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?


Jeremy Mattern said...

San Ramon Valley boys will be in the conversation. They have a committed group which will be very strong.

Albert Caruana said...

Thanks, Jeremy. I will add them to the list and we will update the rankings sometime in September.

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