Girls #CountdownToXC Day 2: Great Oak

The 2017 Great Oak girls are a perfect example of why I always check multiple data sources before arriving on a ranking. If you just looked at the Wolfpack's 2016 state meet squad or their 5K returning rankings, you might think this team is headed for a big drop-off: they graduated 5 of their top 7 from that team, including the top 4 runners. Then, you look at their 3 Mile returning times and start to realize how immensely deep this program is: they return 11 sub-19 girls and another 13 that broke 20. Then, you look at their track times and realize how much progress they made in the spring in terms of developing that deep base - 9 returners under 5:30 in the 1600 and 7 under 12 minutes in the 3200, including only one senior in that last group. Sandra Pflughoft and Audrey Dang both broke 11, and although they might not quite rival the front-running firepower of some past Wolfpack teams, they should be leading a very potent pack. THEN, you realize that they've added Victoria Gaitan from Yucaipa, who ran 17:05 for 3 Miles last fall and clocked 10:46 for the 3200 in the spring. (Then, if you're trying to beat this team in the postseason, you start to cry.)

If I'm being totally honest, this really isn't the second-best team in the state - Great Oak should be considered no worse than co-favorites coming into the season, and nobody should ever count out the continuation of their 6-year title run until they are actually dethroned. Oh, and one more reason to fear the Wolfpack: they only have 3 seniors among their top 15 returning 3 Milers! If the challengers can't get them in 2017, the chance might not come back around for a few more years.

2017 Returning Stats:

  • 5K Ranking: 17th
  • 3-Year 5K Improvement Rating: 3rd
  • 5-Year 5K Improvement Rating: 2nd
  • 3 Mile Ranking: 2nd
  • 3-Year 3M Improvement Rating: 8th
  • 5-Year 3M Improvement Rating: 3rd
  • Team 1600 Ranking: 3rd
  • Team 3200 Ranking: 2nd