30 Boys XC Teams to Watch this Fall: Pleasant Valley (NS)

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 (jeffrey.parenti@flosports.tv) and we'll make the corrections.

Pleasant Valley (NS/Division III)

Pleasant Valley returns four of its seven who helped the Vikings win the Northern Section title and who took the line in the Division III race at the State Meet.

It was Pleasant Valley's first section varsity division title since 2008 and snapped a Chico pre-pandemic winning streak of four in a row and eight of 11. 

Rising sophomore Jackson Hein (pictured) leads the returning quartet for Pleasant Valley. He ran No. 3 for the Vikings at the section final and No. 4 at State as Pleasant Valley placed 18th out of 25 teams. 

Rising junior Cavin Muff ran No. 4 at the NS Final and No. 6 at State. Rising senior Mark Velazquez-Patino ran No. 3 at State and No. 6 at NS. And rising senior Brandon Underwood ran No. 7 at both post-season meets. 

At the NS Final, Pleasant Valley defeated Chico, 29-41. Where Pleasant Valley returns four from '21, Chico, which finished four places higher at the State Meet, returns just one. 

On paper, Pleasant Valley appears a clear favorite to defend its title. However, when examining the "Open" 2.x-mile race held as part of the Northern Section Finals meet, Chico went 1-3-4-10-12 (14-19) and Pleasant Valley went 2-7-9-11-13 (15-18) among returners.

So, expect by far the two largest schools in the Northern Section to again battle for large-school division supremacy this fall. 

Sophomores Mark Doud and Nolan McLaughlin lead that Pleasant Valley group from the open race, looking to make an impact on the varsity seven in '22.

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2021 Returning Times for 5000 Meters

Pleasant Valley (NS)
1) Jackson Hein17:01.683
2) Cavin Muff17:17.334
3) Mark Velazquez-Patino17:19.705
4) Brandon Underwood17:50.008
5) Mark Doud17:50.209
Average Time: 17:27.78 Total Time: 1:27:18.91 1-5 Split: 48.52
6) Mark Velazquez-Patino18:01.5512
7) Austin Hein18:20.1616
Scored against all returning boys in the Northern Section.

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