Countdown to XC Day 29: Walnut Girls

I'm predicting that this is finally the year Walnut breaks through as a team and makes a big splash at the state meet. It's really kind of astounding that these Mustangs haven't gotten there yet, but then again that's life in the Southern Section Division 1. This squad last fall would almost certainly have been top 10 in the state in Division 1, but fell just 15 points short of advancing from the state's most terrifyingly competitive qualifying race.

Walnut's 2017 team was remarkable for another reason: there was not a single senior in their top 12! That's a big pool of returning talent to draw on, but depth is still a concern: the Mustangs need to close a huge gap between their returning 4th and 5th runners. That front four, though, will be wicked this fall: all of them ran under 5:16 and 11:25 during outdoor track season. Chloe Arriaga is a threat to take 1st in any race she runs, and that makes Walnut a harder team to beat. I'm betting that Walnut will find the 5th runner they need to make that small step forward this fall.


Team Statistics:

  • 3 Mile Improvement Rating: 50th
  • 3 Mile Returning Rankings: 33rd
  • 3200 Returning Rankings: 7th
  • 1600 Returning Rankings: 16th

The purpose of the Countdown To XC is not to predict the top 30 teams in the state for the upcoming season (although we certainly hope that the top 15-20 teams are included in the countdown at some point). The goal is to recognize thirty teams to watch as cross country begins, using data to uncover squads with strengths that stand out from the pack. The countdown is also not meant to be in a strict order, because it's impossible to sort out several teams of similar strength at this point of the season.