RANKINGS Check Out Our Southern Section Top 25

MileSplitCA's Mark Gardner reveals our second set of rankings from the CIF-Southern Section, CA'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. 

As a bonus feature for this posting, Mark ranks the top 25 boys and girls individuals in the CIF-SS, regardless of division.

Check it out.


1. Newbury Park (Div. 1) - We should see another milestone established with four boys breaking the coveted 15-minute barrier on the Woodward Park 5k course at this weekend's Clovis Invite! Being the only team to ever break 76-minutes on the course with the record currently standing at 75:28, we should see this crew shatter the 75-minute threshold!

2. Loyola (Div. 1) - Not much has changed here except for Richard Moreno continuing to move up the ranks as one of the section's best.  Nathan Mars ran his best race of the season at Bell-Jeff to finish closer to their top four.
3. Great Oak (Div. 1) - Varsity team rested at last weekend's Dana Hills Invite so no change here as well.  The development of sophomore Gabriel Rodriguez should consistently yield this group a sub-30 second scoring gap.  

4. Mira Costa (Div. 2) - Solid team effort, with a scoring gap of only 38 seconds, up in Portland as they captured the Jim Danner Invite.  Perhaps more than any other squad, their line-up is interchangeable.
5. Hart (Div. 2) - Looking to have Jaden Wiley back for November's postseason run but continuing to develop one of the section's best teams behind him.
6. West Torrance (Div. 3)- The class of Division 3 with a controlled effort and victory in the non-Championship version of the Jim Danner Invite. (10-second gap in their top four).
7. Ventura (Div. 2) - One of the surprises of the section with three sophomores in their scoring five. Along with Mason Jekogian, the team scoring gap would have been under 35-seconds at Woodbridge with their full squad competing.
8. Claremont (Div. 2)- Rested their varsity squad at the Temecula Twilight after coming off a solid Palomares League Preview performance. The senior-driven group was missing two of their scorers at Woodbridge.

9. Santiago (Div. 1) - Rested top three guns at Dana Hills. Five different boys are vying for the crucial fifth spot in their scoring lineup.
9. San Clemente (Div. 1) - Not much separates the Tritons and Santiago. Whereas Santiago has the duo up front, this squad counters with a sub-40 second scoring gap and on paper, their fifth would be ahead of Santiago's third.
11. Crescenta Valley (Div. 1) - Rowan Fitzgerald made his debut with the 15:43 victory on a tough Carbon Canyon course. They've developed a nicely packed quartet behind their front two. With Parker Simmons coming into the mix, we expect the group to advance into the higher tier.
12. Capistrano Valley (Div. 3)- The group ran better at Woodbridge than they did at Dana Hills but revealed more depth as a whole. Impressive results at Laguna Hills earlier last month reveal that the group is ready for the hills of Mt. SAC.

13. Royal (Div. 2)
14. Thousand Oaks (Div. 2)
15. Palos Verdes (Div. 3)
16. Long Beach Poly (Div. 1)
17. Foothill (Div. 2)
18. Vista Murrieta (Div. 1)
19. Arcadia (Div. 1)
20. Santa Ana (Div. 1)
21. Redondo Union (Div. 1)
22. Trabuco Hills (Div. 1)
23. Rancho Cucamonga (Div. 1)
24. Torrance (Div. 3)
25. Santa Barbara (Div. 2)
ON THE CUSP: Agoura, Ayala, Beckman, Brea Olinda, Cathedral, Dana Hills, El Toro, Fountain Valley, Glendora, ML King, Roosevelt, Santa Margarita, West Ranch


(based on each individual's top performance in 2021)

1. *Leo Young (Newbury Park) 
2. *Aaron Sahlman (Newbury Park)
3. *Lex Young (Newbury Park)
4. Colin Sahlman (Newbury Park)
5. Isaiah Givens (Pasadena)
6. Atticus Hall (Thousand Oaks)
7. Conor Gibson (West Torrance)
8. Max Sannes (Big Bear)
9. Ethan Godsey (Agoura)
10. Brennan Foody (Aliso Niguel)
11. Richard Moreno (Loyola)
12. Jai Dawson (Dana Hills)
13. Christoph Waligorski (Redondo Union)
14. Rowan Fitzgerald (Crescenta Valley)
15. Jared Steins (Servite)
16. Evan Hild (Santiago)
17. Tyler Kaan (Santiago)
18. *Jonah Bazerkanian (Royal)
19. *Hector Martinez (Newbury Park)
20. **Jason Parra (Millikan)
21. Jaden Wiley (Hart)
22. Chris Coles (Claremont)
24. Luis Gudiel (HH Wilson)
25. Dylan Bissell (Loyola)

(*-Juniors, **-Sophomores, ***-Freshmen)


1. Newbury Park (Div. 1) - Rested their varsity group the past two weekends as they prepare for the Clovis Invite. Only eight squads have eclipsed the 90-minute team time on the Woodward Park 5k course with the record standing at 89:13 (Great Oak, 2015).  This group should be the ninth team to add to that elite list.   
2. Mira Costa (Div. 2) - Placed third to nationally ranked Cherry Creek and Summit down to the wire at the Jim Danner Invitational in Portland.  With Ella Parsley back and finishing next to Anna Chittenden, this group now has three of the top ten girls in the section!  This group should be ranked in the top-15 in the nation in the next batch of national Milesplit team rankings. 


3. Great Oak (Div. 1) - Rested out two of their best at Dana Hills while Aishling Fabian shined with a 17:45.2 performance. With an Interchangeable line-up behind front runner Kelli Gaffney, 10 girls altogether have crossed under 18:30 this season.  
4. JSerra (Div. 4) - Competed well against three nationally-ranked squads up at Portland's Jim Danner Invite. Mira Costa placed three in front of top scorer, Brynn Garcia, but this group remains the clear front runner for the Division 4 state title.  
5. Canyon, Anaheim (Div. 2) - A marked improvement from their back-end scoring at Woodbridge stood out to us.  In breaking 17:20, a confident Isabella Frisone is resembling that girl that made the Track State Meet n 2019.


6. Santiago (Div. 1) - Starting to flirt with the next tier as they continue to develop depth in those fourth and fifth scoring slots.  Allyson Abandonato's 17:59.5 at Dana Hills was by far, her best performance of the season to firmly secure this group as the third-best in Division 1.  
7. Dana Hills (Div. 2) - Lineup interchanges behind front runner, Allura Markow (17:05.9 at Dana Hills last weekend).  Still waiting for the return of Cooper Murphy (18:11.7 at Cool Breeze).  The all-underclass lineup is on display here for the much improved Dolphins.  
8. La Canada (Div. 4) - Marked improvement from Catherine Mispagel (18:23.3 at Woodbridge) as their third scorer keeps this squad in this higher tier in the Southern Section. We will get
9. Claremont (Div. 2) - With one of the best duos up front, Alexa Gossett impressed with her 18:07.8 performance at Woodbridge but with increased development with their last two scorers, we could possibly see this group move up to the next tier.  
10. El Toro (Div. 2) - Kasey Lynd shined at Woodbridge (17:56.6) as the Chargers captured the Rated race.  In closing that gap between their front four and their fifth scorer (like we saw earlier on), they are on their way to another State Meet.   
11. Fountain Valley (Div. 1) - Kaho Cichon (16:58.0) crossed with her best race to date at Dana Hills.  Samantha Martinez (17:44.5) with added support Leah Ferris came back with a solid 19:12.9 effort at Central Park last weekend.    
11. Redondo Union (Div. 1) - Lyla Fedio with her best race of the season (17:58) at the Central Park Invite while some added development from their third and fourth scorers moved them up the charts.  


13. Saugus (Div. 1) 
14. Oaks Christian (Div. 4) 
14. West Ranch (Div. 2)
16. Chino Hills (Div. 1) 
17. Vista Murrieta (Div. 1) 
18. Rancho Cucamonga (Div. 1) 
19. Beckman (Div. 1) 
20. La Serna (Div. 1)
21. Brea Olinda (Div. 3)
22. Huntington Beach (Div. 1)
23. Quartz Hill (Div. 1)
24. San Clemente (Div. 1)
25. Torrance (Div. 3)

ON THE CUSP: Ayala, Citrus Valley, Foothill, Harvard Westlake, Laguna Beach, Murrieta Valley, Riverside Poly, Roosevelt, Westlake, Yucaipa


(based on each individual's best performance in 2021)

1. Dalia Frias (Mira Costa)
2. ***Sadie Engelhardt (Ventura)
3. -Sam McDonnell (Newbury Park)
4. ***Holly Barker (Laguna Hills)
5. *Anna Chittenden (Mira Costa)
6. *JiaLian Mackey (Viewpoint)
7. *Aishling Callanan (Peninsula)
8. Ella Parsley (Mira Costa) 
9. Isabella Duarte (Saugus)
10. Maddie Coles (Claremont)
11. *Kelli Gaffney (Great Oak)
12. Georgia McCorkle (Agoura)
13. *Ailish Hawkins (Newbury Park)
14. **Makenzie McRae (Huntington Beach)
15. *Brianne Smith (Quartz Hill)
16. Kaho Cichon (Fountain Valley)
17. **Denise Chen (Claremont)
18. **Payton Godsey (Oaks Christian)
19. Mia Chavez (Chino)
20. *Allura Markow (Dana Hills)
21. ***Brynn Garcia (JSerra)
22. Morgan Nygren (Newbury Park)
23. ***Tiffany Sax (Newbury Park)
24. *Jadyn Zdanavage (Portola)
25. **Arielle McKenzie (La Canada)
25. *Sydney Rome (Yorba Linda)

(*-Juniors, **-Sophomores, ***-Freshmen)


Mark Gardner is a longtime former XC and TF head coach who contributes to MileSplitCA as the Southern Section editor.

Photos by Lyzette Adams, Josh Barber, and Raymond Tran.