North Coast Section XC Championships Preview

Division I

Girls - (Top 2 teams advance to state meet):

1.    Amador Valley

2.    Dougherty Valley

3.    Dublin

4.    Berkeley

5.    California

The Amador Valley girls are the defending section champions as they won the Division I race last year before the meet was canceled due to the bad air quality. They are slight favorites this year provided two of their top runners (Hope Bergmark and Lizzy Shriber) are able to compete this Saturday. If either one or both runners are not able to compete, the role of favorite role will switch to the 2nd place team last year, Dougherty Valley. They outdistanced the 3rd ranked team here, the Dublin girls, by 7 points at the EBAL finals so the margin of error will be quite small. It is also worth noting that the Dublin team has three freshmen and one sophomore in their top 4 so teams better beat them this year before they become a major force in the next couple of years. The Berkeley girls have a stronger top 3 than California but we should still see a tight contest between those two teams for 4th place.

The already mentioned Hope Bergmark is the best runner in this division but has been sidelined recently due to a lower leg injury. As with the team race, Bergmark will be the favorite if she does toe the line on Saturday. If she doesn't, then the next group of runners will also determine the team battle. Dougherty Valley's top runner, Rhea Braganza, was the top Division I runner at the EBAL final. She finished just ahead of Amador Valley's Derica Su and Ella McCarthy and teammate Leah Abraham.

Boys - (Top 2 teams advance to state meet):

1.    Dublin

2.    Amador Valley

3.    James Logan

4.    Dougherty Valley

5.    California/Berkeley

The Dublin boys have won the last 3 section titles (2016 & 2017 in Division 2/2018 in Division I) and will certainly add a 4th this Saturday. In 2018, the Gaels scored 18 points to win their 3rd NCS title as only Amador Valley senior Aidan Boyle was able to prevent a clean sweep. This year, Dublin has continued to be nationally ranked and easily outdistanced their EBAL competition two weeks ago. They will be heavy favorites here before they turn their attention to the state meet and a possible NXN qualifying effort. With only 8 teams in this division, one might think that this might not be one of the most exciting races but that is not the case at all. The race for 2nd will pit last year's state-qualifying Dougherty Valley boys against the team that just missed, Amador Valley. The AV boys will be the slight favorites here and will have another team to worry about this year. Former San Ramon Valley coach Tim Hunter is now coaching the James Logan boys and they have already become a potent threat to the already mentioned teams. The race for 4th place should be a tight one as well between Berkeley and California.

The strong favorite to win the individual title will be Dublin senior, Christopher Middleton-Pearson. He rolled to a solo effort win at the EBAL final in a wickedly fast 14:33.8. The only question in doubt is not if he will win but by how much. Chasing Middleton-Pearson will be Amador teammates Aidan McCarthy and Jack Gray and Dublin teammates Rohan Fonseka and Ishaan Jain. James Logan will need their top 2 runners, Yadvinder Grewal and Luke Fewx to stay part of the lead pack in order to have a realistic shot at qualifying for the state meet as a team.