Newbury Park's boys celebrated their record-setting performance at Woodbridge. (Credit: Jeffrey Parenti)
This is our first set of rankings where we assess the top squads in the 564-school Southern Section. Eight of the top 11 squads compete in Division 2!
TOP 25 BOYS SQUADS1) Newbury Park (Div. 2) -- 71:14 at Woodbridge for one of the greatest team efforts in prep history! 57-second scoring gap is most impressive considering Nico Young's 13:39.7 up front! New No. 1 team in the nation??? We're still somewhat speechless.... By the way, six of their top eight (all breaking 15) are underclassmen
2) Great Oak (Div. 1) -- 72:28 at Woodbridge; depth galore with interchangeable parts up front. Seven under 14:45 at Woodbridge. This squad ran 10-seconds faster than the 2018 group that placed second at NXN and without all cylinders clicking!
3) Roosevelt (Div. 1) -- Patient approach to the season as they placed five in front of Riverside ML King last week. Took control of the race after the first mile and looked relatively comfortable over the last half for the landslide victory. (Rested most of the squad at Mt. Carmel while their No. 2 lost a considerable lead with 400m to go when taking a wrong turn.)
4) Claremont (Div. 2) -- Represented well in Illinois with a third place finish (against the top five ranked teams in that state!). Even those that stayed back for Woodbridge shined with a 15:46 average.
5) West Torrance (Div. 2) -- They would be runaway favorites in Division 3 but are obviously up for the fight with the Division 2 log jam! Ran 74:48 and out of the gate well here in 2019.
5t) Mira Costa (Div. 1) -- 75:30 (36-second scoring gap) with Atkinson 45-seconds slower than projected (and their four scorer)! This group will not surprise anybody in the postseason this year as they could easily be ranked higher.
7) Dana Hills (Div. 2) -- They've been low-key thus far, but emerged with strong effort at Mt. Carmel. As has become tradition, expect to see them fly this weekend at their own invite!
8) Redlands East Valley (Div. 2) -- 75:31 team time at Woodbridge despite missing a main scorer while another was off just a tad
9) Thousand Oaks (Div. 2) -- Great 75:03 team effort, led by Michael Mireles (4th, 14:17.6) that leapfrogs them over several strong Division 2 squads. (Mireles is pictured at right in Patrick Corsinita photo from Woodbridge.)
10) Loyola (Div. 2) -- Strong sophomore class provides the support to place them right in the thick of the Division 2 dog fight! This crew features only two seniors (and five sophs) in their top nine while a key senior is working his way back up to the front.
11) El Toro (Div. 2) -- Solid 76:47 (23-second gap) showing at Woodbridge, despite a key front runner crossing as their 7th scorer. Not clicking on all cylinders but eyes firmly established on the postseason.
12) Burbank (Div. 1) -- 75:44 reminds us that this group is State Meet material, despite not making the Division 1 finals in 2018.
13) Crescenta Valley (Div. 1) -- Difficult to gauge thus far but in combining best efforts of all invites, they are definitely in the hunt for another State Meet berth.
14) Long Beach Poly (Div. 1) -- Bolts onto our list after 75:51 performance at Woodbridge; Ronan McMahon-Staggs moving up to one of the best in Division 1
15) California (Div. 1) -- 75:54 showing at Woodbridge and reminding us that they were a State Meet crew in 2018.
16) Martin Luther King (Div. 1) -- Disheartening effort in league meet vs. Roosevelt; but minuscule scoring gap in in place while several top boys were off their game last week.
17) Agoura (Div. 3) -- Surprising effort thus far by this group; backed it up with 76:34 team time at Woodbridge and an impressive 43-second scoring gap.
18) Beckman (Div. 1) -- Continues to be one of the most improved programs these past two season; 76:35 and moving into the Division 1 spotlight for the first time.
19) Quartz Hill (Div. 1) -- 76:41 at Woodbridge; Cameron Smith continues to pace this group up front
20) Royal (Div. 3) -- One of the most improved teams this season and proved why they earned the spot in the Sweepstakes race at Woodbridge; 76:35 and tapping onto the shoulder of Agoura in that Division 3 battle.
21) San Clemente (Div. 1) -- The Tritons continue to progress and with one of the best coaches in the history of the section, we are not surprised. 77:03 team time was solid, but their 23-second scoring gap is what really caught our eye.
22) Godinez (Div. 2) -- Hiding out in the Friday session at Woodbridge; The Grizzly (yes, singular) surprised everybody with their 77:08 team collaboration spear headed by Santa Ana Valley-transfer, Jose Magana.
23) Vista Murrieta (Div. 1) -- 77:09 at Woodbridge with a 24-second scoring gap. Tons of upside with this group.
24) Capistrano Valley (Div. 2) -- 77:01 at Woodbridge; nice development from the Mordy brothers to support front running, Sean Robertson.
25) Highland (Div. 1) -- 77:08 at Woodbridge but needs to close that scoring gap considerably (1:50 and on the fastest course they'll see this season) to hold on to State Meet aspirations.
On the cusp -- Arcadia, Ayala, Brea Olinda, Glendora, Hart, La Serna, Murrieta Mesa, Santa Monica, Trabuco Hills, Woodbridge, Yucaipa