Boys Countdown to XC Day 1: Great Oak

Before the 2018 season, did we expect last year's Great Oak boys team to finish 2nd at NXN? The Wolfpack exceeded expectations, holding off a surging West Ranch team to win in Division 1 and then having their best team performance since 2015 in Portland. The season was characterized by a series of runners stepping up when needed: Chris Verdugo, Gabriel Abbes, and Mateo Joseph all performed in crucial situations at different points to complement the leadership of three seniors that anchored their top 7 last fall. That experience will be valuable in 2019, since Great Oak knows they don't have to depend on one runner to hold down the #1 slot every race. That's a good thing, because this edition of the Wolfpack may lack star power up front; they did have 2 sub-4:20 1600 runners in Verdugo and Cole Sawires Yager, but return nobody under 9:25 in the 3200. Depth was the team's hallmark in the spring, and that will be its greatest strength in the fall as well; returning 7 sub-4:30 milers and 6 guys that ran under 10 minutes means the pool is as deep as ever. It's also worth noting that those numbers do not include Abbes, who raced only twice in the spring after clocking 9:16 as a sophomore. Given that Great Oak is one of California's very best programs at year-to-year improvement, I would expect them to continue their Division 1 title streak. If everyone is healthy and it all comes together, the Wolfpack could be national contenders again, but something stops me from making bold predictions for this team. Of course, given the opening of this paragraph, I may end up eating those words come December...

Great Oak High School (SS) (CA)
1) Gabriel Abbes14:17.502
2) Chris Verdugo14:37.506
3) Mateo Joseph14:44.3013
4) Cole Sawires Yager14:48.8023
5) John Worthy14:51.2026
Average Time: 14:39.86 Total Time: 1:13:19.30 1-5 Split: 33.70
6) Aric Reza14:55.5039
7) Parker Smith14:59.6050


  • 3 Mile Returning Ranking: 1st
  • 3 Mile Improvement Rating: 3rd
  • 5K Returning Ranking: 1st
  • 5K Improvement Rating (3 year): 1st
  • Team 1600 Ranking: 1st
  • Team 3200 Ranking: 2nd