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.
In a year in which we have far less quality data than usual, it's really cool to be able to see a team progress measurably over even a few months. That's the case for Clovis North, who went from three deep to four deep between February and May.
The Broncos finished the winter cross country season with three runners at 19:06 or faster, which was enough to power them to the 10th-best returning team 5K ranking in California despite a sizeable gap to the rest of the team. That came despite a bit of a slump from star #1 runner Miliana Perez, who recorded a season best of 18:46 after clocking 17:49 to finish 7th in the 2019 state meet. Fellow rising senior Gianna Bomarito had a great winter, posting a PR of 18:48 (along with 17:53 for 3 miles), with rising junior Ashlyn Leath just behind at 19:06, also a PR.
Track season revealed the development of rising soph Kaitelyn Emmons, who ran 11:36 to help Clovis North earn the 4th-best returning team 3200 ranking in the state. Leath also seemed to take a big step forward, posting a 10:43 to stay within striking range of Perez's 10:34 (Miliana also blasted out a 4:48 1600, in case you doubt her star status). That gives the Broncos a very strong front four to build on going into the fall.
The 5th runner, though, was a concern at the end of the spring. With no other runners who have broken 20, and only one other runner (soph Miya Maltos) under 13 in the 3200, Clovis North has some work to do to build a complete top 7 worthy of contending for a top 10 spot at the state meet. That leaves a lot of if's: IF Perez goes well under 18 again, and IF Leath reaches the potential she flashed this spring, and IF the Broncos develop their 5-6-7, this could even be a podium team come November.