 1600 and 10:05 3200. These two were dynamite for Petaluma in 2010 as sophomores so look for them to spearhead the attack and fill crucial leadership positions this upcoming season. Backing them are Duncan Gardner (17:47) and Tom Healy who ran 4:40 and 4:41 respectively. In order for the Trojans to get back to state they will have to pad out their depth at the #5, #6, and #7 positions.

Ups: solid #1/#2
Downs: Depth and leadership must come through this season.

ACALANES: After finishing 7th at least years meet, the Dons will seek to improve upon that finish and make state for the first time since 2008. Junior to be Michael Wang (16:33) had an impressive track season running 4:23 in the 1600 and making it to MOC. Senior Keenan Byrne (16:37) had a respectable track season running 4:39 and 10:00. After that things get interesting as mid distance star Adler Faulkner made up for a disappointing XC season to rip a 1:54.39 in the 800 this past track season. Considering he ran 15:51 at Hayward and qualified to state as a soph in 2010 the talent is certainly there to make an impact. Senior Tristain Tarpey had a breakout year in track running 4:32 for 1600 but it still remains to be seen if he can make in impact at the longer distance. After those 4 there is a sizable gap that would need to be filled if the Dons want to make it back to Fresno. Their #5 from last year Alec Weber (17:05) did not seem to put up any marks this past track season nor did 2011 DFAL JV champion Scott Lindsay.

Ups: Lots of talent at the top end
Downs: Need to put it all together on race day and shore up the back of the pack to really make an impact   

BISHOP O'DOWD: The Dragons narrowly missed out on a trip to state last year, falling 3 points shy of 4th place and would have made state in any other division; however, that only seemed to motivate them to achieve even greater heights in track as the Dragons put together an amazing season with a lot of success in the middle distances and relays running 10:12 in the DMR and 7:46 in the 4x800. Despite losing some core runners due to graduation, look for O’Dowd to compete for a spot in the top 4. Junior Andrew Melendez qualified to state last year as an individual, running 15:42 which makes him one of the top returners in the division. Eugene Hamilton III (16:15) had an extremely impressive track season scorching a 1:52.84 in the 800 as well as placing 2nd at MOC and qualifying to state. If he can translate this track success to XC he will provide a huge impact for the team. Julian Siow (16:51) had a solid sophomore year running 4:49 for 1600 while the twin duo of Sean and Colin Burke both put up respectable frosh times running 4:55 and 4:56. Senior Marco Siler-Gonzales ran 10:16 this track season and could become an impact runner as well. The diamond in the rough here is junior Trevor Ruth who broke out last track season with a 1:56.56 in the 800. Again, if his success on the oval can be translated to the rigors of the 3 mile/5k he will provide even more depth for O’Dowd.

Ups: Loaded with talent and a good amount of depth
Downs: Compete in the toughest division in the NCS  

LAS LOMAS:  The Knights return a solid group with now junior Aidan Goltra (15:52) leading the charge. Aidan had a superb track season running 9:32 for 3200 and despite an off day at last year’s NCS meet, look for him to rebound this year and be in contention for an individual medal. Gajanth Anigol (16:33) is the next returner and he had a fairly successful track season running 10:05 for 3200 while Kailen Swain (16:49) had a nice season as well winning the DFAL 1600 on the frosh soph level in 4:43. Kelly Tarter (16:41) focused more on the middle distances and clocked a 2:12 for 800 meters. 7th man Sean Aylward focused on sprints yet again this track season running 51.49 for the open 400. Another varsity possibility is Keeson Davis who ran 4:43 and 10:16 as a freshman. Competing in the DFAL, one of the toughest leagues in the section should provide them with plenty of opportunities to test themselves against top notch opponents.

Ups: A solid and motivated group that wants to best DFAL rivals Miramonte and Campolindo
Downs: Needs to close up the pack margin if they want to keep up with the other top teams.  

MIRAMONTE: The Matadors had a breakout campaign last season, finishing 3rd in NCS and 9th at state and will look to improve upon those placings this season. Senior Tyler Hanson (15:46) had a monster track season running 4:23 and 9:25, giving him the top 3200 mark out of all the returners in this division. Right on his heels will be Dillon Read (15:40) who was one of the most improved runners in the NCS last XC season. He backed those performances up with nice 4:31 and 9:59 marks during track and he will give Miramonte a deadly 1-2 punch. After that there is the vastly improved Mark Tamminga (16:14) who was able to dip under 4:30 barrier and run 4:28 this track season. Bobby Veres also improved a great deal this track season to bring his 1600 time down to 4:36. The only real question marks will be finding enough depth, especially in the #5 position. The next in line to step into that role is Senior James Mcfeely who had a 3200 best of 10:15 during track. It will be crucial for Miramonte to hone down the back end of their pack because despite having one of the best 1-2 punches in the section, that will not be able to make up for a weak #5 inflating their team score.

Ups: Strong front runners who can compete with the sections best and are hungry to snatch the DFAL Crown away from 4 time defending champ Campolindo.
Downs: Lack of solid depth.     

CAMPOLINDO:  The Cougars have been the most dominant team in the division for quite some time having won 6 out of the past 9 section titles as well as owning the top 2 team times in the history of the Hayward course. Despite losing 5 seniors from last year’s team, including individual champ Thomas Joyce, don’t count the Cougars out just yet. Senior Adam Hathaway (15:50) looks to be the #1 for Campo next season with his track times of 4:32 and 9:47. After him are 3 other seniors who will provide much needed leadership to fill in the gap left by graduation. Kevin Fong (16:16) has the best 3200 time out of the remaining returners with a 10:06 clocking while Cameron Sun was not too far behind in 10:09. Next up is Rod Farvard who enjoyed a productive track season and brought his 1600 down to 4:36. The real wild card in this is Michael Peterson who is the defending DFAL XC frosh soph champ who ran 4:45 and 10:20 during track. In order for the Cougars to continue their winning ways he will have to be able to step into his role on the varsity and adapt to the longer distances (frosh soph races in the DFAL are 2 miles). Campo’s biggest asset is their depth, especially at the frosh soph level where Isaac Valverde (10:18), Ben Weinberg (4:50, 10:27), and Will Moran (4:56, 10:32) all had a great deal of success.

Ups: Lots of depth and a winning tradition.
Downs: Lack of experience and a lack of strong frontrunners

REDWOOD: The Giants return 6 out of their top 7 from last year’s 4th place team and will look to win their first section title since 2000. Junior Fred Huxham (15:44) ran a blistering 4:22 1600 to complement his 9:33 3200 showing at MOC. Right behind him is Kyle Ryan (16:14) who ran 4:28 during track and Jack Bullock (16:19) who broke 10 minutes in the 3200 to run 9:58. Those 3 give Redwood a solid front end and fast improving soph Blake Alm (16:52) has closed the gap on the front 3 with a 4:36 clocking this track season in the 1600. Also returning are Dillon Foehr (16:22) and Max Friend (17:04). Depth is about the only thing the Giants are lacking but considering the amount of people they return they should be able to put together a lineup equally as good as Miramonte and the rest of the DFAL teams. Aside from that Redwood seems primed to compete with the sections best and challenge for the team title.

Ups: Lots of returners who had good track seasons
Downs: Depth could be an issue if one or two guys go down with illness or injury.       

Team Rankings:
1.  Redwood- The Giants have the front runners and depth to secure the title.
2.  Miramonte- The Mats have a stellar 1-2.
3.  Las Lomas- Young, motivated group ready to duke it out with the rest of the DFAL.
4.  Campolindo- Championship pedigree and depth make the Cougars contenders for a trip to state.
5.  Bishop O Dowd- Depth and fast rising youth give the Dragons the firepower to move into the top 4.
6.  Petaluma- Returning their top 7 makes the task easier but the Trojans will need some step up performances to challenge for a state berth.
7.  Acalanes- The dons have the talent at the top but will need to secure more depth if they want to compete with the other 6.

Individual Rankings:
Ranking individuals is always difficult but I tried to narrow it down to who I think will be in the top 6 and who is right on the bubble. Things are really up in the air as so many of the top performers from last year have graduated or changed division.
1.      Tyler Hanson- Miramonte
2.      Danny Stalters- Northgate
3.      Fred Huxham- Redwood
4.      Aidan Goltra- Las Lomas
5.      Dillon Read- Miramonte
6.      Andrew Melendez- Bishop O’Dowd
On the bubble: Adam Hathaway (Campolindo) Ryan Douglas (Petaluma) Kevin Poteracke (Petaluma)  

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