Here is the preview written by De La Salle assistant coach Tony Roberts:
This Saturday De la Salle and Carondelet High Schools will host the 2017 Nike Invitational at Newhall Park in Concord. This will be the 24th edition of this meet that started out as a NCS championship course preview race. Though the NCS championship has long changed its venue, the DLS/CHS Nike Invitational continues to deliver top-notch competition every year. This year entries are shaping up to be no different. We are looking forward to another great competitive meet with heaps of Nike gear up for grabs.
Boys Individuals to watch: The top returner from last years' Nike Invite will be junior Liam Anderson (Redwood). Anderson's last time of 15:30 was good enough for 4th place finish, but Anderson ran a blistering 15:06 at the CIF championship in November, so he may be out to become the second runner to ever go sub-15 on the Newhall Park course. Don't be surprised to find Matt Strangio (Jesuit) up front with Anderson in this race. At last year's race the freshman Strangio grabbed himself an 11th place finish. Jonah Wiener-Brodkey (McClatchy) came away with the top spot at last weekend's Willow Hill 5-Way meet. Look for him this weekend to once again be up front vying for another first place performance. Also keep an eye out for Nathaniel Lasalle (Bella Vista), Damien King (Bella Vista), Brain Hastings (Las Plumas) and John Bennett (Granada)
Boys Teams to watch: To go along with the great individual boy's racing, there will be great team action as well. Mission Viejo is making the trip to NorCal to make a statement among some of the best Bay Area teams. Look for top-ranked teams Granada, Jesuit, McClatchy, Bella Vista and Redwood battle it out with Mission Viejo for some coveted Nike Backpacks.
Girls Individuals to watch: This year girls' individuals look to have a shared theme of runner-ups vying for the blue ribbon. Cassidy Haskell (Miramonte) was last year's runner up with a time of 17:45 (8th best time ever on the course). This year look for her to improve her rank on the all-time record board and maybe grab an individual title as well. Colleen McCandless will once again be leading her very strong Granada Girl's team. Last weekend McCandless placed 2nd at the Lowell Invitational, this weekend she'll be right back in the mix for the individual title. Speaking of last weekend's 2nd place finishes and powerhouse programs, Jenna Miles of Campolindo, placed 2nd at the Ed Sias Invitational. It's unlikely she'll be lone Cougar up front. Both of Miles's teammates, Isabella Chao and Hannah Ruane, were in the top ten at last year's meet. Also keep an eye out for Gillian Wagner (Redwood), Kinga Bihari (Granada) and Amanda Olla (San Ramon Valley).
Girls Teams to watch: Four of Northern California best girls teams will be racing for the team title. Granada, Campolindo, San Ramon Valley and Monte Vista have been ranked 1,2, 3 and 8th respectively earlier this season for northern California. Look for a close team battle over the three miles in Concord and the winners claiming their Nike backpacks in victory.
Have we missed anyone? Probably. Will there be any upsets? Hopefully. Are we excited for another fun and competitive meet? Definitely! We wish you the best racing experience at the 24th #NikeInvite