The girls cross country team at Newbury Park earned the No. 1 ranking in MileSplitCA's Top 25 subjective top teams in the Southern Section following impressive opening-season performances at both the Cool Breeze Evening Invitational and the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic. (Raymond Tran photo)
MileSplitCA's Mark Gardner reveals our first set of rankings from the state's largest section, breaking down the top 25 cross country teams for girls and boys by competitive tiers. These are subjective rankings and this list will be updated throughout the fall.
Check it out.
1) Newbury Park (Div. 1) - Passed the test at Woodbridge with the victory over out-of-state powerhouse, Flower Mound out of Texas, and a tough Buchanan (CS) group. Their fifth-scorer finished ahead of Great Oak and JSerra's #2! When you count in how Ailish Hawkins rolled to a 17:07.9 at the slower Cool Breeze course along while Sam McDonnell (15:54.6) was second-best in the section last weekend, you can see that they did not click on all cylinders last weekend in their victory. The Panthers placed themselves into their own tier against the rest of the section with this performance. Nationally, they went from unmentioned in the national rankings going into the weekend all the way to #4 afterward in the most recent Milesplit rankings!
2) Mira Costa (Div. 2) - Dalia Frias was unstoppable last weekend, setting a new course record (15:43.5) in the process. Rarely, you do not see a team ranked this high after an almost three-minute team scoring gap but once a healthy Ella Parsley is back in the mix, they can begin improving upon that fifth spot. Anna Chittenden was the section's best #2 with her 16:36.2!
3) JSerra (Div. 4) - Definitely worthy of national-ranking consideration, freshman Brynn Garcia has shined early on while Georgia Jeanneret works her way back to what we saw this past spring. Heads and above ahead the competition in a tough Division 4 field that is just a tad ahead of Great Oak.
3) Great Oak (Div. 1) - Two of their top six ran in the 'Rated' race, and when inserting those times, they actually finished just ahead of Mira Costa and JSerra in top-50 Southern Section merge. Now, it will be about getting their top five solidified and in the same race. Junior Kelli Gaffney (16:47.5) was 18th overall and is the clear No. 1. There was a minute gap before No. 2 junior Joelle Upshur crossed (17:47.6).
5) Canyon, Anaheim (Div. 2) - Not much separates Canyon from the rest of the above elite squads in our second-tier! Nice step-up performance from Isabella Frisone this past weekend (17:19.8). They decreased that team-scoring gap from two weeks ago as the battle with Mira Costa for the Division 2 title is just beginning!
6) Dana Hills (Div. 2) - Their performance on the slower Cool Breeze course, compared to Woodbridge, places the Dolphins at the top of this tier. Allura Markow (17:26.6 at Cool Breeze and 15:57 at Mt. Carmel) leads the way but that second group is a tight pack led by Cooper Murphy and Paige Scheer. Tremendous on board here!
7) La Canada (Div. 4) - It's great seeing that two of the strongest squads in the section are represented in our smaller-schools division! Arielle McKenzie (17:13.7) and Katelyn Matarese (17:44.4) lead a much-improved squad! Any other year, they are the runaway favorites for the Division 4 title!
8) Claremont (Div. 2) - It's a dead heat between our next three squads, but placing Denise Chen (who ran faster two weeks ago) right there alongside Maddie Coles' 16:47.4 and Claremont belongs right here. With an impressive postseason tradition, we expect further improvement from the back of their scoring five as they look to condense that gap between the top three squads in Division 2.
8) Santiago (Div. 1) - The most improved squad in Division 1 exceeded expectations at Woodbridge. The arrival of freshmen Rylee Blade (17:21.2) and Audrey Buckley (18:06.4) along with a veteran group could perhaps, make this their first team in school history to qualify for the State Meet.
10) El Toro (Div. 2) - The Chargers captured the Rated Race at Woodbridge led by Kasey Lynd (17:56.6). Most impressive is their 39-scoring gap as they are the ONLY squad in our overall merge with emerged with a sub-60 second scoring gap!
11) Redondo Union (Div. 1)
12) Oaks Christian (Div. 4)
13) West Ranch (Div. 2)
14) Saugus (Div. 1)
15) Vista Murrieta (Div. 1)
16) Chino Hills (Div. 1)
17) Fountain Valley (Div. 1)
18) Beckman (Div. 1)
19) Westlake (Div. 2)
20) Rancho Cucamonga (Div. 1)
On the cusp: Ayala, Citrus Valley, El Segundo, Foothill, Harvard Westlake, Murrieta Valley, Oak Park, Palos Verdes, Riverside Poly, San Clemente, Thousand Oaks