FIVE STORYLINES TO WATCH
THE BELLARMINE BOYS
The Bellarmine boys (2018 section championship team above) have been the most consistent team in CCS for many decades under the leadership of former coach Terry Ward and current coach, Patrick McCrystle. They have recorded the best team finish of all CCS teams many times and the years that they were not at the top, they managed to motivate other teams like St. Francis, Mt. View, Carlmont and Mt. View to record their best seasons in school history.
This year, Bellarmine seems to be well-stocked with a talented roster that could record one of their most successful seasons in recent history. During the last Track and Field season, two Bellarmine sophomores put the rest of the Divison I teams on notice with spectacular finishes at the state track and field finals.
Colin Peattie paced his season quite well and scored double victories at the section final in the 1600m and 3200m. At the state final, Peattie posted a new personal record in the 1600m as he finished in 2nd place with a time of 4:09.99. He doubled back to the 3200m and scored another PR with a time of 9:09.17 to finish in 8th place. Fellow sophomore Nolan Topper, qualified for his first state meet and recorded a huge PR in the 3200m with a 10th place finish and a 9:09.89 best.
Those two give Bellarmine two sub 9:10 3200m runners which will allow them to compete with some of the best teams not only in California but the nation. They will be strong favorites to record another section titles and will be among the contenders to record a podium finish at state.
THE MENLO GIRLS
The genesis of most successful cross country seasons typically begin with strong spring seasons. During the 2019 Track and Field season, the Menlo girls recorded their first T & F section title as they were powered by their two distance runners, Charlotte Tomkinson, and Kyra Pretre.
Tomkinson finished in 3rd place in the 400m, won the 800m and anchored the 1600m. relay team to a 2nd place finish. Pretre won the 1600m, finished in 2nd place in the 800m and also ran on the 1600m relay team.
During the 2018 season, Menlo also won their school's first section title in Cross Country (above). They finished in 11th place at the state meet and will be looking for a much higher finish this upcoming season.
PHIL POMPEI AT HELM OF BOTH CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS
2008 St. Francis grad Phil Pompei (far left) has been at the helm of the boys' cross country team since 2013. The boys' team has been spectacular over the past two seasons as they won the WBAL, CCS and state titles in 2017. Some XC historians place that team at the top of the heap among some of the all-time great section teams.
Following the retirement of longtime coach Roberta Chisam, Pompei will now also coach the girls. At this point in the season, the boys are considered the favorites with the girls ranked in 2nd behind the Willow Glen girls according to stat guru Walt Van Zant.
Chisam was an outstanding coach with multiple section titles but if the girls follow the same trajectory as the boys under Pompie, watch out for the Lancers to make some noise at the state level as well in the near future.
RIORDAN BOYS CHASING HISTORY
Riordan has been one of the strongest single-sex athletic programs in CCS. They have been among the best basketball teams in the section and have won multiple state titles in the same sport. Former Riordan sprinter Tony Miller is among the very best sprinters have ever laced up track spikes in CCS history.
In Cross Country, Riordan has never had an individual or team title but that may change this coming season. Coach Benny Willers is one of the co-head coaches of the team and seems very excited about the team's prospects for the upcoming season as he looks ahead to his 7th season. Riordan will be among the favorites to win the Division III team title this coming season after only qualifying two individual runners in 2018.
You can check out the podcast with Coach Willers courtesy of the Riordan school website at this LINK.
THE UBER COMPETITIVE DIVISION I GIRLS FIELD
There is typically an open discussion on the toughest division in CCS for both boys and girls. This coming season, it seems pretty clear that the toughest road to the state meet for all the girls' teams will be for the Division I competitors. At this point in the season, the strongest returning team will be the Carlmont. They will be paced by the fastest returning runner, Kaimei Gescuk.
They will be pursued by some of the strongest teams in the section including Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Monta Vista and Homestead. All very strong programs who will be chasing only two automatic qualifying spots to the state meet. There is no doubt that there will be a lot of nervous coaches and athletes leading up to the first race of the meet and it would not surprise me at all if the 2nd spot will be determined by a tie-breaker.
You can check out my predictions for each division in the next page. Feel free to comment in the section below if I missed your favorite athlete or team.