XC PREVIEW Central Section Boys

Central Section Boys Cross Country Preview

Below is an overview look at cross country athletes to watch in the Central Section. Because of the shutdown of the 2020 season and loss of the CIF-State Championships, a lot of our information below is based on returning athletes from the 2019 State Meet, 2019 Central Section finals, and marks achieved during both the 2021 winter XC season and the spring '21 track season.

Information is based on results in the MileSplit database. Please let us know of any inaccurate or incomplete information.

Contests can begin in the Central Section as of this week and the section championship meet - the first since November of 2019 - is scheduled for November 18 at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Runners To Watch

Division I

Nathaniel Avila (Clovis, Sr.), Andrew Cape (Clovis North, Sr.), Christopher Caudillo (Clovis, Jr.), Isaac Chavez (Madera South, Jr.), Dylan Devine (Madera South, Jr.), Ethan Epstein (Arroyo Grande, Sr.), Alejandro Gutierrez (Madera South, Sr.), Robert Kirkman (Buchanan, Sr.), Brenton Maddox (Buchanan, Sr.), Spencer Mueller (Clovis North, Sr.), Mathew Oaks (Clovis North, Sr.), Paean Ocampo (Clovis North, Sr.), Gabe Perez (Clovis West, Sr.), Noah Ray (Buchanan, Jr.), Benjamin Reyes (Clovis West, Sr.), Carter Spradling (Clovis East, So.).

Division II

David De Loera (Sanger, Sr.), Manuel Lopez Vargas (Ridgeview High, Jr.), Jose Mendez (Corcoran, Jr.), Myles Nicacio (Sanger, Jr.), Henry Perezchica (McFarland, So.), Paul Quintanilla (Corcoran, Sr.), Emanuel Salas (Sanger, Sr.). 

Division III

Ben Borchers (Edison, Sr.), Diego Gonzalez (Sunnyside, Sr.), Nathan Herrera (Golden West, Sr.), Elias Lopez (Frontier, Sr.), Guillermo Lopez (Central, Sr.), Tyler Speir (Fresno High, So.), Aron Teffra (Central, Sr.).

Division IV

Justin Beaumont (Yosemite, Sr.), Ryan Diaz (Chowchilla, Sr.), Diego Honda (Bishop Union, Sr.)

Joshua Jimenez (Porterville, Sr.), Misael Lopez (Porterville, Sr.), Jake Olney (Yosemite, Fr.), Ben Olney (Yosemite, Fr.), Nathanael Rodriguez (East Bakersfield, Sr.), Sebastian Rosales-Valdez (Yosemite, Sr.), Dominic Welsh (Porterville, Jr.).

Division V

Noah Felix (Matilda Torres, Fr.), Ozzy Hernandez (Matilda Torres, So.),
Kale King (Minarets, Sr.),  Emilio Ortega (Liberty Madera Ranchos, Sr.), Miguel Ramirez (Matilda Torres, So.), Buffalo Soito (Matilda Torres, Fr.),  Esaud Vargas (Matilda Torres, So.).

2019 Team Champions

Division I: Clovis North (6th at State)

Division II: Ridgeview (12th at State)

Division III: Central (9th at State)

Division IV: Porterville (21st at State)

Division V: Mammoth (9th at State)


Way back in a time before COVID-19, the boys at Clovis North were the class of the Central Section. North won the section title and went on to place sixth in Division I at the CIF-State Championships. 

As we begin to examine the prospects for the fall 2021 cross country season, we see a veteran North team well-stocked to not only defend its Central Section title but also potentially improve on its placing at the State Meet. 

Senior Andrew Cape ran No. 4 for Clovis North at the State Meet after running No. 5 for the Broncos in 2019. In last weekend's Summer Sizzle on a 2-mile layout at Woodward Park, Cape was fourth in leading Clovis North to a team win over what appears to be the Broncos' two biggest challengers in the CS: Buchanan and Madera South. 

Senior Spencer Mueller, who ran No. 7 for the Broncos as a sophomore at the 2019 State Meet, placed eighth last weekend followed by seniors Mathew Oaks, Paean Ocampo and Brayden Blodgett. The Broncos' first five placed among the top 14 in the race with Blodgett coming in at 9:59.5. 

For perspective, race winner Brenton Maddox, a senior at Buchanan, crossed in 9:28.5, with Clovis junior Chris Caudillo second (9:33.8) and Clovis senior Nathaniel Avila in third (9:43.2). 

Maddox ran No. 7 for Buchanan at the 2019 State Meet, where the Bears placed 14th, and No. 6 in the Valley final where they placed second, 29 points behind Clovis North. 

Judging by the 2-miler, Buchanan looks for junior Noah Ray, senior Robert Kirkman, and junior Zachary Weaver to challenge up front. 

Madera South had six of the top 18 and all in under 10:04.8. Five are juniors, led by Dylan Devine and Isaac Chavez. The lone senior in that group is Alejandro Gutierrez, who ran No. 3.

Individually, Caudillo is coming off a sophomore track season where he established himself as one of the top distance runners in the state, going 4:09.67 for 1600m and 8:51.98 for 3200m.

Sanger senior Emanuel Salas went 4:13.79 and 8:57.73, respectively. Five other CS boys had a sub-14 combined time or 1600m/3200m from the spring season: Avila, Maddox, Cape, Clovis East sophomore Carter Spradling and Central senior Guillermo Lopez

Salas is the top returner in Division II from both the State Meet, where he placed 60th and the CS meet, where he placed fourth. His classmate, David De Loera, was 66th and seventh, respectively. 

Central, which placed ninth at the State Meet, brings back from that meet, Lopez, who ran No. 4, and Aron Teffra, who ran No. 7.

Corcoran senior Paul Quintanilla, who ran No. 2 at the 2019 CS Final, is coming off an impressive spring on the track where he went 4:23.68 for 1600m and 939.36 for 3200m. His combo time of 14:03.04 ranks No. 9 in the section for athletes with posted marks at both distances. 

In the smaller divisions, a couple of teams on our early radar are Matilda Torres and Yosemite. 

Matilda Torres, a new school in Sanger competing in Division V, had three under 10:40 at the Summer Sizzle in sophomore Ozzy Hernandez, freshman Noah Felix and sophomore Esaud Vargas

Also impressing on the shortened Woodward Park layout was a very young Yosemite group, led by a trio of freshmen in Ben Olney, Jack Olney, and Ford Stegge, plus senior Sebastian Rosales-Valdez, and sophomore Noah Graffigna. Another top returner from 2019 is senior Justin Beaumont, who ran No. 3 for Yosemite as a sophomore at the 2019 Central Section Final. 

At the Summer Sizzle, Jack Olney was 19th overall (10:09.3) with Ben Olney next, Rosales-Valdez was 39th and Stegge was 46th in 10:32.8.