Division 1 Preview
Palisades Charter has a very strong girls team, and it doesn't look like their grip on the team title will loosen anytime soon. Lila Copeland and Kimia Samandy went 1-2 in the section finals last year, and they're both back - as are the rest of the team's top 5 runners from 2016. It looks like San Pedro Charter and Granada Hills will be left battling for second place in the team scoring again this year. Jicel Fernandez-Ramirez could be a wild card individually after clocking 18:23 at Woodbridge last year.
The Palisades boys are also very good, but they have a tougher path to the section title with defending champion El Camino Real and Granada Hills also returning solid teams. All three squads lost some talent to graduation, so this comes down to which team had the better summer and stays healthiest. ECR has one big advantage in Justin Hazell, who is a legitimate Division 1 title contender this year coming off a track season where we saw him run 8:54 and 4:16. Ben Hamer and Brent Smith lead Palisades Charter, and they'll need to push each other to keep close to the defending LA City individual titlist.