Tuesday, July 31, 2018

2018 NCS Division II pre-season Cross Country rankings

I will have a more comprehensive explanation of the rankings below in a moment but for now, here you go.

1) Granada
2) De La Salle
3) College Park
4) Foothill
5) Heritage/Mission San Jose

1) Connor Livingston De La Salle
2) Russell Sullivan Foothill
3) Tyler Hattori Granada
4) Maxwell Waechter Heritage
5) Seth Jeppson Granada/Arnav Arora Mission San Jose

1) Granada
2) San Ramon Valley
3) Monte Vista
4) Liberty
5) Clayton Valley/Freedom/Livermore

1) Colleen McCandless Granada
2) Kelli Wilson Monte Vista
3) Kalea Bartolotto Granada/Kinga Bihari Granada
4) Gracie Dupuis/Sidney Isom Monte Vista
5) Tavella sisters (Kate & Emma) San Ramon Valley/Valenton sisters (Veronica & Viviana) Livermore

Feel free to comment on this division in the meantime. You can find what teams will compete in this division this season at this LINK.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Best NorCal XC team ever?

Somebody asked in a comment section about who is the best NorCal XC team in history. I threw out a few teams like the '85 Jesuit team with the Mastalir twins and Paul Thomas, Mt. View team that won state in 2009, last year's St. Francis team and the Davis team (girls) that finished 2nd at NXN. I am sure there are others so who are the other candidates?

Woodward Park All-Time
Course Record for girls: Great Oak 2015 89:13
Top 3 NorCal Team Times
1) Davis 2015 89:33
2) Davis 2016 89:56
3) Davis 2013 91:02

Top 3 NorCal Team Times
Course Record for boys: Great Oak 2015 76:10
Top 3 NorCal Team Times
1) Dublin 2017 77:55
2) St. Francis 2017 78:25
3) Mt. View 2009 78:26

Friday, July 27, 2018

Top 10 Cross Country programs in Northern California

If we had to come up with a list of the top 10 cross country programs in Northern California, what teams would make that list? What qualifications should be part of choosing those teams? Should we consider history or is this based on current strength? State championship teams only or are there other factors? What is the best overall program in Northern California and why? Remember that the sections included are NS, SJS, NCS, OAK, SF and CCS and you can choose a program that is equally strong for both boys and girls or pick a program that is strong for either boys or girls.

Please feel free to include the schools that you think deserve mention and I will add them to a growing list.

Listed in alphabetical order
Aptos (CCS) girls
Bellarmine (CCS) boys
Campolindo (NCS) boys and girls
Carlmont (CCS)
Davis (SJS) boys and girls
Dublin (NCS) boys
Granada (NCS) boys and girls
Jesuit (SJS) boys
Lick-Wilmerding (NCS) boys and girls
Los Gatos (CCS)
San Francisco University (NCS) boys and girls
San Lorenzo Valley (CCS) girls
St. Francis, Mt. View (CCS) boys
St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS)
Urban (NCS)
Who else?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Northern California Track and Field doings...

The site High School Harrier has been doing a countdown of the best teams in the entire nation. You can check out their list at this link on twitter.
https://twitter.com/HSHarrier NEW

ca.milesplit.com has been running their yearly countdown toward the two best teams in California. You can check that out at the link below with lots of NorCal teams already in the mix.
http://ca.milesplit.com/series/1724 (NEW)

Tullyrunners.com has come out with his national team rankings and a few NorCal teams made the lists:
Boys: http://www.tullyrunners.com/XC2018/PreSeasonNatBoys2018.htm (St. Francis & Dublin)
Girls: http://www.tullyrunners.com/XC2018/PreSeasonNatGirls2018.htm (Granada)

Former Wilcox HS thrower named Stanford University Throws coach.

Davis HS pole vaulter Sondre Guttormsen raises his own CA pole vault record.

More than two decades later, a Palo Alto track coach's record remains unbroken (Michael Granville)

USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships.
See note in the comment section.
Also: https://www.pausatf.org/52387-2/

If you have read something that pertains to Northern California TF and XC athletes, please feel free to share it in the comment section below.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Sac-Joaquin Section pre-season individuals rankings (Boys and Girls)

1) Matt Strangio (11) Jesuit
2) Garrett Gough (12) Nevada Union
3) Damian King (12) Bella Vista
4) Jesus Reyes (12) Placer
5) Connor Ryan (12) Placer
6) Colin Ryan (12) Jesuit
7) Godebo Chapman (10) West Campus
8) Ethan Dodge (11) Whitney
9) Bennett Woodward (12) Whitney (formerly Rocklin)
10) Trevor Asbury (12) Rockin

1) Sophia Lodigiani (12) Davis
2) Gabriela Hernandez (12) Vacaville
3) Quinn Hagerman (12) Merced
4) Natalie Harper (10) Cosumnes Oaks
5) Jaxin Woodward (12) Vacaville
6) Mavleen Mann (12) Pitman
7) Madison Denny (10) Armijo
8) Mary Deeik (10) Vintage
9) Abby Fletcher (10) Oak Ridge
10) Madison Kackley (10) Gregori

Monday, July 23, 2018

What would you like to ask Coach Chris Puppione?

I moved this to the top as many of you are not familiar with this series since they were first posted in 2009. While Chris is now retired from coaching, the links below are still full of useful information that could help you or your team during the upcoming season.

You can also see what Malmo posted in the comment box in regards to the long run. Good topic of discussion.

Some of the most popular posts on this blog have been the training articles that were posted during cross country season by former Miramonte Cross Country and Track and Field coach, Chris Puppione (pictured to the left during his coaching stint with UC Davis). What we did in the past was for me to ask the questions to Chris pertaining to topics that you can see linked below. Some of you are familiar with them already but for those of you that are new to the site, they are definitely worth a look.

We would now like to open up this process to the coaches, athletes, parents and fans out there and ask for your input on topics for Chris to tackle next. YOU come up with the topic and from that topic, you ask the questions. Once we have enough choices, Chris and I will choose the best topic and post the answers on the blog.

Use the comment box below to list your topics and questions.

Peaking (Part I) by Chris Puppione...

Peaking (Part II) by Chris Puppione...

Peaking (Part III) by Chris Puppione...

Nutrition (Part I) by Chris Puppione...

Nutrition (Part II) by Chris Puppione...

Threshold (Part I) by Chris Puppione...

LT Training (Part II) by Chris Puppione...

The Long Run (Part I) by Chris Puppione...

The Long Run (Part II) by Chris Puppione...

USF XC & TF coach Helen Lehman-Winters hired by University of Oregon

After 15 years at USF, Helen Lehman-Winters was just hired by the University of Oregon as the associate head coach for cross country and track and field. Lehman-Winters coached at El Cerrito and Carondelet before joining UCLA as a volunteer coach.

You can read more about Lehman-Winters' hire at this LINK.

You can also check out my coaching legend article about Coach Lehman-Winters at this LINK.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Catching up with Los Altos senior, Owen MacKenzie

Today we catch up with Los Altos senior, Owen MacKenzie. This past Track and Field season, MacKenzie won the 3200m at the CCS Championship meet with a new personal best of 9:07.95. You can check out a video of that race below thanks to Kristen Colonna. During the 2017 Cross Country season, MacKenzie was named to the 1st team All-NorCal team as he led his Los Altos team to the state championship with an individual 2nd place finish at the CCS Division I race. He went on to finish in 14th place at the state meet with a time of 15:32.7 after leading at the 2-mile mark. This coming season, MacKenzie will be favored to win the CCS Division I race and will contend for a top finish at state. He will also lead a talented Los Altos team that will be looking to improve their on their team places this past school year.

1) When did you get your start in running? Did you have any running experience before high school? If so, what were your PRs? What other sports have you played aside from XC and TF?
I began running when I was very young because I grew up in New Zealand where all primary school kids have to participate in a school cross country race every year.  I was fairly fast, but I still preferred playing soccer and cricket.  When I was 8 years old I joined my parents running club the Wellington Scottish Harriers, and I ran in a few kids races because I had to go watch my parents race anyway.  At the end of the year, we went to the awards banquet and I was so surprised to receive a medal for being the fastest 8-9 year old in our club.  From that day I knew I wanted to be a runner.  I moved to Los Altos in 6th grade and ran one season with Palo Alto Lightning. My personal bests at age 12 were 5:13 for the 1500m and 11:07 for the 3000m. I then ran with Egan Jr. High and my PR in 8th grade was 5:10 for the 1600m.

2) What do you remember about your freshman seasons in XC and TF? Who were the older runners that you looked up to (whether on Los Altos or other teams) who were mentors to you as a young runner?
I was very small when I was a freshman but I had big goals and I was very determined. I had two amazing mentors on my team, Ben Zaeske, and Andreas Godderis, who were seniors and I really looked up to.  They inspired me, believed in me and were great friends.  I enjoyed playing up my innocence to make them laugh.  I was very excited to run 17:00 on Crystal Springs at SCVAL finals but had to miss CCS because I got sick the morning of the race. I managed to break 5 in the mile, running 4:55 during track season.  I was not the fastest freshman, but I was confident that I was going to get better and be like Ben and Andreas.

3) At what point in your high school career do you feel like you made the biggest jump as far as your running times? What do you feel led to that improvement?
I made equally large jumps between freshman year and sophomore year and between sophomore year and junior year.  Part of the reason was that I increased my summer mileage each year, but it was also because I kept growing.

4) Looking back at last year's cross country season, what do you feel was your best race? Proudest accomplishments? Biggest lessons you learned?
Last cross country season my best race was the CCS Championships at Toro Park.  All I wanted was to go to the State meet with my team.  Los Altos had not been in many years and CCS only had two spots: one which was definitely going to go to the dominant Bellarmine, and the other was a toss-up between us, Homestead, Carlmont, and Paly.  I had never been able to beat the two Palo Alto runners Henry and Sam in the league meets, but I knew that if I could do that at this meet, our team had a great chance.  At the first mile Meika Bedouin-Rousseau started breaking off.  I knew what an amazing runner he was so it would have been easy for me to be complacent, but I forced myself to stick with him and I managed to come second.  I was so happy when I heard the Los Altos team also placed second and we were all going to the State meet.  My proudest accomplishment was being the first to cross the 2-mile mark at the state meet.  I knew that with all the big names in the race, it would be so easy for me to give up and fall out the back.  That is why before the race I made my plan to be up front at 2 miles then hold on.  I got passed by 13 runners in the last mile, but I learned that a runner's mental game and determination is almost as important as their training and talent.

5) Last year, you won the CCS 3200. At what point in the season did you feel like you had a chance to win the race? What was your plan going into the race? When did you feel like you were about to win and how satisfying was it winning a track section title?
At the beginning of track season, my goal was to make it to the state meet.  I did not really think about winning CCS because my goal was just top three and I was much more preoccupied with thinking about all the other races I had to get through first.  The morning of CCS finals was when I really decided I wanted to win even though everyone told me placing top 3 would be hard enough.  I had learned my lesson at Arcadia that it is not smart to try to lead the whole race, and I had been developing a very strong kick that I did not have the year before.  My strategy was to be patient in the pack, but still wary of anyone's attempt to break away.  I had to surge a few times to pull the leader back to the pack, but I never tried to break away myself because I trusted in my kick.  I felt like I was going to win with 200 to go because I felt really strong and fast, but I was not sure at all.  I was so tired after the race, but I had so much adrenaline in me that I couldn't sleep that night.  The next day it sunk in and I was satisfied but even hungrier for more.

6) For the upcoming cross country season, what invitationals are you most looking forward to racing?
I am most looking forward to competing at Stanford and at Clovis because our team should hopefully be able to compete in the Championship race for the first time.  I am also excited to race an invitational at Toro Park because I think that I can break 15:00 and our team should be able to get another school record.

7) What does a typical training week look like for you during the season? Any morning runs? Weight room work? Typical weekly mileage? Longest run distance? Pace of most of your easier runs?
A typical week of training would include a tempo run, hill reps or track intervals and a long run with easy days in between.  Last track season I went to the weight room a few times but it wasn't a regular part of my schedule.  I'm really excited to train harder this season adding in more weights and perhaps a double every Wednesday.  I like to build up lots of miles during the summer and then bring it down during the season.  Last summer I ran 70 miles one week as my max, but brought that down to 60 miles early season and then 50 at the end.  I still kept up a long run of 13-16 miles.  It is very hilly in Los Altos so the pace is slower, but I would say we do most of our easy runs around 7:00-7:30 minute pace per mile.

8) Favorite XC course? Favorite XC invitational? Favorite XC workout? Favorite long run?Favorite TF event? Favorite TF invitational? Favorite TF workout? Favorite free time activity?
My favorite XC course is Toro Park, my favorite Invitational is Clovis, my favorite XC workout is Hill-Tempo Sandwich, my favorite long run is a 16 miler to the top of Black Mountain, my favorite track event is the steeplechase although I haven't ever tried it, my favorite track invitational is CCS top 8, favorite track workout is 10 x 400m and my favorite free time activity is singing and playing guitar with my band the Shark Cops.

9) Tell us a bit about your coaches and how they have helped you get to your current status?
I will have had 4 different head coaches in my 4 years at Los Altos. The only constant coach I have had is my Mom who has been our distance track coach and assistant xc coach for the past two years.  She will be the head xc coach this year.  She is a great coach because she has read so many different opinions about training and she is good at communicating and individualizing the program not just for me but for my teammates too.  She still races xc so knows what we're going through and we get along really well which is also good.  Andrew Zaeske was my coach in my freshman year and still coaches the sprinters during track season so he has continued to be a big supporter of me and gives me great advice on race strategy and weight training.

10) This coming season, three teams will qualify to state from CCS in Division I. Who do you feel will be the biggest team competition for Los Altos? What about individually for you?
Our team wants to win CCS this year but to do that we will have to beat a very strong young Bellarmine team.  I'm a little biased, but I believe that my toughest competition individually might come from two of my teammates Kevin Andrews and Adam Sage.  I am so fortunate to get to train with them and the rest of my team every day.  Two more of my teammates Tomo Yoshino and Daniel Ghasemfar have been logging some fast long runs this summer, so there is no telling who is going to be the fastest Los Altos runner. Colin Peattie of Bellarmine had the best track season out of all of us so I am excited to see what he can do in cross country.  Henry Saul, Ryan Ma, and Justin Hsu will also be tough to beat.

11) Now that college is a bit more on your radar, how much will running in college impact your decision in choosing your college destination?
I am really looking forward to running in college so it is going to be an important part of my decision. I hope to study Engineering and be part of a strong running team.

Thank you very much for your time Owen! AJC

Former Scotts Valley runner Vanessa Fraser runs 15:09.62 5K

Scotts Valley '13 graduate Vanessa Fraser was a 2-time Ca state champion in cross country in Division IV. She also qualified for 3 state championships in the 3200m with 3rd place finishes at those 3 qualifying meets and 4:54.32 and 10:28.63 personal bests. She may have also been overshadowed during her high school career by Nikki Hiltz and Anna Maxwell who all ran in the SCCAL. 

Fraser continued to develop as a runner at Stanford University and was one of their top distance runners the past few seasons. 

She has continued to race well after her NCAA season ended this season and recorded a 4:09.74, 1500m PR on July 14th. Today, Fraser finished in 7th place in the women's 5K with a new PR and Stanford record 15:09.62 at the Nacht van de Atletiek in Heusden, Netherlands. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

"World Record" attempt this Thursday at the Los Gatos All-Comer meet

According to an anonymous poster below, Jeremy Kain ran 4:35.4. A pretty good time for a 13-year-old about to start high school in a month or so.
This Thursday at 6pm, Jeremy Kain (center in photo to the left) of Scotts Valley will be attempting to set another unofficial world record in the mile. Last year as a 12-year-old, Jeremy set a new record with a time of 4:36.80. You can read about his attempt last year as well as watch a video of that race at this LINK. You can also find a link to all the world age group records in that article if you are interested. 

The current record for 13-year-olds is 4:29.0 which was set by Andrew Barnett in 1969. 

This will be the 5th LGAC meet of the season. You can find results of the previous four meets at this LINK.

Also, as posted below, there is another world record holder in Northern Californis, Daniel Skandera. In fact Daniel has broken 34 world records including a 4:53.4 mile as a 10 year old. BAREFOOT! You can read more about Daniel in this LINK.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

2018 NCS Division V pre-season Cross Country rankings (Boys)

With the divisional changes that took place two seasons ago, Division V will still have the majority of the teams under the past cutoff of 500 (only seven 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.

During the 2017 season, SF University proved to not only be the best boys' Division V team in BCL and NCS but in the entire state. At the California state XC meet, University won their first boys' state championship in school history. They had podiumed 7 times before under the tutelage of former coach Jim Tracy with two 2nd place finishes and five 3rd place finishes.

This season, University will be favored to win their 2nd straight section title. University has won 12 section Division V titles and 16 section titles overall. Should they win their 17th section title, that amount would tie them with De La Salle for the most NCS titles in cross country.

University will be led by two strong juniors in Charlie Kennedy (1:56.26/4:24.23) and Clay Mills (4:35.5/9:56.11). They graduated two seniors from last year's top five but have plenty of back up with Ezra Parkhill (4:39.96/9:59.78) and three runners who all ran faster than 4:50 in the 1600m (Nick Pantelick, Colin Cooper, and Chase Leffers).

The next three best teams seem to be very similar and could all be competing for 2nd place. St. Joseph Notre Dame missed making the state meet for the first time since 2008. They return their entire lineup from last year's team and will be led by super talented junior, Zavier Annis (6th at NCS). Annis was also a sprinter during the Track and Field season with 11.29, 22.49 and 20'3.75" personal bests. Quite a combination of endurance and speed.

College Prep has been another strong program in this division and will contend here once again. They will be led by the duo of Jacob Lehmann Duke (4:41.31/9:57.53) and Kabir Bhansali (4:40.43/9:57.66). Lick-Wilmerding finished in 3rd place at the state meet last year but will be in rebuild mode this coming season. They will have one of the top runners in this division with Nick Harris (1:59.89/4:24.34/9:56.60) and always have a lot of depth.

The battle for the 5th and final qualifying spot for the state meet should be a very competitive one considering there were 26 complete teams at last year's section final. One of the teams that will be in contention will be Rincon Valley Christian. They finished in 14th place last year but the entire team returns and they were very impressive during this past Track and Field season. They will also be led by coach Harry Skandera who used to coach Santa Rosa Christian before the school closed it's doors in 2011.

The rest of the contenders will include Marin Academy, Convent & Stuart Hall, and Head-Royce.  All three teams took a bit of a hit with graduating seniors so they will need their younger runners to step it up this coming season. Marin Academy has one of the top runners in Rob Hudson and returns two additional runners from their varsity team last year. Convent & Stuart Hall also returns three runners, finished in 4th place last year and have been in the top 10 the last three years. Head-Royce is another program on the rise which finished in 9th place last year. They return 5 runners from last year's team and could be a factor in November.

The race for the individual title may be not quite as wide open as last year. Andre Williams of Sonoma Academy is the top returner and will be slightly favored to win his first section title over Nick Harris of Lick-Wilmerding. Keeping them honest will be the University duo of Charlie Kennedy and Clay Mills as well as Marin Academy junior Rob Hudson. College Prep's Jacob Lehmann-Duke and Kabir Bhansali both broke 10 minutes for 3200m. on the track and could be in the mix as well. Zavier Annis of St. Joseph Notre Dame could be another dangerous runner considering the speed he displayed during this past track and field season.

Division V Boys (Top 5 Advance to State)
1) University-Defending state champions are the best team returning.
2) St. Joseph ND-They missed making the state meet last year but could finish as high as 2nd.
3) College Prep-Another solid top 3 level team 
4) Lick-Wilmerding-Last title before 2016 was Division III in 1989. Will be aiming for top 3 finish in '18.
5) Rincon Valley Christian-Finished in 14th place last year and will finish much higher this year.
On the bubble: Head RoyceMarin AcademyStuart Hall

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2017 NCS meet time:

Andre Williams (3) Kelseyville 15:51.00
Nick Harris (4) Lick-Wilmerding 15:52.20
Charlie Kennedy (5) SF University 15:53.8
Zavier Annis (6) St. Joseph Notre Dame 15:54.1
Clay Mills (8) SF University 15:56.0

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Northern California state podium teams over past 5 years

2013 (7)
Division I Girls-Davis SJS (2nd)
Division III Girls-Campolindo NCS (1st)
Division IV Boys-Yreka NS (1st)
Division IV Girls-San Lorenzo Valley CCS (1st)
Division V Boys-St. Joseph Notre Dame NCS (1st)
Division V Boys-Marin Academy NCS (2nd)
Division V Girls-Branson NCS (1st)

2014 (7)
Division I Girls-Bella Vista SJS (2nd)
Division I Girls-St. Francis, Sacramento SJS (3rd)
Division III Girls-Campolindo SJS (2nd)
Division IV Boys-King City CCS (2nd)
Division IV Boys-Scotts Valley CCS (3rd)
Division V Boys-St. Joseph Notre Dame NCS (2nd)
Division V Girls-Sonoma Academy NCS (3rd)

2015 (7)
Division I Boys-Jesuit SJS (3rd)
Division I Girls-Davis SJS (2nd)
Division II Girls-Bella Vista SJS (2nd)
Division III Girls-Aptos CCS (1st)
Division IV Girls-Santa Cruz CCS (2nd)
Division V Boys-Marin Academy NCS (2nd)
Division V Girls-St. Joseph Notre Dame NCS (2nd)

2016 (4)
Division I Girls-Davis SJS (2nd)
Division III Boys-Campolindo NCS (3rd)
Division III Girls-Aptos CCS (3rd)
Division V Girls-Nueva CCS (3rd)

2017 (10)
Division II Boys-St. Francis, Mt. View CCS (1st)
Division II Boys-Dublin NCS (2nd)
Division II Girls-Granada NCS (3rd)
Division III Girls-Campolindo NCS (1st)
Division III Girls-Vista del Lago SJS (2nd)
Division IV Boys-Sir Francis Drake NCS (2nd)
Division V Boys-University NCS (1st)
Division V Boys-Lick-Wilmerding NCS (3rd)
Division V Girls-University NCS (2nd)
Division V Girls-Lick-Wilmerding NCS (3rd)

Total Count:
North Coast Section-17
Sac-Joaquin Section-9
Central Coast Section-8
Northern Section-1

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

2018 NCS Division V pre-season Cross Country rankings (Girls)

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 three teams in the top ten led by SF University and Lick-Wilmerding who both placed on the podium with 2nd and 3rd place finishes respectively (St. Joseph Notre Dame finished in 7th place). 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 as well as any other section outside of the Southern Section.

Lick-Wilmerding won last year's section race by the thinnest of margins as they defeated SF University by the 6th man tie-breaker. This was after University defeated L-W 31 to 35 at their league final in their previous race. At the state meet, University finished with 120 for 2nd place while L-W scored 128 for 3rd. Two very evenly matched teams.

This year, L-W will be the slight favorites over their league, section and state rivals, University. They return their entire varsity team and will have the best one/two punch of any teams in this division (Maya Lacamp-2:17.09/5:10.94 and Mira Terdiman-5:18.66/11:46.04). L-W is also one of the largest competitive schools in this division and usually has very competitive JV teams. Considering their top two runners as well as their depth, they will be slight favorites at this point.

Just like last year, the SF University girls will challenge L-W and they could very easily be considered co-favorites. Last season, they just missed winning their first section title since 2012 but they more than made up for that with a second place finish at the state meet. University graduated their top runner Claire Jackson as well as their fourth runner Christina Howard and will be led by Eileen Gu (5:31.98/11:55.88) and Ella Shenkar (5:29.00/11:52.59).

The next best two best teams should be St. Joseph Notre Dame and Marin Academy. SJND won the section titles in 2015 and 2016 and finished in 3rd place last year. They will be led by one of the best runners in the state in this division in senior Emily Perez (2:17.74/4:57.94/10:44.94). They will also return the majority of their varsity from last year. Marin Academy finished in 6th place last year and could potentially move up with a strong returning group as well as a strong freshman class. They will be led by Sierra Cameron (14th at NCS).

The next group of teams that could potentially contend for state qualifying spots will include Branson, Head Royce, Athenian and College Prep. Branson will be led by one of the top runners in the section, Callie Jones (5:07.67/11:16.62). Head Royce qualified to the state meet last year with a 4th place finish and seems to be a program built for the long run. Athenian runners had solid spring seasons and appear to be in contention as well. Athenian and College Prep are two more BCL East teams that will be in the mix as well.

The race for the individual title should be between two runners. Emily Perez is the defending individual section champion and finished 2nd in the state behind 3-time champion Riley Bowen of Sonoma Academy. Now that Healdsburg has dropped down to Division V, senior Gabrielle Peterson will now contend for a section title in a new division. Last year, Peterson won the Division IV section title and had a breakthrough track and field season with 2:18.62, 4:48.91 and 10:34.44 personal bests. Callie Jones of Branson is within reach of the top two runners and may be able to close the gap during the upcoming cross country season.

Division V Girls (Top 6 Advance to State)
1) Lick-Wilmerding-One of the largest and most consistent NCS Division V teams.
2) University-2nd at NCS and state in 2017.
3) St. Joseph ND-Seems to be firmly positioned for a top 4 finish.
4) Marin Academy-Word is a strong freshman class could make this team more formidable.
5) Branson-Very strong top runner who will need help to qualify to state meet.
6) Head-Royce-Another program on the rise looking to qualify for 2nd straight state meet.
On the bubble: AthenianCollege PrepConventUrban

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2017 NCS meet time:

Emily Perez (1) St. Joseph Notre Dame 17:43.20
Callie Jones (4) Branson 18:06.70
Mira Terdiman (9) Lick-Wilmerding 18:46.10
Maya Lacamp (10) Lick-Wilmerding 19:06.50
Eileen Gu (11) San Francisco University 19:20.20

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 comment section below.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

2018 Sentinel Girls Athlete of the Year: Santa Cruz High’s Mari Friedman

2018 Sentinel Girls Athlete of the Year: Santa Cruz High’s Mari Friedman broke several records, won countless awards and is ‘one of the best to ever come out of this area’

You can check out the article at this LINK.

Friday, July 13, 2018

New head XC and TF coach at Gunn HS (CCS)

Now that PattiSue Plumer (right) has moved to the University of Texas, HS 800m record holder Michael Granville (below) has been named the new head coach of both the XC and TF teams at Gunn HS. He was an assistant coach for both programs at Palo Alto HS the past two years. You can check out the Palo Alto Online article detailing the hire HERE.

Some of us were lucky enough to be in the stands when Granville broke the hs record at the 1996 State meet trials. The time of 1:46.45 stands to this day.

You can check out my interview with him from a few years ago at this LINK.

Athlete and coach interviews

As you can see from the links above, I have done a ton of athlete and coach interviews over the years since this blog started in 2006. You can definitely learn a lot about what it takes to be successful both from the athlete and/or coach perspective.

If there are current athletes and coaches that you would like to see me interview this summer, please let me know. I will reach out to them and get as many posted as possible. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ask the Coach

I am moving up the ever popular "Ask the Coach" to the top of this page. If you have any questions in regards to your past season, summer training, Cross Country season or anything that you want answered, please add your question below in the comment section.

Coming up shortly will be the rest of the NCS pre-season rankings. If there is something else you would like to see on this site, please add it to the comment section below.

Monday, July 09, 2018

NCS Division III pre-season rankings (boys)

Thanks to Campolindo assistant coach, Andy Lindquist.

NCS DIII Boy’s Rankings:
Overview: Last season Maria Carrillo relied on an impressive amount of depth as they halted Campolindo’s 4-year winning streak at the NCS meet. While a rebuilding Campo squad came within 10 points, they turned the tables the following week as they finished in 5th place at the state meet while Maria Carrillo finished back in 10th place. The pumas are loaded this year, with one of the best sophomore classes now coming back as juniors looking to do some damage. Campolindo is the next challenger for the section crown while deep teams from Redwood and Las Lomas could also challenge if the pieces come together. Maria Carrillo seeks to be the first non-Campolindo team to repeat as section titlists since Petaluma in 2009/2010. 
1. Maria Carrillo: 
The Pumas are looking to be even better this season as they bring back a team loaded with talent. Colton Swinth, Pierce Kapustka, and Rory Smail all ran under 4:30 in the 1600 as sophomores, giving Maria Carrillo nasty upside at the front. And don’t forget about senior Harrison Frankl, who “only” managed to run personal bests of 4:31 in the 1600 and 9:39 in the 3200 during the spring. The challenge for the Pumas will be finding the depth at the back end as there is a big drop off after those 4. Owen Pugh (10:18 3200) and Jack Pickle (10:22 3200) look to be the next in line and so long as they can work on closing down the gap on the front 4, Maria Carrillo looks poised for another title and a run at the podium at state. Coupled with a rising girls squad, Maria Carrillo will attempt to be the first non-Campolindo team to sweep the team titles in this division since Granada in 1999. 
2. Campolindo:
The Cougars continued to improve last season, turning what was supposed to be a one-sided affair into a close nailbiter as they fell just short of knocking off Maria Carrillo at the NCS championships. The next week Campo surprised everyone with a 5th place finish. The core of that team returns but the challenge is not any easier this year. Teddy Buckley had another solid track season while Dylan Gunn finished the season with a flurry in running 9:41 in the 3200, the 4th best freshman time in the state. Ultra-talented junior Owen Hunger also broke the 10:00 barrier in the 3200 and will look to be a big-time factor for the Cougars. As usual, depth is this team’s strength, with the likes of Cameron Iniguez-Reyes (10:06), Cayden Hein (10:13), Dylan Cronin (10:16), and Charlie Woidat (10:17) all posted solid times in the 3200. Throw in solid contributors in Pablo Nyguen and Max Essl, who both broke 4:45 in the 1600 and you have the makings of a super-deep squad that will challenge for the title. The biggest concern for the Cougars now is working on what appears to be a substantial gap at the 3rd and 4th scoring positions, as Maria Carrillo will have so many strong frontrunners. As it stands now, Campo is in a great position to challenge for the title, but it won't be easy. 
3. Redwood:
When your top runner scores 1 point in every single race, it makes it that much easier to post a low team score and be competitive at any meet. Such is the case this year for Redwood as they return defending state champion Liam Anderson. This team is more than just one guy though as Redwood had one of the best freshmen in the state last year in Hudson Grace, who rocked to a 4:28 in the 1600 during the spring and could be one of the most improved runners in the entire state this fall. Austin Patel also had a breakthrough during the spring, clocking a 4:33 in the 1600, giving the Giants plenty of power up front. However, it was the rapid improvement of Redwood’s back end at the end of the track season that gives them scary upside to move up these rankings. Timothy Walters (10:17) and Sahil Kapila (10:22) notched massive career bests in the 3200 and if they continue to improve, watch out. While there is a big drop off after those 5, with such a great frontrunner in Anderson, the Giants have a big advantage on the rest of these teams. As it stands now, Redwood is a dark horse pick to pull the upset. 
4. Las Lomas:
The Knights return their entire scoring five from last season’s surprising 3rd place team so you may be wondering how they are now ranked 4th? Well, the three teams ranked ahead of them are just really good, so it will take some more improvement on the part of the knights if they want to move up these rankings. Preston Norris and Parker Wilkerson shined during the track season, but it was the steady improvement of the likes of Charlie Kisylia and Cooper Wise during the spring that gives Las Lomas great upside. If this group can continue to come together and work hard, they could also move up these rankings, a tough task considering the depth in this division. 
Individual rankings: 
1. Liam Anderson – Redwood: This is a no-brainer here, Anderson will be among the best runners in the country this coming fall as he is the defending state champion and the top returner from NXN
2. Preston Norris – Las Lomas: Had a stunning breakthrough during the track season and will look to keep that momentum going. 
3. Teddy Buckley – Campolindo: A steady performer who finished 2nd last year and will look to take another step forward this fall. 
4. Colton Swinth – Maria Carrillo: A big talent who really came into his own during the spring, rolling to a 4:22 in the 1600 and making the NCS final in that event. Part of one of the most talented sophomore classes in the state
5. Pierce Kapustka – Maria Carrillo: Came out of nowhere this spring to rip a 4:22 in the 1600 and give the Pumas a deadly 1-2. Should be much improved over last cross-country season.
6. Lucas Chung – Windsor: Dropped his 1600 down to 4:20 during track and could be a big mover up these rankings by the season’s end. 
7. Dylan Gunn – Campolindo: Posted one of the top freshmen 3200 times in the state during the spring and should continue that upward trajectory this fall. Looks to be one of the top sophomores in the entire state. 

Monday, July 02, 2018

2018 NCS Division III pre-season rankings (girls)

By Campolindo assistant coach, Andy Lindquist:

NCS DIII Girls Rankings: 
Overview: Last year Campolindo finished another season as the section champions, rolling to a big victory at the NCS championships and then claiming another state title the following week in Fresno. This year will be a challenge for the Cougars if they want to keep their NCS title streak going as Maria Carrillo returns the majority of their runner-up team from a year ago. 
1. Maria Carrillo: 
The Pumas are primed for a big season as they return the core of their 2nd place team from a year ago. Aimee Armstrong had a productive track season running 5:00 in the 1600 and backing her up are Nicole Morris (5:19) and Jasmin Hirth (5:20) also excelling in the 1600 during the spring. Meghan Field looks to be the next scorer for Maria Carrillo as she enjoyed a big breakthrough, breaking 12:00 in the 3200. Maria Carrillo routinely fields one of the deepest teams at the F/S and JV levels so finding depth to round out their scorers should not be an issue. For now, the pumas are the heavy favorite as they look to capture their first section title in DIII since 2009.   
2. Campolindo:
“Campo” has been the class of this division ever since moving into DIII in 2000, as the program has amassed a staggering 12 section titles and 3 state titles in that timespan. The Cougars will have their work cut out for them this season as they only return 3 varsity runners from last year’s team. Alicia Hober, Paloma Hancock, and Ellie Guthrie all continued their improvement curve during the track season, with Hober notching the best mark out of the 3 with her 5:10 clocking in the 1600. After that there are some concerns as DAL JV champion Bianca Chao was injured during the spring and regular varsity contributor Chole Guthrie did not run track. Seeing as the two of them both have personal bests around 20:00 at Woodward park, they could be huge factors in helping the Cougars close the gap on Maria Carrillo. As it stands now Campolindo is just a few steps behind Maria Carrillo.  
3. Las Lomas:
The Knights were the big surprise of last season, putting everything together to surprise the field at the NCS championships and land a qualifying spot to state. This year look for more of the same as Las Lomas returns a sizeable contingent of athletes. Veronica Towle and Erica Dungo were both solid during the track season and with one of the largest teams in the section, Las Lomas should have no trouble once again putting together a deep team.  
4. Alameda: 
The Hornets return their entire top 6 so they could easily move up these rankings and surprise by the end of the season. Alameda has one of the best frontrunners in the section in Lauren Lum, who rocked to a 10:49 performance in the 3200 this past track season and will look to challenge for the individual title. The key for Alameda will be to close down the back end of their scoring pack and get their #4 and #5 runners to close the gap on Lum. As it stands now Alameda is primed for another state meet berth and could be one of the big surprises if they can put all the pieces together at the end of the year.   

Individual rankings:
1. Rayna Stanziano – Concord: One of the most talented athletes in the entire state, Stanziano just missed making the individual podium last cross-country season and looks to change that this fall. While she focused on shorter distances during the tail end of the track season, she still rocked to a 4:55 clocking in the 1600. 
2. Lauren Lum – Alameda: A steady and consistent performer, Lum posted some solid times during the spring by running 5:04 in the 1600 and 10:49 in the 3200. While Stanziano is the favorite at this point, Lum is the darkhorse pick to pull the upset.
3. Aimee Armstrong – Maria Carrillo: With an impressive finish to the track season which saw her run 5:00 in the 1600, Armstrong will look to improve upon her 8th place finish from a year ago and help her team capture the section title. 
4. Alicia Hober – Campolindo: Looks to be the next frontrunner of a rebuilding Campo squad. She was one of the biggest improvers during the spring, clocking 5:10 in the 1600. 
5. Veronica Valenton – Livermore: Notched a big series of improvements during the spring, including running 5:08 in the 1600. Could move up these rankings and bust into the top 3. 
6. Nicole Morris – Maria Carrillo: One of the best freshman in the section last year, Morris continued that upward momentum during the spring running 5:19 for 1600 and 11:27 for 3200. 
7. Paloma Hancock – Campolindo: Courting a sub 19:00 personal best for 5K, and a personal best in the 1600 of 5:18, has the potential to move up these rankings. 

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