The last official Cross Country season was the fall of 2019. During that season, North Coast Section teams and individuals made their presence felt at the most important meet in California, the state meet.
It was pretty clear during that season that several boys' teams were among the best teams in the state. The Dublin boys have been one of the top teams in the section and after surviving an inspired run by the Amador Valley boys, finished in 4th place at the state meet, just missing the podium.
The Division III race turned out to be the highlight for the section as Campolindo and Maria Carrillo claimed the top two spots. Maria Carrillo won the section final and their top two runners, Colton Swinth and Rory Smail finished first and second at the state meet. Despite those tough odds, a determined Campolindo team rolled to their first boys' state title in school history.
The Sir Francis Drake (now HS 1327) boys may reside in one of the smaller divisions but you can put their accomplishments against any other team in the section. Over the past three years, they have podiumed all three years including two 2nd place team finishes and a 3rd place in 2019.
As we fast forward to this coming season, I believe several teams stand above the rest and per usual, they are teams that have been historically good and have continued to train despite the many challenges due to this pandemic.
So without delay, here are my top five teams counting down from the 5th best. Note that three of the schools compete in the EBAL which is one of the toughest leagues in California.
When you discuss the best co-ed teams in the section, Granada enters that conversation fairly quickly. The team has been led by the Mattern brothers (Noel and Jeremy) and in the past few years, they have either won both section titles or made another team earn a hard-fought victory. Their boys' team lost a lot of fire power from last year's team but discounting them would be a mistake. They return three runners from their section runner-up team including two sophomores (Farin Soriano and Liam Manley) who are ready for a big jump.
Coach Chris Williams has had the Dublin boys absolutely humming during the past few years. After a 5th place finish at the 2015 NCS MOC Division II race, Dublin reeled off four section titles and top-four finishes at the state meet including a 2nd place finish in the 2017 Division II race. They lost quite a bit from their 2019 team including the stellar Christopher Middleton-Pearson but good programs reload so look for Dublin to be in contention again.
The Campolindo boys have one of the best one/two punch with senior Dylan Gunn and sophomore Alexander Lodewick. They have also been the most consistently good teams in the section since Coach Chuck Woolridge moved from College Park HS. The Cougars will need to shore up the back end of the pack but based on history, they should easily be among the best teams in this section.
As mentioned above, SFD has podiumed the last 3 years, and most impressively, the majority of their 3rd place team is back. In 2019, they were led by senior Amir Barkan and bolstered by six underclassmen. This coming season and beyond, SFD will now be competing in Division III and although the challenge is much greater than previous years, their team is built to compete and don't count them out just because they move up vs larger schools.
#1-De La Salle
The De La Salle boys (above photo courtesy of DLS HS) have won a section record 17 XC team titles. The 2019 season resulted in their last section title as they outlasted a tough Granada team 46-49. While the order of this list may be quite subjective, there is no question about the best team in the section. DLS is led by one of the top runners in the section, Patrick Curulla and return the most experienced team. They also added to their depth with transfer Marco Chao.