Friday, July 19, 2024

2024 Pre-Season CCS Division II Rankings (Teams and Individuals)

CCS Pre-Season Division II Rankings
Boys Teams:
1) Los Altos
2) Saint Francis
3) Branham
4) Los Gatos

Boys Individuals:
1) Aydon Stefanopoulos - Los Gatos
2) Joshua Guzman - Gilroy
3) Alijah Murillo - Branham
4) Sam Hurst - Los Altos
5) Dominic McMahon - Santa Clara
6) Tristan Kippes - Palo Alto

Girls Teams:
1) Saint Francis
2) Los Altos
3) Los Gatos
4) Palo Alto

Girls Individuals: 
1) Evie Marheineke - Archbishop Mitty
2) Kinga Czajkowska - Palo Alto
3) Amaya Bharadwaj - Palo Alto
4) Caitlin Cilley - St. Francis
5) Sabrina Zanetto - St. Francis

Feel free to comment below on the above rankings. Please let me know if I missed a team or individual. Any hot shot freshmen joining any of the above teams or other teams in the division?

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Divisional changes for Central Coast Section teams for 2024 season

The following are teams that will be competing in different divisions this coming cross country season.

Division I
North Salinas (moving to Division I from Division II)

Division II
Fremont (moving to Division II from Division I)
Rancho San Juan (moving to Division II from Division III)
San Mateo (moving to Division II from Division III)
Valley Christian SJ (moving to Division II from Division III)
Woodside (moving to Division II from Division III)

Division III
Monta Vista (moving to Division III from Division II)
Yerba Buena (moving to Division III from Division II)
Hillsdale (moving to Division III from Division II)
Lincoln (moving to Division III from Division II)

Division IV
None

Divison V
The King's Academy (moving to Division V from Division IV)

Sunday, July 14, 2024

NCS Pre-Season Division III rankings thanks to Campolindo coach Andy Lindquist

NCS DIII Boys:

4 teams make it to state in this division, and this upcoming season there will be plenty of teams fighting for those spots.

1 Tamalpais
The Red-Tailed Hawks were the biggest surprise in the NCS last cross country season and this track season. Last fall, Tamalpais pulled off the upset win to dethrone Campolindo at the section meet and followed that up with a top 10 placing at state.

This spring “Tam” turned it up to another level as one of the best middle distance squads in the entire section. With a whopping 12 returning athletes all under 4:50 for 1600, Tam is loaded with talent. Gilby Filat Sam Ismailer, and Lucas Ruark look to be the frontrunners at this point, with all three breaking 10:00 in the 3200 this past spring. The big challenge for Tamalpais will be developing that middle-distance speed into cross country endurance. Caden Gardner, Jack Turner, and Cooper Hatch all broke 2:00 in the 800 during the track season, and they could easily turn into major contributors for a loaded Tam squad.

As it stands, this team is far ahead of the challengers as they seek to be the first non-Campolindo team to repeat in this division since Petaluma from 2009-2010. Given the graduation losses of other teams in the state, Tam has plenty of potential to have its best finish ever, with a Top-3 podium spot well within reach. While track times do not always translate to cross country success, there is simply too much talent and depth on this squad, some combination of 7 will be ready to go by the end of the season.

2. Maria Carrillo
The Pumas have plenty of young talent, including Cameron Jones, who ripped a 1:55 in the 800 and qualified to state in that event as a freshman last track season. Jack Wilson has sub-16:00 credentials at Woodward Park and gives the Pumas a low stick up front.

Austin Petrik had a solid spring season as well, running 9:53 in the 3200. Through three runners, Maria Carrillo is as good as Tamalpais, but the depth will need to be addressed if the squad wants to compete for the title. Jonathan Rath and Milo Wiese both ran 4:45 or better in the 1600 but they will need to adjust to the rigors of cross country racing if they want to compete for the section title.

3. Campolindo
The Cougars were the dominant team coming out of the pandemic, rolling to big NCS wins and two runner-up finishes at state in 2021 and 2022. Last year, the rest of the section caught up to Campolindo as the team was defeated by Tamalpais at the section meet, and then finished in 15th place at state, their worst performance in 20 years. While Campo has the most section titles of any team in this division, there is a big gap to make up as the summer begins. The Cougars have some incredible young talent and had the best Freshman 5k squad of any team in the state at Woodward Park last cross country season, but that youth will need to mature quickly.

Cody de la Cruz and Maxson Cook are the two veteran returnees from last year’s team, and both of them broke the 10:00 in the 3200 during the track season, a good starting point. From there, sophomores Clark Gregory, Drew Shogan, and Gavin Gunn all flashed brilliance at times but struggled with consistency. While the three of them all broke 10:20 for 3200 in track, they will need big improvements to challenge the likes of Maria Carrillo and Tamalpais. Junior to be Taejin Chung showed big improvement over the spring, clocking a 4:38 in the 1600 and a 10:16 in the 3200. Campo has a lot of depth with 9 athletes returning who have broken 10:30 for 3200, but that’s still a ways back of Tamalpais’ depth.

At this point, Campolindo remains a dark horse to move up the rankings, though having to rely on young and unproven talent will make it a challenge. The remaining teams chasing Campolindo in the standings all have significantly better front-end talent, so the Cougars will have to shore up their back end if they want to place in the top 4 and make it to state.

4. Casa Grande
Teams 4-7 are all loaded with talent and potential but short on depth, something that describes Casa Grande pretty well. Jack Dufour and Dylan Mainaris both flashed huge potential during track, with the pair running 1:57 in the 800. With a summer of training, the duo could make more big gains in the fall. The Gauchos have two other returners under 4:45 in the 1600 but after that there is a massive drop off to their projected #5 scorer, Jorge Navarro, who’s 1600 best is 4:52. There will need to be some big improvements at the back end for Casa Grande to move up these rankings and fend off all the other teams seeking that coveted fourth and final spot to state.

5. Las Lomas
The Knights are led by senior Nate Griffin-Yeh, who is the clear favorite to win the individual section title. With a best of 4:14 in the 1600, he made huge strides during the spring track season and that will continue this fall. Akash Ghandi is the next best returner at 4:39 for 1600 and after that, the Knights have a solid group who all ran between 4:46 and 4:50 in Zack Springer, Joshua Sonoda, and Andre Rivard. Having such a solid #1 runner will make the task easier for Las Lomas, but there is still plenty of ground to be made up if the Knights are to challenge for a berth to state.

6. Analy
This is the most intriguing team on the list, the talent is there for this squad to be a top-4 team, but they will need a big summer and some big breakthroughs on the cross country course to do so. The Tigers feature a potent duo of Cormac Gaylord and Owen Dawson, who both dipped under 4:30 in the 1600 during the track season. After that, Quince Holman is the projected number three, with a 4:36 1600 best.

That puts Analy in line with any other team but there is a massive drop-off after those three. Bear Vanden Heuvel is the next best returner and while he ran a solid 2:02 for 800, he only managed a 4:56 for 1600, which points to a lack of aerobic fitness and cross country potential. The Tigers do not have the team size of many of their opponents so they will need big improvements across the board from some of their younger athletes. Given that they did not have another returner break 5:00 for the 1600, they might not have the depth to move up these rankings. However, if any of their projected backend scorers have a big improvement, that will suddenly vault them up the standings and in contention for a state meet berth or better.

7. Newark Memorial
The Cougars (what’s with all the cat names!!) were a huge success story coming out of the pandemic, making the state meet for the first time in school history in 2021 and returning again in 2022. The squad struggled in the rain during the 2023 NCS Championship and Newark-Memorial has their work cut out for them when it comes to making it back to state. Kenji Kawabata had a nice breakthrough during the spring, running 9:38 in the 3200, which will help a lot.

Still, there is a big gap between him and the rest of the projected scorers, with the Cougars only returning 4 athletes with sub-5:00 credentials in the 1600. Again, any improvement from these backend scorers would make a substantial difference to their chances at finishing in the top 4, so don’t count Newark-Memorial out just yet.

Individual rankings
Campolindo sophomore Clark Gregory is the top returner from last year’s NCS meet after his head-turning third-place finish. While he struggled with injury during the spring track season, if he can stay healthy he will be in contention for another top 3 finish. Nate Griffin-Yeh of Las Lomas is the heavy favorite coming into the season based on his 4:14 and 9:32 1600/3200 performances in the spring. He looks to be the first runner from Las Lomas to win the individual NCS title since Greg Drosky in 2006.

  1. Nate Griffin-Yeh - Las Lomas
  2. Kenji Kawabata - Newark-Memorial
  3. Jack Wilson - Maria Carrillo
  4. Lucas Rurark - Tamalpais
  5. Cameron Jones - Maria Carrillo
  6. Gilby Filat - Tamalpais
  7. Sam Ismailer - Tamalpais
  8. Austin Petrik - Maria Carrillo
  9. Cormac Gaylord - Analy
  10.  Dylan Mainaris - Casa Grande

NCS DIII Girls Rankings

Campolindo has dominated this division like no other team in the history of the NCS, winning the past 10 team championships in a row. The 10-peat is tied with SF University (1995-2004) for the longest winning streak in the history of the NCS Championships.

While “Campo” has been on a tear at the state level recently (4 state titles in 7 years), Montgomery returns the most talented front end in the entire state of California and looks to finally dethrone Campolindo and win its first section title since 2001.

1. Montgomery

The unstoppable triumvirate of Hanne Thomsen, Amrie Lacefield, and Seelah Kittlestrom continues for another season, with the three seniors easily the best trio in DIII in the entire state. When you have the potential to go 1-2-3 at the NCS meet, and have three finishers in the top 10 at state, you have the makings of an all-time great team.

Depth has been an issue for the Vikings in recent years however, and while Jasmine Mansfield made huge strides this track season in running 5:17 in the 1600, she has never done cross country before. There is still no guarantee that she will end up competing for Montgomery during the fall due to commitments to other sports.

After that, there is an even greater drop-off, with Montgomery’s next fastest runner being Cora Morthole at 5:55 in the 1600. Such a huge gap could end up sinking the team’s NCS title and state podium chances against teams with a tighter pack margin. Any improvement from Montgomery’s back-end runners or a new freshman coming out for the team could make all the difference.

As it stands now Montgomery is the heavy favorite but will have some work to do at the backend. At last year’s NCS Championship meet, Morthole finished in 59th place, which accounted for almost half of Montgomery’s team score at that race. Given the depth the contending teams have at their disposal, the Vikings will need to close down the pack margin.

2. Maria Carrillo
The Pumas have been one of the most consistent teams in this division for quite some time, but a section title has eluded them, having last won a section title in DII in 2013. You have to go all the way back to 2009 to find the last time Maria Carrillo captured a DIII title.

With budding superstar Ashlin Mallon at the front, the Pumas have all the pieces ready to make a run at the title. Carley Schubert and Katherine Choe have continued their improvement curves during the spring track season and Maria Carrillo has plenty of other runners waiting in the wings as well, returning a whopping 14 girls who have broken 6:00 in the 1600.

As usual, the Pumas will have work to do at their back end and they have a fairly experienced team at this point, with 5 returners from last year’s postseason squad, so the team should be set up for another stellar season this fall. Given league rival Montgomery’s lack of depth, Maria Carrillo could place seven runners in front of their fifth, which would be hard to overcome at the section meet.

3. Campolindo
“Campo” has been the class of this division for decades now, with the Cougars owning a whopping 17 DIII championships in the past 25 years. This will be the first time in quite a while that Campolindo is rebuilding, having lost the bulk of its squad from last year.

The cupboard is by no means bare for the Cougars though, as sophomores Kiona McCasland (5:20 1600) and Amalia Contreras (5:20 1600) had productive track seasons. Contreras had an impressive finish last fall in breaking 19:00 for 5K at the state meet, so Campolindo starts the season in a good spot at the front end.

The real wildcard for the team will be junior Claire Andrzejek, who transferred mid-year from the Bay School. While she is somewhat unproven in cross country, she had a breakout track season in running 2:16 in the 800. While track times do not always translate over to cross country, given veteran coach Chuck Woolridge’s track record of developing athletes over the summer, it’s a definite possibility.

While a few varsity-level athletes will not be returning for the fall season, Campo has plenty of depth at the lower division, with a strong sophomore class looking to rise up the ranks.

Youngers Angele Tseng, Kaitlyn Kinsey, and Nora Lawrence all flashed plenty of potential during the track season as well, and any big improvements from them could also make a huge difference.

As it stands now, Campo has some question marks that need to be answered and some new faces will need to step up and lead the team after such heavy graduation losses. Given the squad’s championship pedigree, it’s likely that they will rise to the occasion and challenge the top 2 teams at the section championships.

4. Tamalpais
The Red-Tailed Hawks are on the upswing and had a very solid spring track season. Emma Gardner and Estella Wong both broke the 5:20 barrier in the 1600 and with 5 returners under 5:50 in the 1600, Tamalpais has plenty to build off of.

The lack of a proven frontrunner is a bit of an issue but that can change very quickly after a full summer of training. Tam is not too far ahead of the other teams contending for the fourth and final spot to state. Right now, they have a slight edge but the battle for fourth place could come down to a handful of points.

5. Northgate
The Broncos continued to progress during the spring track season, with Elena Carcamo posting a huge breakthrough in roaring to 5:12 in the 1600. If she can continue that development into the fall, she will give Northgate a strong frontrunner.

Northgate’s projected 2-5 runners all ran between 5:39-5:43 in the 1600, so the team will have a good amount of depth backing Carcamo. The real challenge will be working on the pack margin between their first and fifth scorer, as this will be critical to closing the gap on the likes of Tamalpais and Campolindo.

Given that Northgate competes in the Diablo Athletic League along with Campolindo, the squad will have plenty of opportunities to test themselves before the NCS championships.

6. Las Lomas
The Knights are the most interesting team on this list due to their impressive front-running duo of Charlotte Orr (state meet participant in the 800) and Lilly Montilla (5:09 1600). Orr had a very solid cross country season last fall and her massive improvement in the longer distances during the track season, running 5:08 for 1600, points to another big jump next fall.

After those two there is a big drop off to Grace England, who has a 1600 best of 5:39. The Knights tend to have one of the larger teams in the area so filling out the remainder of the team should not be too challenging. Still, given the lack of depth, Las Lomas is on the outside looking in for now.

7. Newark Memorial
The Cougars have a solid front end, with Alice McCarthy posting solid times of 5:18 and 11:27 in the 1600/3200 respectively during the track season. Depth is still an issue for Newark-Memorial though, after Rahwa Fekadu (5:40 1600) and Grace Veloza (5:41for 1600) there is a big drop off. For the Cougars to have any shot at making it to state, this will have to be addressed, as the team lacks the front-end firepower of the teams ranked ahead of them.

Individual rankings
Montgomery should have no trouble going 1-2-3 in this race at the NCS Championships, something that will greatly aid their title chances.

  1. Hanne Thomsen - Montgomery
  2. Seelah Kittlestrom - Montgomery
  3. Amrie Lacefield - Montgomery
  4. Ashlin Mallon - Maria Carrillo
  5. Charlotte Orr - Las Lomas
  6. Avery Coddington - Casa Grande
  7. Elena Carcamo - Northgate
  8. Alice McCarthy - Newark Memorial
  9. Amalia Contreras - Campolindo
  10. Kiona McCasland - Campolindo

Thursday, July 04, 2024

Catching up with CCS 800m record holder (2:04.37), Ann Regan (now Dyer)

Today we catch up with CCS 800 meter record holder, Ann Dyer (née Regan). She competed at Camden High School in San Jose which closed in 1980. She set the CCS record in the 800 meters in a dual meet versus the USSR team in 1977 as a sophomore. She was also state champion in the 800 from 1977 to 1979 making her the first 3-time state champion in the event. Only Lindsay Hyatt of Placer who won the same event four years in a row was able to surpass Ann's championship accomplishment. Ann is now the head cross country coach at Notre Dame San Jose.

1) How did you get started running? Aside from running, what other sports did you do before high school?
In fourth grade, there was an announcement at my school for any girls interested in joining a track team. A friend encouraged me to try out and I ended up running with the Integra Track Club at San Jose State. That was during the time that many of the best US sprinters were running at “Speed City”. John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, and many other top athletes trained at SJSU with coach Bud Winter. It was a lot of fun running there! I didn’t participate in any other sports before high school but my coaches and teammates made track fun and something I wanted to do.

2) What was your experience as far as competing in running before high school? What were your personal bests before high school?
My first race was the 50-yard dash on a dirt track! I gradually moved up in distance but don’t remember my times. That was so long ago!! We’d practice a couple days a week and have a meet on the weekend. In a junior high/middle school meet I had to get special permission to run both the 400 and 800 because girls weren’t able to run two distance races at one meet.

3) What was your experience during your freshman year in high school? What were some of the standout races that you remember during cross country and track and field seasons?
I ran with the Cupertino Yearlings my freshman year but I wasn’t able to compete on both the club team and the high school team. I moved to the San Jose Cindergals at the beginning of my sophomore year. I ran cross country with the Cindergals but not with my high school team.

I have many great memories of running track meets in high school. There was a dual meet where I thought I was finished for the day but we needed some extra points so I jumped up and ran the 2 mile. Breaking five minutes in the mile at a duel meet with Los Gatos and the LG coach cheering for me as loud as my own coach! One time I took the VTA bus to get to the CCS meet at San Jose City College. The bus driver wished me good luck and it worked! I also ran the mile relay all three years and the 440 (yards at that time!) in my junior and senior years at the CCS meet. CCS meets and CA State meets were always fun and exciting! I also was able to run in some indoor meets which were fun too.

4) You set the current CCS record in the 800 of 2:04.37 in a USA and USSR dual meet following your sophomore season. What do you remember about that race? Where was it located? How did you qualify for that meet?
The US/USSR Dual Meet was held in Richmond, VA. There were two US and two USSR athletes in the race. I was so nervous that I told my coach that I didn’t think I could run. He said, “Well, let’s go home then”! I was the first American, second overall, and ran my PR! I qualified for the team by competing in the Jr. Nationals which today would be the U20 Championships.

5) You won the 800 meters three straight years from your sophomore to senior years. What do you remember about those three races? Who were the main competitors that you remember? Was any of those victories any more satisfying than the other ones?
One thing that is different about the CA State Meet is that you run trials one day and finals the next day. Also, it’s different not knowing many of the people in your race. I competed against Linda Goen from Bakersfield all three years. We ended up at college together, became friends and I even attended her wedding. My sophomore year was special because it was my first State meet and it was a close race. My senior year is also a good memory because it was my third win. I missed my senior prom because it was the same night as the meet!

6) What do you remember about your high school training? What did a typical week look like?
Training with my club team allowed me to practice with many of the best local high school runners. I think we pushed each other to be better. We worked out together on weekdays, usually had a meet once a week, and did a run on our own on the weekend. We also trained pretty much year-round.

7) Looking back now from a coaching perspective, what do you think you did training-wise that worked for you and what do you wish you did differently?
We ran a lot on the track. I might have done more distance on the trails. I never really thought of myself as a cross country runner. I ran cross country to help me with my track season. I wonder what might have happened if I had had a different mindset.

8) Can you tell us a little about your college experience? How did you end up choosing West Valley College and then UCLA? Highlights? Proudest achievements? Post-collegiate experiences?
My club coach was coaching at West Valley so I stayed to train for the Olympic Trials. After that, I transferred to UCLA. I had known the UCLA coach from having attended training camps and meets over the years. I had so much fun in college but didn’t run as well as I had hoped. After college, I ran a little bit but as work commitments increased it was hard to run consistently.

9) You are now coaching at Notre Dame San Jose. How did you get into coaching and what have been some of your previous coaching experiences? What are you looking forward to this season? 
I had always thought about coaching but couldn’t make it work with my schedule. When I retired from teaching, I learned that Notre Dame San Jose was looking for assistant track coaches. Last spring was my first coaching experience and this fall is my first time coaching cross country. I am learning about track and cross country from a different perspective and look forward to having fun with the teams.

10) You have the experience of being a very elite high school runner. What advice would you give other female runners who are either elite or have aspirations to be elite?
I’d say to have fun, be positive and try your best! It’s important to enjoy what you’re doing, know that you can always take away something good from a practice or race, and that there will be good and bad days. Be patient, keep things in perspective, and appreciate the present!

11) Can you tell us a bit about what coaches or adults helped you during your athletic career? What did you learn from them? What do you feel you carry on from them with you as a current coach?
I have had the opportunity to work with many great coaches during my running career! I didn’t realize how hard they worked to enable my success until I started coaching. There is a lot of time, thought, and planning that goes into each athlete. I would just come to practice and run the workout but now realize my coaches did a lot “behind the scenes”. I continue to be impressed at how much knowledge the coaches have about the sport.. I’d like to be as dedicated!

12) Anything else you would like to add.
I have met many great friends and amazing people through Track and Field and Cross Country. I have terrific memories of fun times, challenges, and experiences. I hope that anyone participating in the sport will be able to celebrate their accomplishments, learn from their disappointments, and have fun. Happy trails!

Thank you very much for your time, Ann!

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