Tuesday, October 02, 2018

North Coast Section Division IV update thanks to Piedmont assistant coach, Len Goldman

D4 - Girls
At this early juncture of the season, there is no heavy favorite on the girls' side as there is on the boys' side.  For the defending D-4 champion Piedmont, some of their top runners have been sidelined by injuries and only now have started to race and are still rounding into competitive shape.  At the Stanford Invite, most of the top female NCS D4 teams competed with the exception of Miramonte.

Although there are still limited results and some of their top runners have not run in every meet, Miramonte has posted some impressive results.  They are being spearheaded by a dynamic trio of 3 freshman runners who have gotten out of the starting gate very quickly, Jaime Say, Claire Nolet, and Kate Riley.  Providing veteran leadership for this group is Cassidy Haskell, a senior and a past NCS D4 champion and sophomore Audrey Allen who has the 3rd fastest 5K time thus far in D4, 18:42.  Based on results to date, this team is the early front-runner for the top seed.  One potential area of concern is depth among the varsity seven runners, but that is true of the other teams also.

Going into the season, O'Dowd, had two quality runners up front, Jeneva Toolajia and Isabella Brusco.  Both runners have 5K times that place them in the top 10 for the NCS-D4.  The question was who would be their supporting cast.  So far reviews are good as a freshman, Lillian Yu has been a solid #3, and their #4 and #5 runners have been good enough to place them in 2nd place in the rankings. However, in order to hold this place throughout the season, the back-end of their scoring team will have to continue to improve and race well.

Marin Catholic has been the early-season surprise team and their success has been due in part to the runner with the best time to date in the 5K for NCS D4 teams, Samantha Wallerstrom in 18:40.  She has a competent group of runners supporting her, all of whom are very closely matched time wise and if they continue to develop, could help secure a state meet place come to the NCS meet.

The two teams on the bubble, Piedmont and Arcata could possibly move up as the season progresses but at this point are chasing the teams ahead of them and have some catching up to do.  For Piedmont, it's a matter of getting several of their runners healthy and in competitive racing shape and keeping them there.  Stanford was the first meet this season where they had all their top runners racing.  Arcata has two very solid runners at the front-end of their squad, but after that there is a pretty big drop off.  If they can narrow the gap with their 3 through 5 runners, they could contend for one of the three state berth slots.

Projected Top Teams:  Miramonte, O'Dowd, Marin Catholic  
On the bubble: Piedmont, Arcata

Top Individuals:  Samantha Wallerstrom-Marin Catholic, Audrey Allen and Cassidy Haskell-Miramonte, Riley Martel-Phillips-Arcata
On the bubble:  Thea Norlund-Arcata, Jeneva Toolajian-O'Dowd

D4 - Boys
Even at this early stage, the overwhelming top team remains Sir Francis Drake, the 2017 NCS titleist and one of the favorites for the state D4 title this year.  
At the recent Woodbridge Classic, their top 5 runners Cooper Mccarthy, Nicco Pompili, Owen Wolford, Amir Barkan and Oliver Arnesson had a team time for the 3-mile course of 1:16:42 or an average of 15:20 per runner.  For comparison purposes, their winning time at last year's NCS meet was 1:19.00, granted the Woodbridge Course is a real speedway, still, it shows what kind of talent this team has.  This past weekend at the Stanford Meet they opted to run in the more competitive seeded section rather than the D4 race, and their team time was 1:21:42, an average of 16:20 per runner.  The winning time for the D4 boys race was, 1:23:07 by Scotts Valley so they could have easily won this race had they chosen to run in it.

Who the other contending NCS teams for a state berth might be is a bit more problematic at this early phase of the season, with just a few meets in the record books.  Marin CatholicPiner, Albany, Moreau Catholic, and O'Dowd have all posted respectable times.  However, all these teams are still a work in progress as they develop their team chemistry and talent.  It may be a few more weeks before things become a bit more defined. 

At this point, however, it appears that Marin Catholic would have the edge for the #2 ranking but they need to develop their 2 through 5 runners on the team to be a more serious contender.  They do currently have the runner with the top 5K time in D4, 15:45 for Lyle Rumon. After him, there is a pretty big time differential to their #2 runner, about a minute and a half.  The good news is that all their runners at the 2 through 5 positions have a 5K time under 18 minutes.   

In a close call for the #3 ranking is Piner.  There is not that big a separation between Piner and the other teams who are in the hunt for a state berth, the biggest difference being their top 5 runners are closely packed, just a 35-second difference between their #1 and #5 runners.  However while closely bunched, they lack a #1 runner who is in the very top echelon of the NCS D4 boys and this could perhaps be a deciding factor at the NCS meet when placings in the top ten are critical.  If Nathan Hayes can move to the front of their squad like he did last year, this would certainly help their chances.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention briefly the other teams on the bubble, any of them could move up when the next rankings are announced.  Moreau Catholic has very few races on their record so far, but they could definitely challenge for a state berth.  They have two runners near the top for the 5K, Michael Vickers, 16:57 and Cole Pineda, 17:02.  Plus the spread from their #1 to #5 runner is just 43.4 seconds.
Both O'Dowd and Albany are very closely matched.  They both have a top front-runner, Tommy Murphy for O'Dowd with a 16:23 5K time, and Calder Abbott for Albany with a 16:44.  It's at the #4 and 5 positions where both squads need to improve if they are to contend at the NCS meet.

Projected Top Teams:  Sir Francis Drake, Marin Catholic,  Piner
On the bubble: Moreau Catholic, Bishop O'Dowd and Albany

Top Individuals:  Lyle Rumon-Marin Catholic, Cooper McCarthy, Amir Barkan, and Nicco Pompili all from Sir Francis Drake
On the bubble:  Henry Denberg-San Rafael, Tommy Murphy-O'Dowd and Owen Wolford-Sir Francis Drake

No comments:

Popular Posts