30 Boys Teams to Watch this Fall: Granada (NC)

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.

Granada (NC/Division II)

Last November, Granada's boys cross country team rolled to its second North Coast Section division title in the last three seasons. The Matadors went into the State Meet among the pre-race favorites and were leading at both the 1-mile and 2-mile splits before a furious final-mile surge by San Luis Obispo overtook the Matadors to win by seven points, denying Granada of its first CIF-State title.

Fast-forward to '22 where expectations for a section repeat and a stronger finish at State are warranted. 

The Matadors return senior Roland Ruckmann-Barnes, who placed second at both the NCS and State races. Ruckmann-Barnes (pictured) leads a group of six expected returners from last fall's post-season seven. 

Eshaan Singh, who ran No. 3 for the Matadors at State, is the only junior among five returning seniors. That veteran group includes Dheeraj Gurusamy, Farin Soriano, Liam Manley, and Luther Hart

Gurusamy ran No. 2 at NCS and No. 6 at State. Soriano ran No. 4 at NCS and No. 2 at State. Manley ran No. 5 at NCS and No. 4 at State. Hart was a consistent No. 7 in the post-season races and gives the Matadors big-meet experience to push from the back end. 

Gurusamy excelled on the track in the spring, placing third at NCS Masters for 1600 meters and eighth in the 3200m. Singh was eighth in the 1600m final.

For the eight-lap distance on the track, Ruckmann-Barnes went 9:11.03, Gurusamy 9:20.71 and Singh 9:20.75. The Matadors top five went 9:36.64 or faster (9:23.61 average) and their top seven went 9:48.75 or faster. 

When applying cross country scoring for returners at 3200m, Granada ranks No. 2 in CA behind only Newbury Park. That is when filtered for points as well as average.

The same is true for 1600m where Granda averages 4:21.58 led by Gurusamy (4:15.76) with atop five at 4:28.10 or faster, and a top seven at 4:34.17 or faster. 

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2021 Returning Times for 5000 Meters
Granada (NC) 
1) Roland Ruckmann-Barnes15:22.9012
2) Dheeraj Gurusamy15:55.6061
3) Farin Soriano15:57.0064
4) Eshaan Singh16:02.5085
5) Liam Manley16:05.7094
Average Time: 15:52.74 Total Time: 1:19:23.70 1-5 Split: 42.80
6) Luther Hart16:26.40159

Scoring is against all teams with returning boys in CA.

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Jeffrey Parenti is the California State Editor for MileSplit

Photos by Patrick Corsinita