This article was updated (11/4) to include an omitted team warranting changes in the D-IV boys rankings and also (11/5) to correct a coach reference.
We move from the invitational portion of the schedule into league championships and the start of the post-season with our third installment of subjective statewide rankings by division.
If you are happy with where we have ranked your team, watch your back because everyone else is coming for you! If you don't like where we are ranking your team, get on that line and show us just how wrong we are. Either way, get out there and compete and, by all means, enjoy!
2019 Champion - Great Oak (SS)
1. Newbury Park - Focusing on training while sitting out the Mt. SAC Invite. Will do what they need to capture the Southern Section crown while gearing back up for another monster showing on the Woodward Park course. The group will travel back to Alabama in early December to compete at the RunningLane Cross Country Championships.
2. Great Oak - Captured their sixth straight Team Championships, holding off Loyola in their first head-to-head matchup of 2021. Placing seven in front of Loyola's fifth scorer while maintaining a sub-30 second scoring gap once again provides additional evidence of their placing here.
3. Loyola - Performed as expected at Mt. SAC and with Loyola's pedigree with bringing their top game in late November, they will not easily hand out the runner-up plaque to Great Oak just yet! Richard Moreno (5:12 @ Mt. SAC) proved why he's one of the best in the Southern Section while their fifth scorer will be the key in getting past Great Oak.
4. San Clemente - Coach Dan Johnson and staff have the Tritons rolling toward a potential podium finish at State. No team in the division has continually improved when comparing results on the same courses with the top teams. Juan Chantaca's 15:17 led the way at Mt. SAC while the group has now settled in on a solid (and consistently improving) five.
4. Bellarmine Prep - In a virtual draw with San Clemente when solely merging the division at Mt. SAC, especially considering that their top scorer all season, Tanish Chettiar, ran better at Clovis two weeks earlier. Ryunosuke Yanashita (15:16) put together his best race to date to lead the senior-laden crew.
6. Crescenta Valley - Parker Simmons rolled to a 15:14 at Mt. SAC but even when inserting a healthy Rowan Fitzgerald, we have them just a tad behind the two squads ranked just ahead of them. The rest of the group all crossed within a 15-second bubble while at full strength, this group could challenge for the runner-up plaque at the SS Finals.
7. Dublin - With on an 18-second scoring gap at the Mariner Invite two weeks ago, as the finishing order of their scorers continues to display their versatility. For the first time this season, Daniel Trampe led the way for the Gaels.
8. Vista Murrieta - In traditional fashion, they did not reveal their best until the eve of the postseason. With Lance Denhalter (15:24) and Brandon Calderon (15:25) leading the way at Mt. SAC, we will see how they challenge Southwestern League foe, Great Oak, this week.
9. Jesuit - Captured another Delta League title this past weekend with Braden King rolling to a 15:10 effort behind Davis' Zachary Ayers. The rest of the crew took care of business behind him with the scoring being closed out by freshman Chase Cressman.
10. Clovis West - Impressed early on with solid performances at major Southern Californian invites, and backed it up at the Clovis Invitational. With Benjamin Reyes at the helm, the Golden Eagles still pose more upside as evidenced by their most recent results.On the Bubble - Clovis (CS), Madera South (CS), Otay Ranch (SD), Redondo Union (SS), Santiago (SS), Valencia (SS)
2019 Champion - Buchanan (CS)
1. Buchanan (CS) - Nice tune-up and overwhelming victory over
Clovis North this past weekend. Sydney
Sundgren and Grace Hutchison shadowed one another, both well ahead of Clovis
North's top scorer. No squad in California
has been more consistent this season.
2. Newbury Park (SS) - Sitting back, focusing on training as they project to be the runaway favorite for the Southern Section Division 1 title in several weeks. All eyes are set on the rematch against Buchanan.
3. Oak Ridge (SJ) - The squad continues to impress, with a dominant performance to capture the Sierra Foothill Conference this past Friday. The title was earned despite Quinn Walker sitting out, who forms part of the potent quartet. Slated as their fifth scorer, Samantha Liaty continues to close that on front running Kayla Rutz.
4. Torrey Pines (SD) - Annika Salz missed Mt. SAC (illness) while Scarlett Taylor (17:41) continues to solidify herself as their top scorer as of late. With solid support from Emma George, the San Diego section traditional powerhouse is back and ready for a strong November.
4. Great Oak (SS) - With Kelli Gaffney coming off her best performance of date (17:22), they are a lock for another State Meet berth coming out of the Southern Section. With the postseason here, they need some step-up efforts to leapfrog Oak Ridge for the podium.
6. Clovis North (CS) - Miliana Perez and Ashlyn Leath lead the Broncos into the postseason on a high note as this squad knocks on a top-5 finish. Being familiar with the State Meet Woodward Park course will also favor them come Thanksgiving Weekend.
7. Dougherty Valley (NC) - Gearing up for the EBAL championships this Saturday as we look to define this group with more clarity. Freshman Sabrina Noriega continues to earn the headlines along with Nikitha Bangalore up front.
8. Del Norte (SD) - Hannah Riggins and Emily Russo have formed a formable duo as it's a toss-up with Redondo. An off race from Riggins at Mt. SAC, Russo elevated her game with her 18:04 performance. The Echsner sisters, Paige and Ella, provide the support needed for this team to qualify for the State Meet.
8. Redondo Union (SS) - As the heart of their scoring five put mid-season illnesses behind them, this squad is primed for their first State Meet berth since 2014. Lyla Fedio (17:38) led the way at Mt. SAC while the back-end quartet crossed a tight 30-second bubble.
10. Vista Murrieta (SS) - We lean the Broncos into our top 10 as few teams have traditionally peaked as well as they do come November! Isabella Smith moved up the charts with her 18:04 performance at Mt. SAC while they rested their #2 scorer. The Southern Section is as thin as we have ever seen, with this group still yet to reveal their best race.
On the Bubble - Chino Hills (SS), Fountain Valley (SS), Huntington Beach (SS), Los Altos (CC), Rancho Cucamonga, Santiago (SS), San Marcos (SD), Saugus (SS)
2019 Champion - Newbury Park (SS) - now in D-I
1. Mira Costa (SS) - A three-spot jump might seem like a lot but the Mustangs were impressive at Mt. SAC. Not only were they the fastest D2 team, their time was fifth overall and very close to No. 3.
2. Granada (NC) - Because the Matadors do not compete in a lot of meets, it's tough to gauge. Review coming up after EBAL on Nov. 6. The kind of team that can surprise at state as they thrive at Woodward Park.
3. San Luis Obispo (CS) - Had they gone 1-2-3 in a sweepstakes race, the Tigers wouldn't have dropped. But the tight team bunching at Clovis was not duplicated at Mt. SAC. Lewis Westwood's 15:36 was impressive but the top D2 winner in the sweepstakes was Claremont's Chris Coles at 14:56.
4. Claremont (SS) - Again, running well at Mt. SAC moves the Wolfpack up a spot. Having a second-fastest D2 time behind Mira Costa and the No. 8 overall, the team is coming on behind front-running Chris Coles.
5. Hart (SS) - Coming off a Foothill League title where they had a scoring gap of 50 seconds, and that was without senior standout Jaden Wiley. Junior Owen Ahten and senior Carson DeSpain led the way, placing 2nd and 4th, respectively.
6. Thousand Oaks (SS) - OK, a jump from a Bubble team to No. 6 might seem like quite a leap but the Lancers were one spot back of Claremont at Mt. SAC. Impressed in capturing the Ventura County finals.
7. Vacaville (SJ) - When Vacaville is at full strength, they should move up, but will the Bulldogs be able to put it all together in the coming weeks? We'll see.
8. Royal (SS) - Jonah Bazerkanian was right up there with the best of D1 and D2 at Mt. SAC but the rest of the group needs to show some improvement to move up here.
9. Grossmont (SD) - Team has that front-runner in junior Russell Blakely, who was third in the Mt. SAC D1-2 Individual sweepstakes where the Foothills placed fourth as a team. Steadily improving.
10. Santa Ana Foothill (SS) - The pack is going to need to make some moves here if the Knights are going to be a post-season factor.
On the Bubble - Amador Valley (NC), Frontier (CS), Monte Vista (NC), Mt. Carmel (SD), Santa Barbara (SS), Ventura (SS), Woodside (CC).
2019 Champion - Newbury Park (SS) - now in D-I
1. Mira Costa (SS) - These ladies showed they are in a class by themselves when they dipped under 90 minutes as a team at Mt. SAC with 88:48, the only one to do so. Big meets just seem to bring out the best in the Mustangs, especially Dalia Frias.
2. Anaheim Canyon (SS) - To see how well Mira Costa performed, consider that the Comanches were the second fastest team at Mt. SAC for any division at 92:31. Won the sweepstakes at Orange County.
3. St. Francis (SJ) - As expected, the Troubadours won the Delta League Championship Saturday but going 1-2-3-4-5 was impressive. Only 9 seconds between Nos. 3 and 5 with Tatiana Cornejo covering the William Jessup University 5K course in 17:53.8 to win.
4. Granite Bay (SJ) - A solid second place in the SFL championships with junior Carly Foster leading the way (17:51.4 over 5K miles). Division I Oak Ridge was unbeatable but Granite Bay placed all five in the top 13.
5. Claremont (SS) - This time it was soph Denise Chen (17:36) who led the way as the Wolfpack was impressive at Mt. SAC, placing fifth, just one spot behind D1 Torrey Pines. Ranked sixth fastest overall in team comparison.
6. St. Francis (CC) - The seven-second gap from No. 1 to No. 4 at Clovis is still in the minds of those who saw the Lancers and at a recent WCAL cluster meet their 3-6 were 16 seconds apart, and that's behind Sabrina Zanetto (18:40.6) and Lillian Kaelber (18:44.7).
7. Poway (SD) - Top team in San Diego shows signs of getting all of its expected top-scorers into shape behind sophomore Tessa Buswell, who is following up on her first-rate track season with an even better showing in cross country.
8. Dana Hills (SS) - Third in the OC championships, the Dolphins are very deep but need to start putting things together for that tortuous stretch drive. Lots of depth.
9. West Ranch (SS) - With the 21st-best combined team time, led by 6th-place finisher in the D1-2 Team Sweeps Alexis Fernandez (17:41), and four quality runners, the Wildcats will challenge if a fifth emerges.
10. Sanger (CS) - Even when the team dropped to running 2-miles at this time of the year it didn't seem to do anything except make them tougher. Went 1-2-3 in Clovis East Invitational with Sienna Bianchi (10:59.66) again leading the way. Six seconds between 1-3 and 37 seconds between 1 and 5.
On the Bubble - Bakersfield (CS), Bella Vista (SJ), Granada (NC), Liberty (CS), Monte Vista (NC), Mt. Carmel (SD), Scripps Ranch (SD), San Ramon Valley (NC), Westlake (SS), Whitney (SJ).
2019 Champion - Campolindo (NC)
1. West Torrance (SS) - Did not run their top 5 at Mt. SAC, still the team to beat in the division (and one of the best in the state overall).
2. Campolindo (NC) - Ran faster at a much warmer Rough Rider than anyone else in the division (except West Torrance) did at Clovis.
3. Newark Memorial (NC) - Haven't seen their varsity run since Clovis (except for a cruising pack run at an MVAL meet), so we're looking forward to the NCS meet to see them race Campo.
5. Agoura (SS) - Showed strong depth without No. 1 Ethan Godsey at Mt. SAC. This young team seems to be shaping up well and could challenge for a top 3 finish in the Southern Section.
6. Torrance (SS) - Missing two top-5 runners at Mt. SAC caused them to tumble to 9th among D-III schools there. At full strength, they're definitely a threat to be top 5, but lack of depth is a concern.
7. Santa Margarita Catholic (SS) - Did not have their best race at Mt. SAC, but giving them the benefit of the doubt based on their strong performance at Clovis.
8. Maria Carrillo (NC) - Haven't seen their varsity since Clovis, which wasn't their best performance. VERY curious to see them perform soon after a nice mid-season stretch of training.
9. Northgate (NC) - One of the biggest surprise performances of the Mt. SAC weekend, winning the D1 Yellow race and outrunning all D-III teams in the meet. Has this team been sandbagging on us?
10. Palos Verdes (SS) - HUGE race from Luke Stefanou at Mt. SAC powered them to 2nd among D-III teams there. This is shaping up to be quite a race in the Southern Section, and PV is in the mix for any spot up to 2nd.
On the Bubble - Brea Olinda (SS), Cathedral Catholic (SD), Chico (NS), Mission Viejo (SS), Oakdale (SJ), Pasadena (SS), Pleasant Valley (NS).
2019 Champion - Campolindo (NC)
1. Cathedral Catholic (SD) - Won D3-5 team sweeps at Mt. SAC, beating Sage Creek by 40 and finishing 3rd among all CA teams in merged results - very impressive.
2. Del Oro (SJ) - Competed well against D1 Oak Ridge and D2 Granite Bay in the SFL Championships. This team didn't do anything wrong, and you can make a strong case for them to stay in the top spot.
3. Campolindo (NC) - We can't wait for some head-to-head races between the top 3, and we suspect Campo will compete very well when that happens.
4. Palos Verdes (SS) - Enter the rankings with a huge leap forward courtesy of a strong performance at Mt. SAC, outrunning LCC there.
5. La Costa Canyon (SD) - Ran well at Mt. SAC, but just got edged out in D-III merged results. The teams after the top 3 in these rankings are pretty evenly matched, so it will be interesting to see how they shake out in the championship season.
t6. Torrance (SS) - Missing two top five runners, but still finished fifth among D-III teams at Mt. SAC. Maya Okada's strong race there bodes well for the team's depth.
t6. Maria Carrillo (NC) - With no races on their schedule since Clovis, we have to wait to see if they can make a leap forward.
8. Chico (NS) - Dominated at their home invitational, then lost by only 2 to D-II Whitney at Flat SAC - this squad is for real.
9. Tamalpais (NC) - Dominated in the small schools race at the Mariner Invite, finished second to Menlo-Atherton in merged results.
10. Brea Olinda (SS) - In truth, there could be three or four other teams here, because the candidates are so closely matched. The last few state qualifying spots out of the Southern Section are going to be very hotly contested.
On the Bubble - Agoura (SS), Dos Pueblos (SS), North Torrance (SS), University City (SD).
2019 Champion - Foothill Technology (SS)
3. Cathedral (SS) - Mistakenly off our radar for the first two installments, the Phantoms warrant inclusion here. Led by sophomore Emmanuel Hernandez, Cathedral was the top D-IV team in the Division 3-4-5 Team Sweepstakes race at Mt. SAC, rolling up an 83:02 average led by a 15-second 1-3 scoring gap.
5. Lowell (SF) - Impressive team average of 17:03 from their running on the State Meet course at Woodward Park is hard to ignore.
6. Hacienda Heights Wilson (SS) - At Mt. SAC, 2-5 gapped at 43 seconds behind senior standout Luis (Gio) Gudiel.
7. Archie Williams (NC) - This group has been building up and just showed up No. 2 in the division in NCS behind only Albany.
8. Menlo (CC) - Third in the Small School division race at Rough Rider on the State Meet course with 17:14 average and 79 gap.
9. Piedmont (NC) - Won the Small School division race at Rough Rider on the State Meet course with a 17:12 average and 49-second scoring gap.
10. (tie) Sage Creek (SD) - Takeaway from Mt. SAC without senior Bryce Gilmore is that 1-4 scorers gapped at 45 seconds.
10. (tie) Placer (SJ) - Junior Julian Doak led solid showing at Clovis with 2-4 gapping at just under 33 seconds.
On the Bubble - Big Bear (SS), Bishop O'Dowd (NC), El Segundo (SS), Oaks Christian (SS), Orange Lutheran (SS), St. Mary's (SJ), Yosemite (CS).
2019 Champion - Sage Creek (SD)
2. Sage Creek (SD) - Impressive performance by UC Davis-bound senior Stormy Wallace in the Division 3-4-5 Team Sweepstakes race at Mt. SAC to place second to Cathedral Catholic, the No. 1 team in D-III.
3. Oaks Christian (SS) - Short-handed at Mt. SAC but earned a tie with Sage Creek when Division 3-4-5 Team Sweepstakes race was scored only for D-IV teams. Sophomores Payton Godsey and Grace Geyer, and junior Sarah Colebrooke placed 2-4-8 overall.
4. La Canada (SS) - Ran third behind Sage Creek in Division 3-4-5 Team Sweeps at Mt. SAC, with sophomore Arielle McKenzie placing third and 2-3-4 gapping at 66. Placed third when scored for only D-IV teams.
5. St. Mary's (NC) - Top team in the NCS had a 39-second scoring gap at Mariner Invite with a super-young lineup, beating other D-IV teams, including Acalanes and Sacred Heart Prep.
6. Scotts Valley (CC) - Team's 2-5 gapped at 26.30 behind sophomore sensation Ashlyn Boothby to win Bellarmine/Terry Ward varsity girls 5K at Baylands.
7. Bishop Amat (SS) - Overlooked previously, this group has since won team titles at Rough Rider on the State Meet 5K course, and Mt. SAC on the 3-mile Southern Section championship course.
9. Harvard-Westlake (SS) - Unfortunate finish for senior start Daniela Quintero at Mt. SAC in a deep early Friday race but the Wolverines still gapped at 55 seconds landed 29th in the merge (383 teams) and sixth among D-IV lineups.
On the Bubble - Acalanes (NC), La Jolla (SD), Laguna Beach (SS), Laguna Hills (SS), Menlo (CC), Miramonte (NC), Nipomo (CS), Orange Lutheran (SS), Sacred Heart Prep (CC).
2019 Champion - Viewpoint (SS)
1. Santa Fe Christian (SD) - Potentially one of the best Division 5 teams in history keeps it rolling at the University City 2-miler with four runners under 10 minutes led by senior Mark Trammel.
2. Lick-Wilmerding (NC) - Last week, the Lick-Wilmerding boys notched another BCL victory in Novato with seven boys under 17 minutes on the 3.0-mile course.
3. Nueva (CC) - One of the most consistent teams in this division this year with a victory in the final PSAL meet before their league championship race this Thursday.
4. Francis Parker (SD) - Also impressive outing at the University City 2-miler led by star senior Kenan Pala at 9:06.08.
5. University (NC) - Young University team has been chasing Lick-Wilmerding all season and steadily improving. They could be a surprise at the State Meet.
6. Crystal Springs Uplands (CC) - Finished second behind Menlo in their last league meet minus several varsity runners. Will look to rebound at the WBAL final this Friday.
7. Providence (SS) - Still holding their position as the best team in the Southern Section.
8. Convent & Stuart Hall (NC) - Finished in third behind Lick-Wilmerding and University and just in front of Urban in the last BCL West meet before league finals this Friday.
9. Urban (NC) - Finished in third place at the Jim Tracy Challenge just ahead of rivals Marin Academy and Convent and Stuart Hall.
10. Viewpoint (SS) - Defending State Meet champions still holding out hope for a section title and another top-10 finish at the State Meet.
On the Bubble - Chadwick (SS), Marin Academy (NC), St. Margaret's (SS), Windward (SS).
2019 Champion - Lick Wilmerding (NC)
1. Lick-Wilmerding (NC) - They have been the best Division V team all season and held off a tough University team at the last BCL West meet in Novato.
2. University (NC) - Tough group who knows the No. 1 team in state very well with several races against them so far this season.
3. Castilleja (CC) - Won the last WBAL meet at Baylands finishing ahead of a strong Sacred Heart Prep team. Will have strong challenges at their two meets leading up to the State Meet.
4. St. Margaret's (SS) - Currently ranked as the top team in the Southern Section with the potential to break into the top three at State.
5. Nueva (CC) - Will have an easy league final this Thursday before their showdown with Castilleja at the section final on the world-famous Crystal Springs course.
6. Xavier College Prep (SS) - Strong showing at the Mt. SAC Invitational moves them up to sixth position with the potential for a top-five finish at State.
7. Viewpoint (SS) - JiaLian Mackey continues to be the individual favorite at this point in Division V which gives her team a strong starting point in any race they enter.
8. Linfield Christian (SS) - Ryley Burns with strong 11:24.21 effort at the University City 2-miler.
9. Cate (SS) - Strong showing with a 2nd place finish at the Santa Barbara County Cross Country meet.
10. St. Joseph Notre Dame (NC) - Won the final BCL East meet over rival College Prep led once again by senior Natalie Perez.
On the Bubble - Cate (SS), Chadwick (SS), College Prep (NC), Flintridge Prep (SS), Marin Academy (NC).
Rankings compiled by Steve Brand, Albert Caruana, Mark Gardner, Jeff George, and Jeffrey Parenti
Photos by DeAnna Turner, Matt Ebiner, Jeffrey Parenti