Thursday, June 28, 2012

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...


Anonymous said...

piedmont is returning every single varsity member (entire var team was non-seniors last year)....and their top two (frost/ireland) can both beat st. mary's entire team. i think they are #2 for team title. I agree though, drake is the squad to beat this year. lawson just keeps getting better and better and hutchins is not far behind. san rafeal is always a group to watch out for too.

Anonymous said...

lawson is actually a 4.15 miler not 4.18- ran it in a DMR. st. mary's has no shot at #2, they've simply lost too many of their guys. could be interesting to see if silva (piner) can mix up the top few individuals. and watch out for hutchins (4.19), frost (4.25), and morris (4.28) for individuals.

Anonymous said...

Piedmont over Piner? Really? I think NCS will look more like this: Drake, Piner, with Cardinal Newman, St Mary's, San Rafael, and El Molino battling for the next spots.

Anonymous said...

my individuals predictions

1. lawson (4:15/9:12)
2. silva (15:20)
3. hutchins (4:19/9:34)
4. frost (4:25)
5. morris (4:28/9:56)
6. bowlby (16:12)
7. mariolle (4:31/16:19)

Anonymous said...

i wonder if the el molino kids have a shot at making state as a team. they got no front runners but good depth. depths is more important.

Anonymous said...

Piedmont? Sure, Frost as an individual can do some damage but they lack mayor depth. The idea that they could beat Piner and St Mary's is... well wrong.

Anonymous said...

guys lets be mary's is being a little bit over-credited. mariolle is good but he can't keep up with any of these big guys up front. this will be a 'rebuilding' year for the panthers.

Anonymous said...

don't understand why people continue to put 1600 times like that really translate to cross country. I some cases it does but for a lot it doesn't. Even a 3200 time is closer to cross country but still it doesn't always translate to a good XC runner. Just a thought............

Anonymous said...

to adress the above comment ^ people are throwing out mile times because the majority of high school distance runners use the mile as a general measuring stick of how good they are. a lot of kids who would actually probably do better in the 2 mile choose to concentrate on the mile in the spring because it is the 'glory event' for distance runners. a lot of these 420-430 milers could probably run <930 2 miles but only have PR's in the 950s because they are concentrating on the wrong event.

Anonymous said...

The point I was making is just because you run a fast mile doesn't necessary mean you will be a great XC runner. By the way I am well aware of what the "glory distance event is. And if these runners are running wrong events someone is dropping the ball on the guidance of these young runners to educate them on what there best events are.

Anonymous said...

The 1600m Is a Good key to XC Success even the 3200m of course! The 5000m is also about Leg turn over! Running the 1600 or the 3200m doesn't matter if your dropping the Ball or Not, A program could be working on speed more (800m or 1600m) Vs Strength(3200m)pending what the Coach wants to do! Track this year was a little interesting since there really wasn't very ideal weather situation this spring anywhere! You could always gain your Strength thru the summer! Plenty of time in between to gain that success for later!

Anonymous said...

totally depends on racing style too. you get guys like luis luna or thomas joyce who can just absolutely destroy people with their aerobic strength, so they concentrate on the 3200 almost exclusively. then you got guys like nick ratto or cole williams who are wicked strong kickers on xc and concentrate on the 800 because speed is what they do best. the mile is the perfect middle ground (dan milechman comes to mind as a hotshot miler/xc guy)

Anonymous said...

im gonna have to agree with the mile does not equal xc thing. alex conner, jaime silva, and tyler troxel (all top div 3 guys last year) are all really good xc runner but can't even break 4:30 in the mile. meanwhile you got guys like jamie fehrnstrom and trevor fuhriman who were good, not great, in xc, but were 415 and 413 milers. there is a spectrum of speed guys and strength guys and in general xc plays to the strength guys.

Anonymous said... is this article gonna be done?

Albert Caruana said...

Working on it as we speak.

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