It's time to get fired up for cross country! Our traditional XC countdown is back, although it may look a little different this time around - our longtime data analyst Jeff George has moved on, leaving this energizing project to the MileSplit team in CA. Our collective goal is to briefly highlight 30 boys and 30 girls teams that we think will have an impact this fall. We will spotlight one team per gender per day over a 30-day period. Similar to past countdowns, we will provide a cross-sampling of teams from all 10 sections without regard to statewide or even division ranking (those will come later, as will articles previewing each section, and returning athletes to watch). As always, if you catch an error or have updated information for us, email CA state editor Jeffrey Parenti (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll make the corrections.
Davis (SJ/Division 1)
Zachary Ayers won the Sac-Joaquin Section D-1 title, placed fifth at the State Meet, qualified for the Eastbay Nationals, and closed out his stellar senior year with a 3200-meter State title.
Now off to the Air Force Academy, Ayers led a senior-heavy group last fall that ran second to Jesuit in SJS and 10th at State.
The rebuilding process may not be as daunting as it appears, however, when the foundation includes senior Ryan Mitchell (pictured on the banner) and junior Connor Cougevan (pictured above). That pair placed third and ninth, respectively, at the SJS final, and 30th and 38th, respectively, as Davis' Nos. 2-3 runners behind Ayers at the State Meet.
Mitchell has the top returning 5K time in the section at 15:28.70.
But two strong runners does not a competitive cross country team make. True. But his is Davis Senior High where longtime coach Bill Gregg has led a program since 1997 and has won 11 SJS boys titles.
Who steps up to support Mitchell and Cougevan? Junior Lucas Tam has run 4:25.14 for 1600m, seniors Kyle Watkins (18:26.80 for 5K), and Thomas Doherty (18:33.30) figure in the mix among returners. Also consider that Davis placed second by just one point in the NCS FS Finals, led by these rising juniors: Jay Doctor, Nico Taormino, Owen Stevens, Jacob Lorico, and Jayson Sisco.
|1) Ryan Mitchell||15:28.70||1|
|2) Connor Cougevan||15:44.10||8|
|3) Kyle Watkins||18:26.80||189|
|4) Thomas Doherty||18:33.30||204|
|5) Matthew Loge||19:31.20||300|
|Average Time: 17:32.82 Total Time: 1:27:44.10 1-5 Split: 4:02.50|
|6) Elliot DeJong||19:41.80||314|
|7) Michael Li||19:50.70||320|
Photos by DeAnna Turner