San Francisco University Girls
The Red Devils finished 2nd in Fresno last November and return all seven of their runners from that race. In fact, they have their top 12 from last fall back, a group that includes six current seniors (4 in the top 7). That leadership and experience will be essential this season, as Athena Nooney and Isabella Hochschild anchor University's solid, deep pack: their returning 2 though 8 runners are separated by only 45 seconds. Sophomore Maya Mason paces the Red Devils up front and classmate Alice Sappenfield rounds out the top 5.
To get over the top for a team title this winter, University needs one or two runners to break through and compete for spots in the top 5. That could come from the junior class (there are 4 candidates that contribute to the team's depth), or perhaps from a new freshman. Last year's 9th-graders fueled huge improvement over 2018, pushing the team into the top 10 in the state in my Improvement Ratings metric.
After finishing 8th or better in the last four state meets (including 2nd place twice), the Red Devils will not lack for motivation this season. The competition will be stiff, but University has the talent and depth to contend. D5 is going to be fun to watch this winter!