Thursday, July 27, 2023

Pre-Season NCS DIII Boys' Rankings by Campolindo assistant coach, Andy Lindquist

Overview: As has been the case since NCS cross country resumed in 2021, Campolindo rolled to a decisive victory at the 2022 NCS championships with a 1-2-3 finish, following that up with yet another podium finish at the state championships the following week. While the Cougars lose their top 3 to graduation, “Campo” seems primed to keep their 3-year winning streak alive this cross country season.

1. Campolindo: The Cougars have dominated this division like few other teams in NCS history, having won 10 team championships in the past 15 seasons, including the previous two in 2021 and 2022. Look for more of the same this year as Campo returns 4 varsity members from last year’s squad. Senior Alex Thomasson had a breakthrough spring season, running 9:33 in the 3200 and 4:25 in the 1600 to make himself the favorite to snag the individual title. The remaining Campo squad all had productive track seasons with 6 other boys all breaking 10:20 in the 3200. Baron Walsh, Paulo Trento, and Maxson Cook have both flashed big potential for Campo in the past, and they will need to do so yet again this season to continue the championship streak. With a mix of depth and front-running prowess, the Cougars will be tough to beat at the section level.

2. Maria Carrillo: The Pumas have been a mainstay of this division for many years, and this season will be more of the same as they return 4 varsity runners from last season along with a talented group of sophomores looking to make the big jump to varsity level performances. Junior Jack Wilson appears to be the team’s frontrunner after a track season that saw him run 4:26 in the 1600 and 9:46 in the 3200. Backing him up are a talented trio of sophomores in Trenton Dawson, Kevin Trenam, and Austin Petrik, who all broke 10:20 in the 3200 during the spring which points to great potential this fall if they can continue to improve. It would take a lot for the Pumas to catch Campolindo, but considering their storied tradition and their young upside, they could close the gap and become one of the most improved teams in the state by season’s end.

3. Northgate: The Broncos return their entire varsity team from a year ago as they look to make it back to the state meet. Nicholas Knisley and Robert Benard will give Northgate a great 1-2 punch up front to keep them in the race, but it will take a continued improvement from their back end scorers to punch their ticket to Clovis at season’s end. Sammy Wafadar, Gavin Chang, and Francis Chmielewski all broke the 5:00 barrier in the 1600 this past spring, which is a good sign heading into a tough fall season. Northgate competes in the same league as Campolindo, so they will have plenty of chances to measure themselves against the section’s best.

4. Las Lomas: The Knights surprised last fall by making it to state in this division, and they seem capable of finishing in the top 4 yet again this season. During the track season, junior Nate Griffen-Yeh had a breakout campaign in rolling to a 4:25 performance in the 1600, squarely putting him in contention for the individual NCS title this fall. Having a low-scoring #1 helps a lot, especially in this division. While Las Lomas had 3 other boys break 5:00 in the 1600 during the track season, there was a big drop off after that. Filling out their depth at the #5-7 positions will be critical if Las Lomas wants to finish in the top 4 again and make it back to state.

5. Newark Memorial: The Cougars went from never having made it to the state meet to making it in back-to-back seasons (2021-2022), but this year the task becomes more challenging. Newark Memorial did not have any eye-popping results this spring, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however they will have to put in some significant work this fall if they are to challenge for a top 4 finish. It starts with senior Sid Patel, who has been an important piece of the previous two varsity teams. Behind him are a talent-laden group of sophomores led by Kenji Kawabata, who will need to continue to develop if the Cougars are going to move up these rankings by season’s end.

NCS DIII Boys’ Preseason Individual Rankings
Overview: With the top 4 finishers from last year’s NCS championship all graduating, and top returner Niall Monteleone of El Cerrito moving to division 2, the race for the individual title is more wide open than it has been in many years.

1. Alex Thomasson - Campolindo
2. Nate Griffin-Yeh - Las Lomas
3. Jack Wilson - Maria Carrillo
4. Nicholas Knisley - Northgate
5. Baron Walsh - Campolindo
6. Grant Sanderson - Maria Carrillo
7. Max Azevedo - Montgomery

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