Now that the stay at home order has been lifted in California, the prospects of a Cross Country season are very real. We have already had a couple of meets and I believe we will see many more in February and March.
Based on the success of many individual girls as well as some outstanding teams last season, Northern California is loaded with talented girls, and here are my picks for the 10 girls you should keep your eye on for this coming season. As with every season, freshmen girls will make a definite impact but for now, I will stick to the returning runners.
10. Ellie Buckley (10) Campolindo (NCS)
The Campolindo girls have dominated the section in Cross Country and will be the defending Division III state champions when the state meet makes it's triumphant return in 2021 (crossing fingers!). They have an outstanding group of young runners and the best of them all is sophomore Ellie Buckley.
9. Kaiya Brooks (10) Crystal Springs Uplands School (CCS)
Brooks was one of the top freshmen in CCS. She recorded one of the 5th fastest time on the Crystal Springs course all-time list with her 17:42. She was undefeated in her league races and finished as the league MVP.
8. Shae Hill (12) Granada (NCS)
Granada has completed dominated NCS Division 2 the past five years with 5 straight section titles. Shea Hill has been a member of the last three section winning teams and was the lead runner for them in 2019. She figured to be a prominent runner for them this year as a senior before she heads to UC Davis next fall.
7. Madison Kackley (12) Gregori (SJS)
Kackley has been one of the best runners in the SJS with multiple victories at some of the bigger invitationals in the area. She improved her 12th place finish at the state meet from her sophomore year to a 5th place finish in 2019 in the always competitive Division I race. Her time for that race was 17:44.7 which is her lifetime best.
6. Hope Bergmark (12) Amador Valley (NCS)
Bergmark has been one of the top runners in the section with a section individual XC title in 2018. She had an injury-shortened season in 2019 but still was a big contributor to her team's section XC title. She seems to be definitely back with a great time trial in the summer as she rolled to a 17:02 5000m effort on the track.
5. Lauren Soobrian (10) Los Altos (CCS)
Soobrian was the most impressive freshman runner last season. She won the Lowell Invitational as well as the CCS Division I title before finishing in 4th place at the California state meet. During the shortened track season, Soobrian ran in two meets breaking 5 minutes in both 1600m efforts as well as two sub 10:50 marks in the 3200m.
4. Cate Joaquin (11) St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS)
St. Francis, Sacramento has been one of the top XC programs in the past decade. Last year, SF won the SJS Division II title and finished in 6th place at the state meet led by Joaquin who finished in 4th place as an individual with a time of 17:39.7.
3. Riley Chamberlain (11) Del Oro (SJS)
Chamberlain had a near undefeated season as a freshman in 2018 with her lone loss taking place at the Clovis Invitational. Last season, Chamberlain was off the radar for a bit due to an injury. She rallied late season and won her second state title in the Division III race with a time of 17:16.0.
2. Harper McClain (12) St. Helena (NCS)
McClain finished in 7th place at the 2019 California Track and Field state meet 3200m final with a time of 10:29.68. She made her XC debut last year as a junior and continued the torrid pace she set in the previous TF season. McClain won the Division V state title and qualified to the NXN race as an individual.
1. Alexandra Klos (11) Vista del Lago (SJS)
Klos had quite a debut XC season as a sophomore. She was the Division II state champion as well as an NXN individual qualifier. She ran 16:57 on the Woodward Park course which ties her for the 7th fastest individual with fellow SJS runner, Fiona O'Keeffe of Davis and Destiny Collins of Great Oak.