The Central Coast Section is one of the smaller sections in the state but don't let the size of this section fool you. Some of the all-time greats from CCS have included 2-time state champions and former Stanford Cardinal greats, Jason Balkman (Lynbrook) and Vanessa Fraser (Scotts Valley).
CCS might be the only section in California that alternates between two courses to determine it's section championship teams and individuals. The famed Crystal Springs course was supposed to be the site of this year's meet but alas, the Butte fires changed that plan for this year.
When it was determined that the air quality was not safe for the original Saturday, November 10th date, the meet was pushed back a week. As we got closer to the following Saturday, the air quality continued to be an issue and CCS management decided that the meet will be held on Sunday at Toro Park. This was probably the only time a CCS XC meet has ever been held on a Sunday.
The move ended up successful as most CCS athletes had the opportunity to compete and run outdoors for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. Kudos to CCS management for thinking outside the box in order to hold their championship meet in less than ideal circumstances.
The meet next year will more than likely return to the Crystal Springs course to continue the alternate sites.
BOYS RUNNER OF THE YEAR
As a sophomore, Palo Alto's Henry Saul showed his talents as a distance runner with an impressive 4th place finish in the 3200m at the CCS Track and Field championship. This past season, Saul dealt with a nagging ankle injury that slowed him mid-season. Once he returned back to full health, there was no stopping the Palo Alto senior. He stormed to the SCVAL league championship. At the rescheduled CCS meet, Saul won the very competitive Division I title by running away from Bellarmine sophomore Colin Peattie. His best race of the season proved to be a timely one as Saul finished in 9th place at the state meet with an impressive 15:15.4 personal best.
GIRLS RUNNER OF THE YEAR
In a section that has had some really terrific female runners, this year's top girls CCS list seemed to be filled with many upstart runners. Once the smoke cleared (literally!), the girl that stood above the rest was Carlmont junior Kaimei Gescuk. She won her first PAL XC title and followed that up with her first section individual title two weeks later. Gescuk rolled to an 18:19.6 personal best on the Toro Park course. Less than a week later, Gescuk raced to a podium finish at the state meet with a 17:56.5 best on the Woodward Park course. Considering she did that in the ultra-competitive Division I race, Gescuk made it pretty clear that she was the section runner of the year.
BOYS TEAM OF THE YEAR
In 2017, the St. Francis boys had a dream season that concluded with a WCAL, CCS and state titles. Their season did not end at the state meet as they also qualified for the NXN meet where they finished an impressive 9th place overall. This past season, the St. Francis boys continued to be the dominant team in the section. They repeated as WCAL champs over the rebuilding and talented Bellarmine team. They absolutely rocked the section final scoring just 20 points and averaging 15:58 on the rugged Toro Park course. At the CA state XC meet, the Lancers finished in 5th place in the very potent Division II race and when all the boys' teams were combined from every division, St. Francis finished as the 9th best eam overall.
GIRLS TEAM OF THE YEAR
The Central Coast Section girls have done quite well in past state championships with multiple team titles for the San Lorenzo Valley (five) and Aptos (two) girls. This past season, the St. Francis girls repeated as section champions while the Menlo won their first ever section title for the girls. However, the two best teams resided in division I. The Monti Vista girls outdueled the Carlmont girls at the rescheduled CCS meet and were the fastest team overall. At the California state XC meet, Monta Vista locked up a 10th place team finish, once again, just be a few points of the Carlmont girls.