Countdown to XC Day 11: El Toro Girls

Although the Chargers lost #1 gun Ashley Messineo, they have the rest of their 2017 squad back after finishing 5th in the Division 1 state championship - and in fact, the majority of their top 7 was sophomores last fall. Alexis Neuville leads a talented and deep junior class that should still have significant improvement ahead of them. That means El Toro has an excellent chance to be just as good in 2018, and could sustain their run for another year after that. This team has been one of California's best at improving from fall to fall over the last few years, whether you look at 5K or 3 Mile times (it's rare for a program to excel using both data sets), and that bodes well for what is shaping up to be a classic pack-running squad. El Toro demonstrated some of that year-round progress by putting 6 girls under 5:40 (5 of them rising juniors) on the track, and their top 6 returning 3200 runners will all still be around in 2019. The Chargers have all the indicators of a team still on the rise, and could in fact be building toward a podium run next year - but I won't be surprised if seniors Jasmine Thompson and Taylor Slouka help that future arrive ahead of schedule this November.

Team Statistics:

  • 5K Improvement Rating: 8th
  • 3 Mile Improvement Rating: 8th
  • 5K Returning Rankings: 12th
  • 3 Mile Returning Rankings: 7th
  • 3200 Returning Rankings: 28th
  • 1600 Returning Rankings: 22nd

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.