The Oakland Tech girls are legit. It's easy for teams in California's bigger sections to overlook Oakland in general, but discounting the Bulldogs would be a huge mistake, for a number of reasons. This team finished 11th in Division 1 in 2017, putting up their best performance of the season when it counted the most, and they return all seven of the runners on that squad (valuable experience for a run deep into the top 10 this fall). They run on tougher 5K courses in the Bay Area much of the season, which helps them prepare to run fast when they step down in difficulty level at Woodward Park. Caroline Garrett is the real deal up front (she also finished 11th individually), and she leads a strong rising senior class that should bring leadership and urgency to Oakland Tech's training: they know this is their chance to be the best team in school history and make a big splash before the team is decimated by graduation. Depth is the #1 concern when you look at cross country times - there is a drop-off after 5 returners and an even bigger one after 6 - but some of that was alleviated by the Bulldogs' exceptional track season. Nell Schafer in particular seems to have closed up on the front five, which would be huge for both intra-squad competition and for providing more scoring security. As they are constructed, this team is capable of moving up from last year's finish but has to stay completely healthy. If Oakland Tech can add just one more varsity caliber runner, either a newcomer or through summer development, then they could be a sleeper candidate to break into the top 5 in November.
- 5K Improvement Rating: 16th
- 5K Returning Rankings: 17th
- 3200 Returning Rankings: 10th
- 1600 Returning Rankings: 11th