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.
Looking at frosh-soph teams from the 2019 season, San Francisco University was pretty much dead even with NCS D5 rival Lick Wilmerding. The Red Devils trailed by a mere 5 points in the 5K rankings and by 7 points in the 3 mile rankings. Those are tiny margins for state-wide rankings, but that isn't terribly surprising; these two strong programs are constantly battling for small-school supremacy in their section. They both contend annually at the state meet level as well - they went 1-2 in 2019 with Wilmerding winning.
Separating two teams that are so close in talent is impossible at this point of the season, but there are several factors in University's favor. They had the better track season of the two teams, outscoring the Tigers by 16 in the returning team 1600 and also topping the returning team 3200 by a commanding margin (Wilmerding did not record enough times in that event to earn a ranking). The Red Devils continued to show excellent depth for a school of their size, putting 7 returning girls at 5:41 or faster and 9 under 6 minutes (also 7 under 12:45).
University also gets the nod in the returning team 5K rankings from the winter, with 7 returners clocking better than 21 minutes and an 8th right behind. Rising juniors Maya Mason, Mia Giles, and Alice Sappenfield powered the team in both seasons this past school year, highlighting the other big strength for this team: a VERY close pack. The Red Devils posted a 1-7 split of just 48 seconds in cross country, and 64 seconds for the same interval in the 3200.
There is also significant leadership on this University squad, provided by seniors Nadia Lim, Sophie Garcia, and Marissa Lumpkin. That could be a crucial element of their development over the summer, because if that whole pack trains well together and improves even a little bit, this team will be hard to beat in Division 5 this fall (like they always are).