My Improvement Rating metric helps me uncover some interesting long-term patterns, and sometimes I'm a bit surprised by the programs it spotlights. One example is the Vista Del Lago girls, who have the 5th-best record of year-to-year 5K improvement in California over the last 3 years. Don't get me wrong, I knew the Eagles have a good program, especially after their superb 2017 season in which they won the SJS title and finished 2nd in the state in Division 3. I didn't realize the HUGE leap forward this team made way back in 2015, which has pushed them to yearly prominence ever since - as is often the case, the ultimate state-wide success for a team comes a year or two after they make "the leap" in terms of program-wide time improvement. The Eagles did lose two important seniors from last fall's squad, which hurts their expected depth (the one concern I have when looking at their projected roster). That Improvement Rating suggests Vista Del Lago will be able to develop some runners to fill in the gaps and support returning #1 runner Anna Vogtmann with another strong top 7 this year. One indication of this improvement: Natasha Evans was the Eagles' #2 returning 1600 and 3200 runner in the spring, which could be a sign that she is ready to run with Rachel Burgoyne in the team's top 3. There is a very good chance this team will be just as good as it was last year despite the losses, and I predict a repeat of last year - which means Vista Del Lago should be in contention for the D3 title yet again.
- 5K Improvement Rating: 5th
- 5K Returning Rankings: 14th
- 3200 Returning Rankings: 18th
- 1600 Returning Rankings: 34th