It's time to get fired up for cross country! Our traditional XC countdown is back, although it will look a little different this time around - we just don't have as much quality data to approach it the way we have in the past. Instead, we will look at 25 boys and girls teams that we think will have an impact this fall in their section, in their division at the state meet, or even nationally. Unlike past countdowns, this year we're going to start with the clear contenders and then work toward some programs that might not be on your radar screen. As always, if you catch an error or have updated information for us, email editor Jeffrey Parenti (email at the bottom of every MileSplitCA page) and we'll make the corrections.
The Bells were hammered by graduation, losing their top 4 runners (and 5 of their top 8) from this past winter and spring. Now, we know this is always a deep program, and they have a habit of reloading no matter who graduates. However, the limited information we have at our disposal from the 2020-2021 cross country season makes it hard to get a fix on that replacement talent. They do boast the 11th-best returning 5K team using 2020 data, but that isn't much to go on.
Thankfully, Bellarmine has provided us with a strong set of track times to help make our projections. This team has the 5th-best returning 1600 squad and ranks 4th for the returning 3200. Taken together, these three lists help us form a clearer picture of the Bells as they headed into summer training. The 5K marks show solid depth and the possibility of a potent pack, as there was only a 31 second split between runners 2 and 7. The 1600 list reinforces this depth, and the 3200 team rankings show a clear top 4 that looks impressive (all four under 9:40).
One other conclusion jumps out of the track data: Ryunosuke Yanashita and Tanish Chettiar are poised to become the latest in the long line of Bellarmine individual stars after clocking 4:16.41 and 4:17.99, respectively. They also top the team's list in the 3200 at 9:23 and 9:26, with fellow senior Vibhu Krishnan and junior Aiden Theochung not far behind. Factoring in seniors Jack Glanville and Ben Pinkel, who were just ahead of Krishnan and Chettiar on the cross country course, and you can see the makings of a strong top 7.
As usual, the Bells are loaded with seniors, so leadership should not be a problem. Did the results from the past 6 months look like the Bellarmine team that finished 3rd in Division 1 in 2019? Well, not really - but one good summer may just be enough to put them back in contention this fall, and it wouldn't be smart to bet against this program's record of consistent year-to-year improvement.