Northern California boys' teams (DeAnna Turner photo above) made quite a statement at the 2019 California Cross Country state meet. They had three teams (Jesuit, Bellarmine, and Dublin) finish behind Great Oak in the Division I race. Campolindo and Maria Carrillo finished 1st and 2nd in the Division III race. Foothill Tech from SS won the Division IV team title but was followed by four NorCal teams (Scotts Valley, Sir Francis Drake, Calaveras, and King City).
With that level of team success, there is no question that talented individuals were part of many of those teams. As we look at this coming season, here are my picks for the top 10 boys and there is no question that there are other boys who could have easily made this list and will be factors in 2021.
10. Euan Houston (12) Amador Valley (NCS)
During the shortened Track and Field season, Amador Valley junior John Lester made quite a name for himself with some tremendous races including the fastest 800m in the nation. AV's XC team also nearly pulled the upset of Dublin in the 2019 NCS MOC meet. AV finished in 8th place at the state meet and their top returner from that meet is senior Euan Houston. He recorded a PR of 4:18.86 in 1600 while winning the Dan Gabor Invitational.
9. Godebo Chapman (12) West Campus (SJS)
Godebo Chapman was one of the top runners in the Sac Joaquin Section last year. He had a nearly undefeated campaign and won the SJS Division IV race. At the CA state XC meet, Chapman finished in 7th place with a time of 15:34.5. During the outdoor TF season, Chapman recorded a 9:28.0h time trial.
8. Hudson Grace (12) Redwood (NCS)
Redwood has had some outstanding runners including 2018 NXN champion Liam Anderson and the latest impressive harrier is senior Hudson Grace. He ran 4:17.66 and 9:24.58 PRs in his lone Track and Field meet last spring. During XC, he finished in 4th place in the tough Division II race and followed that effort up with a 15:33.5 time at the state meet.
7. Dylan Gunn (12) Campolindo (NCS)
The Campolindo boys won their first-ever state team title last year led by junior Dylan Gunn. They finished in 2nd place behind Maria Carrillo at the section meet before reversing that result one week later at Woodward Park. Gunn won the NCS Division III individual title before taking 5th at the state meet with a time of 15:33.8. He has also been a four year varsity member on one of the top teams in CA.
6. Michael Chambers (12) Jesuit (SJS)
Jesuit HS has won 9 state team titles but their fastest team was the 2019 team that finished in 2nd place at the state meet. They ran a 77:48 team time that included junior Michael Chambers' 15:33.3 effort. Chambers also finished in 2nd place at the SJS final and will help lead Jesuit this season along with teammate Spencer Pickren.
5. Spencer Pickren (12) Jesuit (SJS)
Jesuit's 2nd place finish at the state meet was a blueprint on how to rally after the first mile. They were in 7th place at the mile, 4th place at 2 miles and the eventual 2nd place finish at the end. Pickren just like his team moved up throughout the race as he was 70th at the mile, 36th at the 2mile and 26th at the finish. In on his efforts during the shortened track season, Pickren ran a 4:17.25 PR in the 1600.
4. Galen Topper (12) Bellarmine (CCS)
There have been two high schools that have had 3 runners run sub 9:00 for 2 miles in the same season. One was Hammond HS in 1975 and the 2nd was Northport HS in 2015. Bellarmine HS during Track will have the opportunity to match that record with their top 3 runners. One of them is Galen Topper who has a PR of 9:30.31 but has improved immensely during the past 8 months. During a time trial in late August, Topper ran a 4:13 1600.
3. Patrick Curulla (12) De La Salle (NCS)
If Bellarmine has the best XC team in Northern California, then the next best team is De La Salle. They will be led by senior Patrick Curulla who had an impressive junior season. He rolled to a section title on the Hayward HS course with a time of 14:55.2. One week later, Curulla finished in 8th place in the Division II race with a personal best 15:15.0.
2. Nolan Topper (12) Bellarmine (CCS)
The best XC teams typically have multiple elite runners. Bellarmine is such a team with three elite runners at the front of their pack including senior Nolan Topper. He has been superb during his HS career including 9:09.89 PR as a sophomore. He also ran 15:03.8 on the Crystal Springs course and 15:08.4 at the state meet. Topper, along with teammate Colin Peattie also qualified to the Foot Locker National Meet.
1. Colin Peattie (12) Bellarmine (CCS)
Bellarmine was ranked as one of the best teams in the nation in many pre-season polls. They returned their entire team from 2019 led by one of the best runners in the nation, senior Colin Peattie. In his last official Track and Field season, Peattie finished in 2nd place at the California state TF 1600m race with a time of 4:09.99 and doubled back in the 3200m with a PR of 9:09.17. He also recorded a 14:56.7 on the Crystal Springs course to place him alongside the elite runners that have broken 15 minutes on that course.