Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Lagoon Valley Classic Invitational

I am working on a preview of this meet which will be posted on Friday. If you have any information that would be helpful, please feel free to add it in the comment section below. If you would like to share your thoughts about the course, you know what to do. 

Thank you for the first comment below. Very helpful. If somebody has a copy, can you send me a course map. Also, what are the course records?

Monday, August 29, 2016

What is the Best CA XC Program of All Time?

This week, on, you can vote on the top XC programs in California during the state meet era (1987 to present). Among the many candidates are a three schools from Northern California and they are Jesuit Boys (SJS) 9 state titles, San Lorenzo Valley Girls (CCS) 5 state titles and University Girls (NCS) 10 state titles. 

You can check out the article explaining how the voting works and where to place your votes at this link:

If you have any comments, feel free to add them in the section below.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Rancho Cotate Invitational

Results are now posted at the links below. You can also check out photos from the meet courtesy of Jim Crowhurst, and Michael Lucid.  The video above is from start of girls varsity race. Aimee Armstrong of Maria Carrillo takes a pretty rough tumble but ends up recovering to finish in 3rd place.

If you see the results posted and/or you have a link to share, please feel free to do so below in the comment section. Also, if you are competing today at a meet, please let me know so I can hunt down the results and post those as well.

Oakmont Invitational Results (SJS)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Toughest Cross Country Course in California is in the process of determining the toughest course in the United States. They are currently inquiring about the toughest courses in each state. I have done some research and asked a few coaches and I think I have my toughest course in California. 

I will keep that to myself for now (don't want to bias anybody out there) so let's hear it from the runners, coaches and parents out there about the toughest course they have encountered during their time competing in California.

Please list the course and any other information that backs up your claim as the toughest course in Northern California. Feel free to add photo links as well if you have any.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What is your first race and what are your goals for this coming season?

Feel free to share your first race and goals for this coming season. You can use your name or not. Let us know what you want to accomplish this year and feel free to add your individual and team goals.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Northern Section pre-season Cross Country rankings

"Here are my pre-season rankings for the Northern Section based on section cross country and track results from last year." Scott Fairley, West Valley coach

You can check out my interview with coach Fairley from April 2014 at this LINK.

1.       Kelly Koehnen (12) Hamilton
2.       Karly Gutermuth (12) Trinity
3.       Morgan Gregory (11) UPrep
4.       Naomi Renfroe (12) Red Bluff
5.       Meri Krier (12) Yreka

1.       Shasta
2.       Yreka
3.       Sutter
4.       University Prep
5.       Foothill

1.       Andrew Skoy (12) Shasta
2.       Jack Emanuel (12) Chico
3.       Brian Hastings (11) Las Plumas
4.       Michael Cramer (12) UPrep
5.       Chris Meeder (12) West Valley

1.       University Prep
2.       Shasta
3.       Chico
4.       Yreka
5.       West Valley

Note from Lowell Invitational meet director Andy Leong

The following was sent to teams that have switched from The Earlybird Invitational to the Lowell Invitational.

I need a couple of days to figure out how many schools I can accept to the meet.  Prior to Earlybird being cancelled, we were already approaching the all time high in number of schools.   

If you haven't already, please give me an estimate as to how many runners you will have per division.  I may have to ask the larger teams to limited what you can run.

If you have somehow been able to get on to the registration page on directathletics, please do not enter any names till I give the OK.

Andy Leong
Meet Director
Lowell Invite

Monday, August 22, 2016

***2016 Earlybird has been cancelled***

We regret to inform everyone that the 2016 Earlybird Invitational has been cancelled. The Soberanes fire containment date has moved more than a month later than originally predicted and Toro Park will be occupied by firefighters for the foreseeable future.  Be assured that we looked into all alternative options possible but we were not able to find any. Please make alternative plans for September 10th.

I want to thank all the teams that had committed to coming. We had the biggest and most competitive line-up of teams for our 22nd annual event. Special thanks to Saugus and Martin Luther King who were planning to make the trek from the southern part of the state and were bringing some of the top tradition rich programs in the state to face the best the northern part of the state has to offer. Please cancel any payments for the meet at this time and we will be sending your already received checks back to you ASAP.
Finally, traditionally we have had Earlybird the Saturday after Labor Day. For 2017 we will break with tradition and host the "Not So Early Earlybird" at Toro Park on the following SaturdayThe 22nd Annual Earlybird will be Saturday, September 16th, 2017. This will allow some top programs who prefer to wait one more week before racing to come to the meet. Please mark your calendars and we will surely make the 2017 meet the best with fire on the course where it belongs!

Best of luck this season to all the teams and athletes and please let me know if you have any questions.
Coach Ibarra
Earlybird Meet Director

Sunday, August 21, 2016

2016 Rio Olympics

Now that all the events are officially over, it's time to look back at the just completed 2016 Summer Olympics.

What was your favorite event(s)? Could be non Track and Field sport.
What was the biggest surprise for you?
What athlete or team did you cheer the hardest for from home (or wherever you watched the event)?
Who was most impressive?
What Olympian would you like to sit down and have a beer (or non-alcoholic beverage) with?
What was most disappointing about these Olympics?
Anything else you would want to add.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Mt. Pleasant High School searching for Head Track & Field coach

Mt.Pleasant HS in San Jose is looking for a head Track and Field coach.  Traditionally, one of the top programs in the Central Coast Section. Contact athletic director Eric Rocha at

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Update on the Earlybird Invitational

Greetings Earlybird coaches!
As many of you know, the Soberanes Fire is roaring just south of us. Their containment date is the end of this month but that could obviously change. At this time, Toro Park is being used as a base camp for the firefighters and is closed to any other use.
So, for now, after looking at all our options and restrictions including other dates and locations, we have decided to stick to the plan.
Earlybird is still set for September 10th at Toro Park.
IF the fire is not contained and the park is not reopened by then the meet will be cancelled.
We will obviously let you know as soon as we know but we are crossing our fingers at this point that all will be well and the meet will be on.
I know we have teams traveling from far away and I wanted to make sure we gave everyone the heads up of the possibility of the meet being cancelled.
For now, stick to the plan and make sure your athletes are registered on by the deadline on 9/6/16 by 8 PM. Also, continue to send in payments and we can cancel checks or mail them back if the meet is cancelled.
If you need any information please visit the meet webpage
The meet competition is the best we have ever seen and I know your teams and kids will enjoy the meet! The meet preview story will be out the week of the meet.
If you have any questions please email me
Gustavo Ibarra, 
North Monterey County
Earlybird Meet Director

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sportsmanship at the Olympics

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Bay Area ties for two Olympic Gold Medalists

Yesterday, two athletes recorded two of the bigger upsets that you will see at the 2016 Olympics. They both have Bay Area ties.

In the pool, Maya DiRado won the 200m backstroke with a great finish to defeat 3 time gold medalist Katinka Hosszu of Hungary. You can check out the finish to that race at this LINK. Maya attended Maria Carrillo HS and Stanford University. You can check out her bio at this LINK. Her dad Ruben (below, far left) was an assistant coach on the Cross Country and Track & Field teams.
On the track, Michelle Carter won the gold medal in the shot put on her last throw. The mark was a new American Record and was the first gold medal for an American woman in the event. Her dad Michael, was a former 49er. He won the silver medal in the shot put at the LA Olympics in 1984. He joined the 49ers immediately after the summer games and was part of their Superbowl winning team. It's the only time that an athlete has won an Olympic medal and a Superbowl in the same year. Michael and Michelle at one time both held the high school records in the shot put. Michelle's mark was surpassed recently by fellow Olympian Raven Saunders. Michael's record (81'3.5") still stands and some consider it the greatest high school Track & Field record of all. You can check out the video below from his throws from the 1981 Golden West Invitational.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Top Cross Country programs in Northern California

This was posted on July 22, 2011. What programs should be considered to the following list now that we are approaching the 2016 season?
The following is a list of cross country programs in Northern California who have won multiple section titles and have been consistently successful in the past decade.  As with any list, it's possible I may have left deserving teams so if you feel other teams should have been listed as well, feel free to add those schools in the comment section below.  The coaches listed next to the schools are their current coach for this coming season.  The teams are listed in alphabetical order.

Aptos CCS Dan Gruber
Bellarmine CCS Patrick McCrystle
Bella Vista SJS Harold Kuphaldt (boys)/Melanie Cleland (girls)
Bret Harte SJS Keith Maurer
Campolindo NCS Chuck Woolridge
Carlmont CCS Jennifer Randazzo
Carmel CCS John Ables
Castro Valley NCS Dooney Jones
Chico NS Kevin Girt
College Park NCS Christina Pennes
Davis SJS Bill Gregg
De La Salle NCS John Pelster
Del Campo SJS Bob King
Del Oro SJS Kevin Ostenberg
Enterprise NS Jim Deaver
Granite Bay SJS Angie Pozzi (now coached by Carla Kehoe)
Gunn CCS Matt Tompkins (now coached by Patti Sue Plumer)
Half Moon Bay CCS Paul Farnsworth
Jesuit SJS Walt Lange
Los Gatos CCS Matt Snee(boys)/Margaret Hulgrave(girls)
Lowell SF Michael Prutz
Maria Carrillo NCS Greg Fogg
Monte Vista NCS Mike Davis
Mt. Shasta NS Steve Nesheim
Mt. View CCS Jim Bordoni
North Monterey County CCS Charles Pierce
Oak Ridge SJS Rob Fairley
Petaluma NCS Jim Lynch
Placer SJS Randall Fee
Pleasant Valley NS David Mosier
San Rafael NCS Jason Jacobson
San Ramon Valley NCS Tim Hunter (now coached by David Bayliss)
San Lorenzo Valley CCS Rob Collins (now coached by Jay Avenmarg)
Skyline OAK Andrew Cheng (now coached by Sean Kohles)
St. Francis (Mt. View) CCS Mandy Benham(boys)/Roberta Chisam(girls) (now coached by Phil Pompei)
St. Francis (Sacramento) SJS John DuCray
St. Ignatius CCS Nick Alvarado(boys)/Jerilynn Caskey(girls)
St. Joseph Notre Dame NCS Tony Fong
St. Mary's Berkeley NCS Jeff Rogers(boys)/Denis Mohun(girls)
University SF NCS Jim Tracy (now coached by Carin Marrs)
West Valley NS Scott Fairley
Willow Glen CCS Victor Santa Maria
Woodcreek SJS Terri McKillop

Who did I miss?  Can you narrow it down to a top 10 list?  Who are the top coaches?  What is the best combined program (boys and girls)?  Which of the above teams won at least one state championship in the past decade?

9th Annual Scott Bauhs Invitational info

Monday, August 08, 2016

Alex Mason, St. Joseph Notre Dame XC & TF coach

Along with coach Mason, here are some of the SJND current runners and alumni at his wedding reception.

Cooper Teare state XC champ and state 3200 champ
Chris Williams coach at Dublin High School
Nick Ratto 800 State finalist (UC Davis)
Louis Rodrigues xc team state champ (Seattle U)
Michael Murphy xc team state champ (Portland)
Gabe Arias xc team champ (St. Mary's)
Kim Avalos (St. Mary's)
Kiera Marshall xc state runner up
Ian Mason (Fresno State)
Nick Koneffklatt (UCLA)
Veronica Aguila (SF State)

Thursday, August 04, 2016

2016 NCS Division IV pre-season Cross Country rankings (Boys)

Our final NCS rankings will be the Division IV boys. Last season, the Sir Francis Drake boys won their second section title in school history since their first in 2000. They easily outdistanced Humboldt del Norte rivals McKinleyville (2nd) and Arcata (3rd). by placing 5 runners in the top 20. The individual winner was Drake senior Jeremy Leary who pulled away from El Molino's Brian Schulz with a winning time of 15:17.1.

For the upcoming season, several teams that move down from Division III will definitely be a factor. The favorite at this point is Miramonte which finished in 4th place in Division III last year and qualified for the state meet. They return 6 out of their 7 from last year including their #1 runner, Jonathan Fierro (4:33.38/10:14.99). They will be after their first section title since 2012 in Division III. Word on the street also has the Matadors adding a transfer from the Sac-Joaquin Section who will definitely be in their top 5 if the rumor is true.
Chasing them will be last year's 2nd place Division IV team, McKinleyville. They return 5 out of their top 7 which includes their top 3 from last year's section meet, Austin Nolan (2:01.47/4:32.18/10:14.71), Joe Rieder (4:37.82/10:19.47) and rising sophomore Trent Padilla (4:33.14/10:08.20). Also in the mix will be Sir Francis Drake (above following their victorious NCS MOC effort with coach Robyn Berry) who will be led by impressive rising junior Wyatt Miceli (15:55.6 at Hayward). He runs Cross Country in the fall and is a competitive cyclist in the spring. The Piedmont boys missed the state meet last year by an agonizing one point and will be fired up to qualify to race at Woodward Park. Along with Drake and Piedmont, Bishop O'Dowd and San Rafael drop down from Division III and will both contend for that 3rd and last 3rd state meet spot. Piner and Albany each return two runners under 17 minutes but will need to regroup to be in contention. St. Mary's Berkeley has been one of the strongest team in this division for many years and can never be counted out.

The race for the individual title will be an interesting one. Last year's second place finisher, Brian Schulz of El Molino, would have been the fastest returner here will now be chasing Cooper Teare of St. Joseph Notre Dame in Division V. The fastest and top returner from last year's section final will be Kellen O'Neill of Arcata who finished in 3rd place with a time of 15:31.0. The other runners that also broke 16 minutes at the section final were Jonathan Fierro of Miramonte (15:44.3) and Wyatt Micelli (15:55.6) of Sir Francis Drake.

Division IV Boys (Top 3 Advance to State)
1) Miramonte-Slight favorite with the best returning team from last year's section meet.
2) McKinleyville-Rising program looking for their cross country section title in school history.
3) Sir Francis Drake-They are the defending champion but will need to somehow replace their #1.
4) Piedmont-Hoping for top 3 finish after just missing the state meet in '15.
5) Bishop O'Dowd-They are ranked 5th now but could easily place in top 3.
6) San Rafael-Won this division 3 times since 2010. Kabbara gives them strong #1.
On the bubble: AlbanyArcataPinerSt. Mary's Berkeley

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2015 NCS meet time:

Kellen O'Neill (3 in Division IV) Arcata 15:31.0
Jonathan Fierro (7 in Division III) Miramonte 15:44.3
Wyatt Miceli (7 in Division IV) Sir Francis Drake 15:55.6
Jonny Vargas (17 in Division III) Piner 16:03.4
Munir Kabbara (20 in Division III) San Rafael 16:11.3

Comments? Do you know of impact freshmen that will attend at any of the above schools? Feel free to chime in the comment section below. Did I miss anybody? How would you rank this division differently?

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

2016 NCS Division III pre-season Cross Country rankings (Girls) courtesy of Campolindo assistant coach, Andy Lindquist

Much like the boys, this division will feature a battle between Redwood, Maria Carrillo, Campolindo and Las Lomas for the 4 spots to the state meet.

1. Redwood
The Giants return the best 1-2 in this division with footlocker finalist Glennis Murphy and middle distance standout Gillian Wagner. Both excelled this track season with Murphy running a superb 10:40 for 3200 and Wagner running 5:00 for 1600 to go with a 2:12 performance in the 800. After those two there is a bit of a drop off to Annie Fogarty who was a regular varsity member last season and had a productive spring running 5:27 in the 1600 and 11:27 in the 3200. Those 3 will give Redwood an impressive front end but after that there are some serious depth concerns. Sophia McWhorter did run a solid 19:48 for 5k at the Clovis Invitational last fall but struggled the remainder of the season, never breaking 20:00 for 5k again. She ran a solid 2:23 in the 800 during track but it still remains to be seen if she can translate that into a consistent season of racing. Lucie James ran a respectable 12:31 for 3200 during track season and looks to be the #5 coming into the season. In order for Redwood to capture the title it will take an improved back end to keep the team score from getting too high but for now the Giants have the inside track to take home the hardware at the end of the season.

2. Campolindo
The 3 time defending champions have some work to do if they want to extend their winning streak as they have been hit hard by graduation loses. Juniors Hannah Ruane and Isabella Chao both ran exceptionally well late into the track season and that will give the Cougars a great starting point but there are some major concerns after that. Varsity scorer Savannah Hilton had a solid spring, running 5:35 and 12:10 for 1600/3200 and should continue that trend this fall. Junior Jenna Miles was injured towards the end of last cross country season and did not compete this track season. She has flashed some considerable talent for Campo in the past and should she regain her previous form she could be a major boost to the team’s depth. For the Cougars to hold their ground against the rest of the teams in this division it will take a season long commitment to working on the 1-5 pack margin: up front they are very close to Redwood but after that there is a drop off that will need to be addressed. All the teams mentioned here are extremely close to each other and any demonstration of improvement from the 4-5 positions could end up being the difference in November. For now Campolindo stands at #2.

3. Las Lomas
The Knights only lose 1 member of their varsity squad from last year and appear to be right in the thick of the team competition. While they may lack a quality front runner at this point in time, they have what many of the other teams in this division currently lack: depth at the back end. Sydney Polich, Katie Saenger, Elise Stankus and Ally Heitmann all ran under 5:40 for 1600 this past track season, with Saenger posting the best 3200 with a 11:59 clocking. Throw in ultra-talented sophomore Veronica Towle (5:17/11:24 1600/3200) and you have the makings of a very solid group. Las Lomas has the added advantage of competing against quality teams from the Diablo Athletic League (Miramonte, Campolindo, College Park and others) the whole season, which should be a great proving ground for them. The only issue here is the lack of a proven frontrunner but with the amount of depth they have coming back that may not be that big of an issue. Look for the Knights to challenge the top teams in this division the entire season and don’t be surprised if they end up finishing higher than their current ranking at the end of the year.

4. Maria Carillo
The Pumas look primed for another trip to state but will have to do some work if they want to compete with the best teams in this division. Aimee Armstrong (5:20 1600) and Sydnie Rivas (11:28 3200) look to be the frontrunners this year for the north bay power. Talia Leano showed great promise over the spring with a stellar 2:18 clocking for 800. If she can successfully make the transition to the longer race distance that could be a huge boon to Maria Carrillo’s chances and landing in the top 3. Megan Field (12:05 3200) and Lily Raymond (5:45 1600) round out the returners at this point in time. For Maria Carrillo to be successful this season it will take a commitment to working on improving at every scoring position. At this moment they lack a strong frontrunner and a strong pack so both of those will need to be addressed if the Pumas want to make some noise this fall.

5. El Cerrito
The Gauchos surprised many last season as they peaked masterfully to capture the final state meet birth, and with their entire top 7 returning this fall they may be aiming even higher than simply making it. It was hard to find track results but both Cailyn Sakurai (11:42) and Naomi Furuya (11:54) posted solid 3200 times while Grace Rusin (5:32) had the best 1600 time out of the bunch. If El Cerrito wants to make a return trip to Fresno they will have to work on improving their pack margin and the ability to hang with teams that have better frontrunners. As it stands now they lack the super deep pack to really challenge the top 4 teams and they also lack a superstar frontrunner that can be in contention for an individual medal and those things will have to be worked on throughout the season. For now they are a talented team with a scary amount of upside that would shock some of the established powers come the postseason.

Individual rankings
1. Glennis Murphy (Redwood) – Has the best 1600 and 3200 times of anyone in this division and looks to be the heavy favorite at this point
2. Hannah Ruane (Campolindo) – Her 10:59 performance in the 3200 is behind only Murphy in this division
3. Gillian Wagner (Redwood) – Primed for a big fall breakthrough after a great track season
4. Isabella Chao (Campolindo) – Had an impressive spring in running 5:06 in the 1600 to make MOC, expect similar things this season
5. Rayna Stanziano (Concord) Mega talent who excelled in track despite minimal training, could easily move up in these rankings by seasons end
6. Lauren Lum (Alameda) – 5:06 for 1600 puts her right in the mix here
7. Veronica Towle (Las Lomas) – Lots of potential based on a solid track season
On the bubble: Amy Stanfield (Sonoma Valley), Lara Vetter (Alameda), Sydnie Rivas (Maria Carrillo)  

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