(Josh Small photo)
The 22nd Annual Earlybird will be a bitter-sweet celebration. First, we are excited to get back to Toro Park after not being able to host the meet last year due to the Soberanes Fire. The only fire we expect will be on the feet of our harriers as we welcome the largest line-up ever with 80 teams expected this weekend, 39 out of the top 50 overall ranked CCS squads in both genders, and two individual Foot locker finalists highlighting. And second, our host school, North Monterey County, will have heavy hearts as we dedicate the event to honor and celebrate the life of our late Coach Jackie Henderson who, at the young age of 27, tragically passed away this past summer. Jackie lived her life with great adventure, passion, and unconditional love for all she met and coached. We hope to live our lives as Jackie did and carry on her legacy. We especially welcome her family and friends to our special event.line-up ever with 80 teams expected this weekend, 39 out of the top 50 overall ranked CCS squads in both genders, and two individual Foot locker finalists highlighting. And second, our host school, North Monterey County, will have heavy hearts as we dedicate the event to honor and celebrate the life of our late Coach Jackie Henderson who, at the young age of 27, tragically passed away this past summer. Jackie lived her life with great adventure, passion, and unconditional love for all she met and coached. We hope to live our lives as Jackie did and carry on her legacy. We especially welcome her family and friends to our special event.
The ladies will storm Toro Park with 20 out of the top 25 CCS ranked squads clashing here! Some other teams from outside the area also join to play spoiler. Aptos (#1 CCS) broke the course record here two years back only to see Santa Cruz (#3 CCS) come along and claim it later in the year. They clash here once again for top honors with both teams sporting lethal veteran line-ups with a national caliber individual leading that aim to re-write the 94:30 standing park record. D2 powers Mountain View (CCS #5) and Gunn (CCS #6) hope to make it interesting up front as well. Other top CCS squads to watch include Los Gatos (#7), Valley Christian (#8), Palo Alto (#9), Willow Glen (#11), St. Ignatius (#12), Monta Vista (#13), Cupertino (#14), and Aragon (#15). Also keep an eye on San Benito (#18) who added a nice young leader and could improve nicely here. Madera South (CS) comes with some nice up-front power to break up the CCS party.re-write the 94:30 standing park record. D2 powers Mountain View (CCS #5) and Gunn (CCS #6) hope to make it interesting up front as well. Other top CCS squads to watch include Los Gatos (#7), Valley Christian (#8), Palo Alto (#9), Willow Glen (#11), St. Ignatius (#12), Monta Vista (#13), Cupertino (#14), and Aragon (#15). Also keep an eye on San Benito (#18) who added a nice young leader and could improve nicely here. Madera South (CS) comes with some nice up-front power to break up the CCS party.line-ups with a national caliber individual leading that aim to re-write the 94:30 standing park record. D2 powers Mountain View (CCS #5) and Gunn (CCS #6) hope to make it interesting up front as well. Other top CCS squads to watch include Los Gatos (#7), Valley Christian (#8), Palo Alto (#9), Willow Glen (#11), St. Ignatius (#12), Monta Vista (#13), Cupertino (#14), and Aragon (#15). Also keep an eye on San Benito (#18) who added a nice young leader and could improve nicely here. Madera South (CS) comes with some nice up-front power to break up the CCS party.
The senior girls wrap up their Earlybird careers and we have a heck of a battle up-front for you! Marea Zlatunich (Aptos) is ready to roll with the most experience at the local and national level with her showing at the Footlocker National Championships. She blazed a 17:53 at Toro 2 years back good for #11 all-time at the park and won the sophomore race. Watch for her to move up on the all-time list. Although, CCS 800 Champ Mari Friedman (Santa Cruz) could steal the show! Mari was 2nd to Marea two years back but just blasted a 17:41 at Toro last week! That time moves her to #5 all-time at the park making her one of the all-time CCS greats. She's now within sight of the 17:00 course record set just two years back by Kate Ratliff (Santa Cruz) and she has all year to go get it. Get your popcorn ready for this one. Kaylah Grant (Live Oak) hopes to hang on and get pulled to a fast time. Veronica Ortega (Madera South) is out early in 2017 and could mix it up along with Angela Liu (Lynbrook) and Joyce Shea (Gunn). Teammates Serena Myjer and Gabi Joffe (Mountain View) will work together to upset the top contenders. Others to watch include Katie O'Dea (St. Ignatius), Sarah MacGregor (Branham), Ciara Colon (Merced), Julia Doubson (Palo Alto), Emma Clark (Willow Glen), Elli Kliewer (San Benito), and teammates Maya Desmond and Ella Hedrick (Santa Cruz).
The junior girls have some up and coming stars ready to make their impact this year. Reina Garcia (Aptos) won here 2 years back but will be fiercely challenged by Apryl Chiem (Evergreen Valley), who ran 18:34 at Crystal, Emma Madgic (Aragon), who almost broke 5:00 for the mile, Jenna Lange (Nueva), who has the best 2 mile credentials at 11:17, and Lila Roake (Santa Cruz) who was 2nd last time. Beata Gold (Aragon) gives them a nice 1-2 punch. Sarah Feng (Monta Vista), Skyler Miller (Branham), Sophia Zachau (SLV), Jessica Kain (Scotts Valley), Ella Rehman (Crystal Springs), Annika Iyengar (Evergreen Valley), Mackenzie Thomas (Valley Christian), Amber Fry (Mountain View), and Sam Pizzo (Leland) are shooting for medals. Quinn Hagerman (Merced) and Gabriela Jimenez (Fresno) come from the heat to upset.
The sophomore girls should provide some nice break-throughs during their first time at Toro. Oriana Jalal (Cupertino) rolled to a 17:51 at Crystal Springs as well as a 5:00 mile as a 9th grader. Watch for her to push early on. Annika Paylor (Los Gatos) will hang on and try to go for the win. Madison Yen (Willow Glen) has already ran 19:36 at Toro this year and could surprise along with Allie Ayers (Carlmont). Others challenging include Gabby Hughes (Soquel), Jordan Hahn (Valley Christian), Julia Hoffman (Saratoga), Miranda Jimenez (Palo Alto), Kyra Petre (Menlo), Audrey Kim (Mills), Shannon Gould (Mountain View), Angela Leavitt (Notre Dame-Salinas), Claire Yerby (Half Moon Bay), Kailea Zlatunich (Aptos), Alisha Naidu (Lynbrook), and Kayla Penny (San Lorenzo Valley).
The wide-eyed freshmen girls kick off the high school portion of the meet and always bring lots of excitement as they make immediate impacts to their respective squads. Some to watch include Jaydah Aguilar (Madera South), Isabel Sanchez (Santa Cruz), Kristen Ransford (Whitney), Lauren Okamoto (San Benito), Azalea Groleau (SLV), Layla Ruiz (Watsonville), Rachel Suess (Carmel), Anna Weirich (Harker), and teammates Crystal Baeza and Andrea Villegas from our host school (North Monterey County).
the boys, 19 out of the top 25 CCS ranked squads lock horns early led by nationally ranked Bellarmine (CCS #1). The Bells will shine as defending champs with one of their all-time best squads after a string of brilliant state efforts placing 4th last year in D1! They are ultra-tough up-front with one of the best 1-2 low sticks in the state. They sport a very deep squad returning 5 guys with sub 16:00 credentials at Crystal Springs plus an army of eager Bells waiting to make their mark. Two years back they set their team time Toro record of 80:09 at Earlybird which is #3 all-time. They are heavily favored here and certainly have the horses this year to take a shot at the fresh course record of 79:31 which St. Francis of Mountain View set just last week! Those two squads will lock horns later on in ultra-tough WCAL action but for now Bellarmine can steal bragging rights by taking the record here. Madera South represents the Central Section and has won 4 of the last 6 Earlybird titles. They return some key runners from their 5th place state team to try to stay close up-front. They graduated their top 3 but tradition rich state programs don't fade quickly and Madera South certainly has established itself as one of the all-time best and Earlybird legends. Willow Glen (CCS #3) has developed nicely the last few years and brings back some nice talent and a good pack. Cupertino (CCS #5) showed well at Stevenson Invite last week and could upset some squads here. Carlmont (#10) may be under ranked and could move up after today. Palo Alto (CCS #6) joins the Earlybird party and could also steal some headlines. Los Altos (#7) have a nice 9th grader on board to boost their veteran line-up. Other squads with hopes of glory include Greenfield (#8), Half Moon Bay (#9), Monta Vista (#11), Lynbrook (#12), and Santa Teresa (#14).
senior boys wrap up the meet and will do it in grand fashion with a star studded affair! Meikael Beaudoin-Rousseau (Bellarmine) is ready to make this season one for the record books leading his nationally ranked squad after a top 20 placing at the Foot Locker Nationals and is the top returnee in the state in D1. He won this meet two years ago and looks to move up the all-time Toro ranks while eyeing the standing course record of 15:02 by Yohaness Estifanos (Milpitas) in 2012. His teammate Alex Scales, who won this meet three years back, may have the most range and experience in the country with his national level exploits ranging from 400-5000 meters all the way back to grade school days. Seth Garcia (Madera South) is their team leader and is out quick in 2017 with a couple of meet wins. Watch for him to battle early on. Jorge Estrella (Andrew Hill) hopes to challenge late with his fine 4:12 mile effort this past spring. Nicholas Medearis (Crystal Springs) surprised many in track 3200 action and is no longer an underdog. Zach Walker (Willow Glen) was 2nd here two years back and leads his fine crew. He will have his teammate Nic Dinsdale to help. Others looking to hang on to the fast pace seniors always set will be Sam Craig (Palo Alto), Daniel Frees (Mountain View), Ryan Wilson (Carlmont), Neerav Gade (Bellarmine), Mustafa Abdalla (Willow Glen), Kevin Chacko (Lynbrook), and teammates Angel Reyes and Adrian Alvarez (Madera South). Sleepers include Jason Gomez (Westmont), Trevor Paulbitski (Riordan), Reed Foster (Palo Alto), Julio Cerda (Willow Glen), Hugh Chomentowski (Santa Cruz), Luis Meza (Greenfield), and Jeffrey Xu (Monta Vista).
The junior boys will really heat up the course along with rising temperatures as Victor Ochoa (Madera South) returns to try to defend his title. He ran away with the race 2 years back but will now be challenged by rising-star Sam Lavorato (Palma) making his season debut. Sam knows Toro like the back of his hand and could win one for the hometown crowd. Chris Anderson (SLV) leads them and hopes to make it a three-man race. Henry Saul (Palo Alto), Luke Pinkel (Bellarmine), and Owen MacKenzie may surprise the front trio. Justin Hsu (Carlmont), teammates Max Chavez and Owen Tanaka (Cupertino), Ross D'Orfani (Bellarmine), Tommy Padilla (Palma), EJ Kelly (St. Francis-Watsonville), Rigo Garcia (Greenfield), Ross McMillan (SLV), Aiden Duncanson (Crystal Springs), Erik Olsvold (James Lick), Noah Strause (Aragon), and Edgar Williams (Santa Teresa) are also contending for medals.
The sophomore boys will be anxious to take their first crack at Toro. Looking for his first Earlybird win will be Garrett Macquiddy (Westmont) as our pre-meet favorite with his nice 4:29 mile and sub 16:00 Crystal time last year. Adam Sage (Los Altos) had a nice run last week and could challenge. Evan Franco (Branham) and Marco Dal Canto (Willow Glen) will give chase. Teammates Ethan Dodge and Brendan Jacoby (Whitney) spearhead a nice young group for them which includes Austin Vasquez, Jacob Harbert, and Josh Tajiri. Ishaan Singh (Evergreen Valley), Richard Cole (Merced), Justin Chiao (Gunn), Carson Smith (Santa Teresa), Jake Symonds (Crystal Springs), Alex Asch (Willow Glen), Nathan Bowman (Woodside), Vincent Peng (Lynbrook), Caleb Metzler (Carlmont), Daniel Ghasemfar (Los Altos), Brandon Johnson (Santa Teresa), Christian Chavez (San Benito), Leo Schroeder (Mills), Kyle Tsujimoto (Monta Vista), Ricardo Diaz (King City), and Damian Rivas (Watsonville) will shoot for medals.
The freshmen boys will turn heads with some nice talent up-front! Kevin Andrews (Los Altos) turned heads last week and should shine. Kamran Murray (Menlo), Clem Welsh (Bellarmine), and Collin Hepworth (Los Altos) already faced off and have a re-match. They will face Kamran Murray (Menlo), Advait Krishnan (Evergreen Valley), Aaron Segura (Madera South), and teammates Samuel Pappas and Blaine Reynolds (Aragon) who are eager to make a nice debut.
Finally, the largest plaque of the day goes to the team that scores well in multiple races and usually is won by a large squad. St. Ignatius finally wrestled the plaque away from Bellarmine 2 years back. Who will take it in 2017? We also welcome all the open and middle school runners who always kick off the day with great excitement.
We hope you enjoy the meet and please remember to always #RunlikeJackie. Feel free to run in the 7:45 AM open race in her honor.
Visit our event website for full coverage! http://nmcxc.tripod.com/id22.
2017 EARLYBIRD TEAMS
|Gustavo Ibarra, |
North Monterey County