This may be the toughest team in the top 15 to place. If Kelli Hines is fully healthy (and her truncated track season raises questions), the Diablos are easily a top 10 team entering the season (with potential to be top 5 overall) and a threat to make the podium in Division 2. Even if that's not the case, Ashley Johnson is a capable #1 runner in her own right and the team is deep enough to still be top 20 overall and make it to the state meet. So, it's a case of deciding between "really good" and "great," which means Mission Viejo definitely belongs in the countdown but I don't know exactly where. The Diablos are also a great example of why 3200 results alone are not enough to track the progress of a year-round program, as this team puts heavy emphasis on the 800 and 1600 instead. And they excel - Johnson led 7 returners that ran under 5:30, including an eye-opening 5:06 from returning #6 Emma Hicken that could be a sign of great things to come from her this fall. Two other potential top 7 runners to watch: Morgan Calcagnie, who stepped up to the 1600 for the first time in her career this spring, and posted a 5:20; and Caitlin Ree, who dropped way down to a new PR of 5:25 (both were just outside the returning top 7 in cross country). It's also worth noting that Hines did clock 10:29 in March, an all-time PR, before shutting down for the rest of the spring. That's a load of talent to have in the pipeline for this fall, and I predict a big step forward team-wise from last year's 11th place finish in Division 2.
- 3 Mile Improvement Rating: 17th
- 5K Returning Rankings: 15th
- 3 Mile Returning Rankings: 8th
- 1600 Returning Rankings: 5th