Sunday, July 30, 2023

2023 Pre-Season North Coast Section (NCS) Division I Boys & Girls' Cross Country Rankings

Here are the pre-season rankings for NCS Division I. The division breakdowns for all NCS teams can be found at this LINK. The number of teams that qualify for the state meet in each section and division can be found at this LINK.

Division I Boys
 (Top 2 Advance to state)
1) Dougherty Valley-4 juniors return from last year's 2nd place team.
2) Dublin-Section champions 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021. Rare miss in 2022 and will be back in 2023.
3) California-Return 5 out of the top 7 from last year when they finished in 3rd place.
4) Berkeley-The top individual returner from last year's meet returns to help defend team championship.
5) Castro Valley-5th place finish last year. Lucus Chang will lead the way in 2023.
On the bubble (alphabetical order): James Logan, San Leandro

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2022 NCS meet time:
Olaf Dietz (2) Berkeley 14:59.9
Rishi Murumkar (7) James Logan 15:50.0
Eshaan Hussain (8) California 15:58.1
Lucus Change (11) Castro Valley 16:12.1
Noor TozulAhmad (12) Dougherty Valley 16:15.8

Division I Girls (Top 2 Advance to state)
1) Dougherty Valley-Defending champs and will return the majority of their 2022 championship team.
2) Berkeley-2nd place finishers in 2022 and will also return the majority of their team.
3) Dublin-One of the top programs in Division I. They will be super motivated to return to the state meet.
4) Castro Valley-Will return 5 out of the top 7 from last year's 3rd place team.
5) California-5th place team last year and will need a collective improvement to move up in 2023.

Top 5 returning individuals, (place) and 2022 NCS meet time:
Sabrina Noriega (1) Dougherty Valley 17:56.7
Liana Lee (2) Dougherty Valley 18:05.6
Carina Nottingham (4) Berkeley 19:01.7
Melia Prenton (5) Dublin 19:07.5
Magnolia Hougan (6) Berkeley 19:09.4

Please feel free to chime in on the rankings above. I won't be offended if you strongly disagree as the above rankings are meant to be a launching pad for conversation. Fortunately, section titles and state meet berths are decided by the runners themselves. Any impact freshmen that we should know about?

Saturday, July 29, 2023

2023 Pre-Season North Coast Section (NCS) Division II Boy's Cross Country Rankings

Here are the pre-season rankings in NCS Division II thanks to Monte Vista coach Patrick Wales-Dinan. The division breakdowns for all NCS teams can be found at this LINK. The number of teams that qualify for the state meet in each section and division can be found at this LINK.

Granada should once again be the favorite to take the team title at the NCS Division 2 championships. Despite graduating 5 of their top 7 for the 2022 NCS Championships, the Matadors return a host of talented runners. Eshaan Singh and Erik Bromley should lead the way. Singh is 6th returner from the section while Bromley is the 12th. The Matadors also have 800m star Aleksander Schade who ran 4:26.99 for 1600m in the spring; as well as Adrian Cuevas Gomez, Rahul Prasanna, and  George Mikhael who all boasted strong spring seasons. Despite graduating possibly the best class in program history the Matadors can't be taken lightly as they have consistently shown the ability to develop deep and talented rosters year in and year out.

Amador Valley came on very strong at the conclusion of 2022 and was just short of grabbing the 4th and final spot to the CIF State Championships. They return almost everyone from their 2022 squad. They will be led by talented junior Arran Gill Gulati. He is the 9th returner from the region and should be leading the way for the Dons this fall. Prithvij Rajesh, Aiden Versteeg, Jacob Camacho, and Zevyn Nickel should also provide great depth for Coach Oswalt's squad. Amador will have one of the deepest teams in the section and should have the ability to withstand an injury or two. Gill Gulati should not be overlooked as a contender for the individual title as well. Despite only being the 9th returner, he had a breakout spring running 4:25 and 9:30 for 1600m ad 3200m respectively.

Redwood High School should still be in the mix despite losing 3 of their top 7 including section champ and 8:54 3200m runner Daegan Cutter and #2 man Blake Martin. Senior Ethan Warner will lead a very talented group of runners including sophomore stud Gabriel Cavanagh who ran 4:32 as a freshman. Jax Sandrich, Calvin Tudor, and Jonah Momsen will provide depth and versatility for the Giants who are quickly becoming one of the NCS's strongest and most consistent squads. Don't be surprised to see sophomore Gunnar Niemi make big improvements this fall as he looked like a future star last fall. 

Clayton Valley should also not be overlooked as a contender for a podium finish at the NCS Championships in November. The Eagles surprised a lot of people when they took 3rd last year but showed it was no fluke this spring by having the top 4x800m team in the section. They ran 7:46.21 at the Mt Sac Relays and then backed up that performance with a 7:49 at the CIF state Championships where they finished 7th. Daniel Messer and Daniel Martinez will lead the Eagles who return 4 of their top 7 runners from last year's team. Messer ran 4:19 in the spring and is the #3 returned from last year's NCS meet at Hayward. Martinez ran 4:29 and is the #4 returner. 

College Park will have everyone's attention this fall. The Falcons have a slew of young talent led by Jack Rattery. Jack was one of the top sophomores in the section last year coming back as the #2 returner from 2022. He also ran 4:25 and 9:38 this spring. Jake Vensko ran 4:42 as a freshman and should look to take a big leap this fall. Vensko, junior Blake Leung, and sophomore Noah Tungpalan should run strong behind Rattery. Depending on how these guys develop this spring the Falcons could sneak onto the podium this November led by a very low stick in the form of Rattery. 

Team to Watch: San Ramon Valley

  1. Trey Caldwell III - De La Salle
    • Caldwell III is the overwhelming favorite to win the Division 2 crown. In fact, he is the top returner in the whole section regardless of division. Trey ran 14:59 on the Hayward course last fall and followed that up with a 9th-place performance at the CIF state championships. A week later he qualified for the Champs Sports (formerly Footlocker) National Cross Country Championships when he placed in the top 10 at the West Regional at Mt. Sac. Caldwell III ran 9:14 for 3200m this spring and was the runner-up at the NCS Tri-Valley 3200m Championships.
  2. Jack Rattery - College Park
    • As discussed above Rattery is the #2 returner from 2022 and had a breakout sophomore season. If anyone can challenge Caldwell III for the individual title it could be him. Rattery matched Caldwell III's best in the 1600m this spring and had been training at a high level this summer after spending some time at altitude in Mammoth Lakes.
  3. Daniel Messer - Clayton Valley
    • He is the second fastest returner over 1600m behind Granada's Eshaan Singh. Messer ran 4:19 and 9:37 this spring and is the # returner from last year's NCS Cross Country Championships. Messer will be looking to lead his team to their second consecutive CIF birth and that should provide extra motivation for the talented senior. 
  4. Eshaan Singh - Granada
    1. Singh boasts the fastest 1600m time of any returner and he also ran 9:25 for 3200m at last year's Dublin Distance Fiesta and ran 9:20 his sophomore year at Arcadia. Singh will be looking to take the reins of a team that was led by Roland Ruckmann-Barnes and Dheeraj Gurusamy for the past two years. Singh has a wealth of experience including running at the Nike Cross National Championships last fall. 
  5. Ethan Werner - Redwood
    • Werner looks to step in where Daegan Cutter left off and lead the talented Giants' team back to the CIF Championships again. Werner had an awesome spring running 4:22 for 1600m and followed that up with a big PR at the NCS Meet of Champions in the 3200m There he ran 9:23.62 which should put him behind only Caldwell III and Singh in that event. 
Honorable Mention: Daniel Martinez (Clayton Valley), Elias Badillo-Benard (Foothill), Owen Brandeis (Monte Vista), Arran Gill Gulati (Amador Valley), Erik Bromley (Granada)

Please feel free to chime in on the rankings above. Section titles and state meet berths are decided by the runners themselves in November but always fun to project now before the season starts. Any impact freshmen that we should know about?

Friday, July 28, 2023

2023 Pre-Season North Coast Section (NCS) Division II Girls' Cross Country Rankings

Here are the pre-season rankings in NCS Division II thanks to Monte Vista coach Patrick Wales-Dinan. The division breakdowns for all NCS teams can be found at this LINK. The number of teams that qualify for the state meet in each section and division can be found at this LINK.

Monte Vista comes into the season as the favorite on the girl's side. The Mustangs won their first NCS title since 2016 and their first in Division 2 this century. They return all 7 runners who competed at last year's championships and return 4 of the top 5 runners from 2022. They are led by junior Alexandra Powell who finished 3rd overall last year. Powell ran 11:12 for 3200m this spring. Peyton Dolan should add more firepower up front for Monte Vista. The senior had a breakout season on the track running 5:03 for 1600m and 2:14 for the 800m. She was the EBAL Champ in the 1600m. Allie Turns and Maraki Amare both were top 10 finishers at the NCS Championships a year ago and should be top 5 runners for the Mustangs again this fall. Sofia Fernandez should add depth as the rising junior had a strong track season running 5:19 for the 1600m and 2:21 for 800m

Granada has been a perennial powerhouse in the NCS for the past decade. The Matadors had won 6 straight Division 2 titles prior to last year and will be a major contender for the title again this fall. They will be led by individual favorite Abby Stein. Stein burst onto the scene this track season after not being a top 5 runner for Granada last season. She set huge PRs of 5:04 for 1600m and made the CIF state championships in the 3200m with a PR of 10:45 at MOC. Jana Baron and Kerrigan Sauder will both be huge assets for Granada. Baron was the 2021 NCS Cross Country Champion and could be a dark horse for the title this fall. She battled through injury in the spring but hopes to be lining up healthy this fall. Sauder is Granada's top returner. She was 6th last year at NCS and is the #2 returner this fall.

San Ramon Valley surprised a lot of people last fall with some great late-season performances. The Wolves ran a strong race to take the third and final qualifying spot to state. They are led by senior Grace Roesgen and Junior Alyssa Salven but could get some breakout performances from some sophomores this fall. Margot Schultz was the top freshman at NCS last year and is the 9th overall returner while Alexandra Smith had a superb spring running a 5:14 1600m. Avery Knapp and Hailey Gunderson will add support to this strong group up front. 

Amador Valley has a nice core returning led by sophomore Kacie Wong who made it to the NCS meet of champions in the 3200m, and ran a huge PR of 11:23. She and Tessa Jennings should be leading the way for the Dons who have a nice young core that is looking to develop. 

Honorable Mention (added by editor): 
Redwood: Finished 2nd in 2022 and lost tie-breaker for 2nd in 2021. Return 3 from 2022 team.
  1. Abby Stein - Granada
    • Stein was the Division 2 breakout performer in track this spring. The rising junior separated herself from the rest of the competition in Division 2 with some incredible races on the track. As discussed above, she was an individual qualifier for the CIF State Championships in the 3200m running 10:45 at the NCS MOC. She also set huge PRs of 5:04 in the 1600m and 2:26 in the 800m.
  2. Alexandra Powell - Monte Vista
    • Powell is the top returner from the 2022 championships. She ran 18:05 on the Hayward course last spring which is 35 seconds faster than the next best returner. She backed up her strong cross country season with a track season that saw her set PRs at 1600m (5:14) and 3200m (11:12). She was EBAL runner-up in the 3200m and was 4th in the NCS Tri-Valley 3200m. She then showed some wheels on the track running 2:22 in the 4x800m relay at the CIF State Championships for the Mustangs
  3. Peyton Dolan - Monte Vista
    • Dolan is the #3 returner from the 2022 NCS Championships. She was the Mustangs' top runner at the CIF Cross Country championships and she was fantastic on the track all spring. She was EBAL Champ in the 1600m and runner-up in the 800m. She then finished 3rd at the NCS Tri-Valley champs running 5:03 behind the strong duo of Buckley and Volkmer from Campolindo. She also anchored the Mustangs 4x800m relay at the State Championships with a PR of 2:14. 
  4. Jana Baron - Granada
    • Despite only being the 14th returner from the 2022 NCS Cross Country Championships, Baron has loads of ability and experience and should not be overlooked in 2023. As told above, Baron was the 2021 NCS Cross Country Champion running under 18:00 on the Hayward course. Baron came back from injury that year as well and there is no reason to believe that she won't be a contender this fall. If the Matadors are going to reclaim their title in November, look to Baron to be a major contributor. 
  5. Kacie Wong - Amador Valley
    • Wong will lead the Dons this fall in hopes of helping her squad qualify for the CIF State Championships. Along the way, she will be one of the ladies battling it out for the section title. Wong ran 11:23 for 3200m this spring, the 3rd fastest returner behind Stein and Powell. 
Honorable Mention: Erin Stolte (Redwood), Allie Turns (Monte Vista), Kerrigan Sauder (Granada), Marley Nacco (Redwood), Alexandra Smith (San Ramon Valley), Kylie Wisely (Heritage - Brentwood)

Please feel free to chime in on the rankings above. Section titles and state meet berths are decided by the runners themselves in November but always fun to project now before the season starts. Any impact freshmen that we should know about? Boys' Division II rankings will be posted tomorrow.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Monte Vista Mustang Summer Camp Run

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

We will begin our pre-season cross country rankings with the NCS Division III girls. Thanks to Campolindo assistant coach, Andy Lindquist, we all get an early look at this division. Feel free to comment below on any athletes and teams that deserve to be mentioned as well. 

NCS DIII Girls’ Preseason Individual Rankings

Overview: Barring an injury or illness, Hanne Thomsen is your overwhelming favorite to win her 3rd straight NCS title as well as win her 3rd straight state title. Thomsen should be one of the best runners in the country this fall, but the rest of this division is no joke either. Her Montgomery teammates Seelah Kittlestrom and Amrie Lacefield along with Campolindo’s Shea Volkmer are all all-NCS and all-state contenders.  

1. Hanne Thomsen - Montgomery
2. Shea Volkmer - Campolindo
3. Seelah Kittlestrom - Montgomery
4. Amrie Lacefield - Montgomery
5. Gracie Trenam - Maria Carrillo
6. Kate Kabenina - Campolindo
7. Rachel Moen - Campolindo

NCS DIII Preseason Girls’ Team Rankings
Overview: Last year, Campolindo had the most impressive XC season in NCS history in rolling to section and state championships to qualify for Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) for the first time in school history where the Cougars ultimately finished 13th in the country. With the bulk of their team returning this fall, Campolindo projects to be just as good as last year. However, Montgomery has made huge strides as well, especially in the front-scoring positions.

1. Campolindo: It would take many paragraphs to list out all of the accolades for this program but a few stand out and are worth mentioning. First, the Cougars are the 3-time defending state champions in DIII, and the 9-time defending NCS DIII champions. Second, “Campo” only loses 2 of their top 7 from last year’s team, making it a daunting task for any team in the state, let alone the section from contending with them. Senior Shea Volkmer leads the way and appears primed for her best season yet after a solid track season where she ran 10:42 in the 3200 and 5:00 in the 1600. Senior Kate Kabenina was one of the breakout stars of last season’s NXN campaign and she continued to progress during the spring running 11:19 in the 3200. Campolindo did struggle with some injury issues during the spring, but assuming they get healthy, Rachel Moen and Sloan Pullen will be big contributors to the varsity team just like last season. Simply put, the Cougars are the class of the section and the state, and that won’t be changing any time soon.

2. Montgomery: While Campolindo got many accolades over the last year, the Vikings have quietly turned into one of the most surprising teams in the section and the state. Last fall, they closed out the season with a 2nd place finish at NCS and a 6th place at state, their highest finish in many years. With 2-time state champion Hanne Thomsen returning, Montgomery will effectively only be scoring 4 runners in every meet, which makes the task of closing down the gap on Campolindo a little less arduous. Moreover, Seelah Kittlestrom and Amrie Lacefield had massive track seasons, giving Montgomery one of the best 1-2-3’s in the entire state. Through 3 runners, they actually project to be ahead of Campolindo. However, there is a pretty massive drop after that as the Vikings did not have another returner break 6:00 in the 1600 during the track season. While they will still make it to state just based on their front 3, having such a large gap will really drive up the score in bigger meets. Any impact freshmen or transfers could change this in a flash though, so for now Montgomery is still one of the stronger teams in the NCS, but without a stronger 4/5, the Vikings are still far behind Campolindo and the rest of the elite teams in California.

3. Maria Carrillo: The Pumas are one of the most consistent teams in the NCS and 2023 will be more of the same as they return a solid core of runners. Gracie Trenam will lead the charge and will be in contention for a medal position at the NCS championships. Backing her up Maria Carrillo has 5 other returners that broke 5:50 in the 1600 and they always seem to get an impact freshman or two as well. With the huge gap Montgomery has at the back-end scoring positions, a team like Maria Carrillo could be very close come championship season.

4. Las Lomas: The Knights had a solid track season and if they can continue their upward momentum, they could land one of those coveted team spots to state. Lilly Montilla had a solid spring in running 5:19 for the 1600 and Las Lomas had 4 other girls break 6:00 in the 1600 as well. The big x-factor could be junior Charlotte Orr, who burst onto the scene this track season by running 2:17.83 for 800. If she ends up running for Las Lomas in the fall, it would go a long way toward the knight’s chances of making it to state. (Editor's note: She will be doing cross country for the first time this fall.)

5. Newark Memorial: The Cougars narrowly missed making it to state for the first time ever last cross-country season, so they will have plenty of motivation this year to finally get over the hump. Ava Irwin gives Newark Memorial a strong starting point as her 11:44 performance in the 3200 during the track season points to great aerobic fitness. Behind her are 4 other returners who ran 12:50 or better in the 3200, so the potential is there to make a run up these rankings by the end of the season.

Feel free to comment below. The boys' NCS Division III pre-season rankings will be posted tomorrow.

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

Monday, July 24, 2023

2023 Wharf to Wharf race results

You can check out the results at this LINK. Some of the names in the results including the race winner should be familiar to NorCal high school cross country and track and field fans.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Pre-Season Projection - Girls National Team Contenders - 2023

Tully Runners just posted their girl's pre-season projection for the nation and these are the NorCal teams that were mentioned.

Campolindo at 19
Los Altos at 23

Last fall, both teams qualified for NXN as a team and both teams will be contenders again.

You can view the entire list at this link:

Earlier, they also posted the national pre-season individual rankings and here are the NorCal runners that were included.

Hanne Thomsen at 11

Grant Morgenfeld Palo Alto at 18
Broen Holman Sonora at 25

I will post the boy's team list once it's posted.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Northern Section Pre-Season Rankings

Thanks to Scott Fairley


Individuals –

  1. Henry Baun (12) Yreka (defending champion)
  2. Jackson Hein (11) Pleasant Valley (2nd last season, state place winner 800)
  3. Jackson Poburko (10) Trinity (4th last season)
  4. Carter Murphy (11) Chico (section 1600 champ in the spring)
  5. Charles Brennan (12) Chico (section 3200 champ in the spring)


Teams –  top 3 teams will be very good

  1. Chico (defending champion, returns team intact from last year.)
  2. Pleasant Valley (2nd last year after beating Chico at league level.  Strong nucleus returns)
  3. University Prep (3rd last year.  Everyone returns.)
  4. Yreka (5th last year.  Lose 2 or top 5, but otherwise solid)
  5. West Valley (best group returning of the rest)



Individuals –

  1. Elizabeth Merrill (11) Shasta (defending champion and 1600 champion in track)
  2. Mattie Whipple (12) Yreka (3rd last year, 2nd place 1600 section finals in track)
  3. Lillian Jeffords (11) Chico (4th last year, 5th place 1600)
  4. Augustine Mylan (12) Yreka (7th last year-next highest returner, 4th place 1600)
  5. Paris Esther (11) Orland (8th last year, 3rd place 800 in track)


Teams – Chico is easily the best team

  1. Chico (defending champion, returns top runners and depth)
  2. Yreka  (4th place last year, but returns everyone.  2nd and 3rd place teams lost several runners to graduation)
  3. University Prep (5th last year, and again returns their whole squad)
  4. Hope (6th last year.  Young program who got better during track season)
  5. Pleasant Valley (3rd place last year.  Lost a few top runners, but as one of the largest schools in the section, always has depth)

Scotts Valley Summer Team Camp

Thanks to West Coast XC. 

If you have anything similar you would like to share regarding your own team camp, please feel free to send any info and photos you may have and I will be happy to share.

Also, you can check out a Menlo team practice at the Crystal Springs course at this link:

Saturday, July 08, 2023

Catching up with former Great Oak and current Herriman coach, Doug Soles

Today we chat with former Great Oak and current Herriman coach, Doug Soles. Over more than a decade, Coach Soles has been one of the most successful cross country and track and field coaches in the nation as you will see below. During covid, Coach Soles completed his first book which is a blueprint for coaching a super successful team. I read the book and would highly recommend it to any coaches out there looking for a great book to read this summer. Coach Soles is also very generous with his time and happy to help any coaches that want to reach out to him with any questions they may have about their own teams.

1) What was your own athletic background and some of your highlights?
I was always one of the faster and more agile kids when I was younger. I grew up in a running family, with my Uncle Rob Durkee being an Oregon XC Champion when I was a kid, which inspired all of us to run. We used to just go to the track and run around and have fun. It wasn’t ever anything structured, but always fun to see what we could do. I did almost every sport at some point, but running was always my strong suit.

As I got older, it was easy to recognize that my quickness and speed lent itself more to shorter races over long ones, so I went in the direction of sprints in jr. high and high school. I ended up at Seaside High School on the coast in Oregon and ran sprints for Gene Gilbertson from 1992-94 and we had a great group at the time. We finished 2nd at state in the 4x100 and 3rd in the 4x400. Getting the baton in the 4x4 to a packed crowd at Hayward Field was an amazing experience! I went on to run for Mt. Hood Community College and Western Oregon University under Coach John Knight. My roommates were all multi-eventers and we had a blast. I learned a lot about competing from those guys.

2) How did you get into coaching and what sports have you coached?
My first coaching experience was in basketball. Our high school had us doing service projects and I volunteered as an assistant coach for my local elementary school’s 5th-grade team. The starting point guard was my little brother, so I had some experience with the people there and was excited to help. I learned a lot about motivating young athletes, and in the final game of the season, the head coach gave it to me to coach. We took on the undefeated team and found a way to win! I was hooked after that!

In college I got the opportunity to teach sprint form and technique and a few different camps and clinics, working with young athletes. That’s when I really started thinking about coaching as something I wanted to do. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but the coaching came on after these experiences.

My first coaching job was at Desert Hot Springs High School in the Palm Springs Unified School District, coaching with my wife. We had a small but fun group and I got the chance to make many mistakes and learned a lot from those amazing kids!

3) During your time as the Great Oak/Herriman cross country and track and field coach, what were some of your highlights and proudest achievements?
We had a lot of success at Great Oak, starting with our 2010 girls' state championship. That really opened the door for all of us to really evolve into a national-level program. Those girls really worked to win that one, and it motivated me as a coach to improve to keep up with the level they were achieving. Our boys started catching up in 2014 and we ended up with 14 Division 1 State Championships at the California State Meet (8 girls and 6 boys)! That makes me tremendously proud because of how many different athletes went into that success. The girls won 7 straight titles (2012-18), while the boys won 6 in a row (2014-2019), which are pretty amazing streaks in their own right, but incredible when you realize how many times they both won in the same year. Obviously, our boy's team winning NXN in 2015 will always be a special moment for me and that program. Beating everyone in the country in any sport is near impossible to do, so I truly remember that as a special group of kids.

For track, I think having the success we did in the distance relays during the regular season, and the individuals during the postseason really stands out for me. Our boys running 16:52 for the 4x1600 and breaking the national record in 2016 was a special moment for me as a coach, as they set the goal and worked incredibly hard to achieve it. On the girl's side, we did some special things. Watching Haley Dorris run 4:44, Destiny Collins run 4:45, and Ashley Helbig 4:48 in 2014 at the Master’s Meet was incredible, being the first team to have 3 under 4:50 in the same race. We did it again in 2018 with Fatima Cortes running 4:46, Tori Gaitan running 4:47, and Arianna Griffiths at 4:49! Too many amazing athletes to list during my time at GO!

My time at Herriman has been short so far, taking over in Track 2022. Our boys won the Timpanogos Invite in Utah last year, Woodbridge in CA, took 2nd at NXR, and 3rd at NXN in my first XC season with the group! We followed that up with some amazing performances in track with Noah Jenkins running 4:05/8:43, Will Horne taking 2nd at nationals in the steeple chase in 5:46, Kadan Allen winning the 800 state title in 1:52, and William Steadman finishing 2nd in the 1600 right behind Danny Simmons! Our boys won the state title in the 4x800 and broke the state record by running 7:39! They also won the Mt. SAC relays DMR at 10:02! Our girl's group is starting to close the gap too, taking 2nd in the girl's 4x1600 at the Mt. SAC Relays this year! Looking forward to a big XC season here in 2023, where our boys have become the deepest team in the nation, and our girls are closing in on the top teams in Utah!

4) What was your incentive to write your book?
Famous writer Martin Dugard really encouraged me to write one to help coaches understand all the different components it takes to build and sustain a championship-level team. I’ve always had a lot of correspondence with other coaches around the country, and many of the questions were the same. What I found was most coaches had a pretty good idea of what they were doing, but they just needed someone to confirm it for them. My hope is that this book can do that for many coaches, and maybe fill in some gaps that anyone has in their program. Mentoring coaches and seeing them dial it in with their teams has always motivated me to share what my program has looked like. When you help coaches, you are really helping the kids they work with and that is why anyone gets into education.

5) What are some of the feedback that you have gotten back from coaches regarding your book?
The feedback has been tremendously positive! I think this is a must-have book for any cross country coach out there because it really forces you to look at your strengths and weaknesses as a coach and as a program and determine where you can improve. The best feedback is from coaches telling me they always had a feeling they were on the right path for this area of coaching or for that but just needed someone to outline it for them. My goal is for the book to be a reference for coaches each summer so that they can keep coming back to try to change little things here and there to get their program to the level they want it to get to. I think the most interesting thing from a writing perspective is how many different people see the value in so many different parts of the book. Much of the feedback is different for each coach, showing the need for a book that confirms what each coach needs to hear and see for their program needs.

6) Where can someone purchase your book?
The only place to pick up a copy is on It is the easiest place to get it out to anyone looking to purchase a copy. Here is the link: Building Championship Cross Country Programs: Soles, Doug: 9798372119963: Books

7) How can someone reach out to you with any questions?
I get lots of amazing emails from coaches all over the country trying to dial in all the different things it takes to be successful in XC and Track. The best way to reach me is via email at and my personal website is

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

NorCal pre-season cross country rankings..

Coming up this summer for all 6 NorCal sections.

Feel free to comment below in the meantime on who you feel will be the top individuals and teams this coming fall.

Top 10 returning girls from last year's CA state meet
THOMSEN, Hanne SO Montgomery -NC-17:12.8
14 SEARLS, Renae JR Alhambra -NC-17:45.3
16 OLESEN, Tatum JR Menlo-Atherton -CC-17:45.9
24 CZAJKOWSKA, Kinga SO Palo Alto -CC-17:54.3
26 VOLKMER, Shea JR Campolindo -NC-17:56.3
30 REDDING, Jesse JR Colfax -SJ-17:58.3
35 SOOBRIAN, Emily SO Los Altos -CC-18:03.9
36 BOOTHBY, Ashlyn JR Scotts Valley -CC-18:05.3
54 FAIDI, Sienna SO Convent/Stuart Hall -NC-18:18.6
71 MOEN, Rachel JR Campolindo -NC-18:25.3

Top 10 returning boys from last year's CA state meet
12 HOLMAN, Broen SO Sonora -SJ-15:12.4
16 STEFANOPOULUS, Aydon SO Los Gatos -CC-15:14.7
23 ALSAIDI, Omar JR Oakdale -SJ-15:19.8
25 CALDWELL, Trey SO De La Salle -NC-15:21.2
29 CHU, Josh JR Ponderosa -SJ-15:24.5
38 DIETZ, Olaf JR Berkeley -NC-15:28.1
40 FITCHEN-YOUNG, Eli SO Santa Cruz -CC-15:28.3
48 HEDLUND, Carson SO Pioneer -CC-15:30.8
59 PRETRE, Landon SO Menlo -CC-15:34.8
62 BOUIE, Benjamin SO Crystal Springs Uplands -CC-15:36.0

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

CA state meet auto team berths for 2023 state meet now posted.

2023-2024 XC Team Entries

Changes from 2022.

Division III Central Coast Section +1
Division III Central Section -1

Division I San Diego Section  +1
Division I Central Coast Section  -1

Division IV San Francisco Section +1
Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section -1

Division V San Diego Section +1
Division V Central Coast Section -1

Monday, July 03, 2023

Catching up with Redwood Empire stats legend Jim Crowhurst

You can check out my interview with Jim Crowhurst at the link below. For those of you that are familiar with his stats work, Jim has been keeping stats since his junior high years, and eventually, his site became the home to all stats related to the Redwood Empire area which includes all the high schools in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake counties. Currently, you can find all of his work at this link Personally, I became familiar with Jim's site when my team was competing in the NCS Class A meet in the early to mid-2000s before we moved to CCS. The NCS Class A meet includes teams from the Redwood Empire. Although it was not many years ago, a lot of those results were not readily available except on Jim's site. 

You can find my interview with Jim at this LINK. Highly recommended!

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