Saturday, July 08, 2017

2017 NCS Division V pre-season Cross Country rankings

BOYS (added today, 7/8/17)
With the divisional changes that took place last season, Division V will still have the majority of the teams under the past cutoff of 500 (only five teams are above that number). Although, the top end of this division now goes up to 600, the top teams will remain the usual suspects who compete for the state qualifying spots year after year.

Looking back at the past few seasons on the boys side, St. Joseph Notre Dame won four section titles in a row from 2011 to 2014 which included 4 state podium finishes which included 2 state titles in 2012 and 2013. Marin Academy, perhaps in the shadows of SJND during those seasons, had a nice run of their own that included a section team title in 2015 and two 2nd place finishes at the state meet in 2013 and 2015. Lick-Wilmerding won a very competitive section race in 2016 that included 26 complete teams.

This coming season, the L-W boys will be the favorites to win the team title. They return the top returning runner in this division, Sean Laidlaw (4:30.14/9:38.33) as well as the top 6 competitors from last year's section meet. Their fifth man from that meet was now senior Erik Stein who recorded bests of 1:56.02 and 4:33.05 this past spring.

The next best team appears to be SF University. They had a nice influx of freshmen last year led by Charlie Kennedy (2:05.36/4:33.90) and Clay Mills (4:46.35/10:12.42). UHS will return their top 3 runners as well as 5 of their top 7 from last year's section meet.

The team that could certainly challenge both Bay Counties League teams will be Sonoma Academy. They finished in 4th place last year led by an outstanding trio of runners that all finished in the top 12. They lose lead runner Joey Johnson but return Kheva Mann (1:57.93/4:27.38) and Brendan Loftus (4:40.12/10:12.22). They will be bolstered by Kelseyville transfer Andre Williams (4:41.04/9:58.86) who will fill in capably for Johnson's absence. If you look at the top returners from last season's section meet, you will see they SA now has 3 of the top 5 returners which give them a lot of fire power up front.

The wild card in this division will be McKinleyville. They finished in 2nd place in Division IV last season but will now compete here. They lost their top two runners but will still have Christian Coley (4:34.33/9:48.53) and Trent Padilla (4:48.31 mile/10:20.70). I don't believe they will be as strong as they were last season but they can still battle for a state meet spot here.

With five teams qualifying for state, another team in the mix will include College Prep. They lose lead runner Ethan Ashby but return the rest of their team. A freshman, Jacob Lehmann Duke (4:45.08/10:17.11), led the team at last year's section meet and will have plenty of returning teammates to form a very solid team. St. Joseph Notre Dame finished in 2nd place last year but do lose their top 2 runners, Cooper Teare and Willie Mein. They return 4 out of their top 7 runners from last season and will definitely have to be accounted for when it comes to the top teams in this section.

One thing for certain is that we will have a different individual champion than the past two seasons. Perhaps, the best runner in section history, Cooper Teare, will now be taking his talents to the University of Oregon. The top returning runner from last season is L-W senior, Sean LaidlawIsaac Teuscher (1:59.45/4:30.84/9:35.76) of Head Royce was right behind Laidlaw in 6th place and will be aiming for an individual title as well. Sonoma Academy could be in line for a team title and their top 3 runners will all be in the mix up front with transfer Andre Williams and returners Kheva Mann and Brendan Loftus.

Division V Boys (Top 5 Advance to State)
1) Lick-Wilmerding-Last title before last year was Division III in 1989. Poised now for back to back.
2) University-Have very strong group returning but have a bit of a gap behind Tigers.
3) Sonoma Academy-They will be very tough up front but will need to close the gap with back end.
4) McKinleyville-Strong program from division IV. 
5) College Prep-They will be in the mix with solid #1 and typical depth.
6) St. Joseph ND-Will be motivated to win 5th section title in the past 6 seasons.
7) Marin Academy-On the outside looking in at this point but may surprise in November.
On the bubble: Stuart HallUrban

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2016 NCS meet time:

Sean Laidlaw (5) Lick-Wilmerding 15:35.2
Isaac Teuscher (6) Head Royce 15:36.8
Andre Williams (8) Kelseyville 15:44.8
Kheva Mann (10) Sonoma Academy 15:59.5
Brendan Loftus (12) Sonoma Academy 16:04.4

For girls, click heading above and all those rankings will appear as well.

This division has been the most successful division for NCS at the California state meet since the addition to a 5th division in 1996. The girls have been especially potent at the state meet led by the incredible run of state meet titles by San Francisco University. Last year, NCS placed five teams in the top ten led by Lick-Wilmerding which finished an agonizing one point out of a top three podium finish. With the great depth of teams, six girls teams qualify to the state meet from NCS which is the most of any division in the section.

SJND won the last two section team titles for the girls led by Kiera MarshallEmily Perez and Beatrice Levy. Marshall won her first section and state titles as a senior in 2016 and will be competing at the University of Washington in the fall. Losing Marshall will be a big blow for the Pilots but they will still have Perez (5:13.95/10:52.87) and Leavy (5:22.00/11:59.51), two of the better runners in this division.

The favorites at this point are the SF University girls. They finished in 3rd place at the 2016 NCS MOC meet and followed that up with an 8th place finish at the CA state meet. They will be led by Claire Jackson (2:23.87/5:17.29/11:41.61) who will have plenty of help from Sadie Scott (2:39.47/5:44.54/12:12.08), Ella Shenkar (5:53.63/12:11.12) and Maya Swain (12:16.57). They will be very strong, depth wise and if they can get a couple of their front runners into the top 10, UHS will be tough to beat.

Another contending team will be Lick-Wilmerding which finished in 2nd place last year. They will be led by sophomore Mira Terdiman (2:24.18/5:13.76/11:22.80) who will be backed by two fellow sophomores Viva Donohoe and Jeannie Moreno who both finished in the top 25 at the NCS meet. Senior Maggie Drew was one of their top 5 runners who was impressive on the track running 2:22.95. They will also be bolstered by incoming freshman Maya Lacamp who has been impressive with season bests of 2:22.38 (800m) and 4:55.54 (1500m)

Sonoma Academy will be led by the Rylee and Kate Bowen and return the majority of their team. They will also be aided by not having soccer in the fall which could result with added depth behind the talented sisters. Branson will have their own dynamic duo, Grace Dailey (2:17.56/5:01.92/11:09.69) and Callie Jones (5:02.69/11:11.78) and will return the majority of their 2016 team. Urban should contend for the last state qualifying spot and will be led by sophomore Sophia Stephens (2:20.48). College Prep and Convent will be in rebuild mode but don't count them out especially College Prep.

Rylee Bowen won section titles as a freshman and sophomore and finished in 2nd place last season. She will be favored to win again as a senior and her biggest competition will be from another St. Joseph Notre Dame runner, Emily Perez. Grace Dailey of Branson and Kate Bowen both finished in the top 5 and will be in contention as well. Callie Jones of Branson and Lick-Wilmerding sophomore Mira Terdiman are both capable of running in the low 18s on the Hayward Course which will have them at the very least involved with the front pack.

Division V Girls (Top 6 Advance to State)
1) University-Was the most impressive team during the past spring Track and Field season.
2) Lick-Wilmerding-One of the largest and most consistent NCS Division V teams.
3) St. Joseph ND-Will be aiming for their 3rd section title in a row without defending section champ.
4) Sonoma Academy-They are ranked 4th here but could easily be in the top 3.
5) Branson-Very strong top two punch but will need help to finish here.
6) Urban-Don't sleep on this team as they have quietly been in the mix for many years.
On the bubble: College PrepConventHead-Royce

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2016 NCS meet time:

Rylee Bowen (2) Sonoma Academy 17:38.9
Emily Perez (3) St. Joseph Notre Dame 17:42.5
Grace Dailey (4) Branson 18:02.0
Kate Bowen (5) Sonoma Academy 18:09.6
Callie Jones (6) Branson 18:13.1

The boys pre-season rankings will be posted next. Comments? Do you know of impact freshmen that will attend at any of the above schools? Feel free to chime in the section below.


carin said...

Hi Albert, generous of you to rank University #1, but they will not be quite as strong as you mention. Simone Jacob graduated this spring (running at Mt. Holyoke next year) and Odelia Putterman is studying abroad for the fall. We shall see...

Albert Caruana said...

Thank you Carin. I made those changes. I have to rank someone first and at this point, it looks like there are four teams above the rest. Your team is one of them. Things will change as the season progresses so there will be updates then.

Best of luck to UHS.

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