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.
This is another team that had enough youth to catch my eye back in 2019 - specifically, 6 freshmen or sophomores that ran 17:02 or faster for 5K, enough to rank them 2nd in California. Given that the Broncos were also the Central Section D1 champs and finished 6th at the state meet that year, it was reasonable to think they would be set up for at least two more years of contending at the highest level.
Of course, the last two years haven't gone as anyone expected, and we have very little data with which to evaluate Clovis North right now. During cross country season their results were solid but unremarkable: the rank 17th in the state for returning 5K, with only a few runners improving on past times. We do have a few marks from track season that are encouraging, though. Rising senior Andrew Cape still looks like the leader of the team after clocking 4:26 and 9:27 this spring, and fellow senior Spencer Mueller chipped in with a 4:27 (along with a 1:57 800) on the track. Brayden Blodgett and Paean Ocampo (also in the Class of 2022) both broke 10 for the 3200 (Blodgett and Zachary Holmes are the two top 7 runners that ran PR's during cross country this past winter).
The conclusion? Well, Clovis North should be very strong this fall, but we don't have the times to demonstrate that the Broncos are on track to realizing that potential. One piece of information we do have tells an important story about this squad: their top 9 milers from the spring are all rising seniors, which means the program has a great opportunity to get back on track this fall - but unless they cultivate some young talent, there could be a big step back coming in 2022.