Countdown to XC Day 14: Fountain Valley

If you believe, as I do, that track results can be a major indicator of upcoming cross country success, then Fountain Valley is a team to watch. The Barons finished 10th in the Southern Section Division 1 finals last year, falling short of making the state meet while fielding a top 8 that didn't include a single senior. Then spring came around, and this team went off: 4 girls at 5:20 or faster and 5 that went sub-12, all returners. Ashley Faller led the way with marks of 5:06 and 11:20, but the real eye-opener was Isabella Guerra, who looked like a bona fide top 4 runner for the Barons. If that carries over to the fall, Fountain Valley will have a strong top 5 to try to fight their way into the top 7 in the CIF-SS and get to the state meet. Senior leadership could be a big plus, with as many as four in the projected top 7 for this fall, but depth is definitely a concern. That brings me to the final interesting point about this team: despite not making the state meet in any of the last 3 cross country seasons, the Barons have quietly been one of California's best at year-to-year improvement (and it's hard to impress our Improvement Rating without finishing high at the state meet). That gives me confidence that this team can discover or develop the one or two varsity-caliber runners they need to secure a state meet berth in 2018. That's why Fountain Valley is my sleeper team for the upcoming season!


Team Statistics:

  • 3 Mile Improvement Rating: 20th
  • 3 Mile Returning Rankings: 12th
  • 3200 Returning Rankings: 9th
  • 1600 Returning Rankings: 12th

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.