Countdown to XC Day 4: Saugus Girls

Will the graduation of Mariah Castillo mean a big drop-off for the Centurions? I'm betting the answer is no, even with the loss of fellow senior MacKenna Park - and I have data to back up my assertion. First off, Saugus has been THE best program in California for year-to-year improvement over the last three cross country seasons, gaining an average of 34 seconds on their top 5 average time every year while still finishing very high at the state meet. Combine that improvement record with good numbers in the program and it becomes easier to see how this team could reload. Second, that depth was on display during the spring season, when returning #1 runner Jacqueline Cascione's 10:50 led 6 sub-12 3200 returners (plus 4 more under 12:30) and 10 returners that broke 5:45 in the 1600. That impressive group includes the breakout Centurion of the track season, Dani Salcedo. as well as great improvement from Hannah Fredericks, Julia Pearson, and Shayla Cruz - all of them set to push for sports in the top 5. Oh, one last interesting piece of data: with Salcedo, Saugus has at least 5 underclass runners set to keep their streak of high state meet finishes intact.

Team Statistics:

  • 5K Improvement Rating: 2nd
  • 3 Mile Improvement Rating: 3rd
  • 5K Returning Rankings: 7th
  • 3 Mile Returning Rankings: 11th
  • 3200 Returning Rankings: 6th
  • 1600 Returning Rankings: 14th

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.