30 Boys XC Teams to Watch this Fall: Palo Alto (CC)

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.

Palo Alto (CC/Division 2)

The Central Coast Section will look quite different than in the previous decade as the section adjusted its divisions to match the rest of the sections in the state. The result is more balanced competition in all divisions. The most competitive division in the past was Division I as the largest schools raced each other for those few State Meet berths. 

From 2013 to 2019, the Bellarmine boys ruled the roost in Division 1 as they won each season to add to their section record 22 titles. The 2021 season had a different champion as a strong Palo Alto team edged the Bells on the sixth man tie-breaker. This season, Palo Alto moves down to Division 2 and they are projected to be the best team in the section regardless of division. 

They will be led by junior Grant Morgenfeld. In 2021, Morgenfeld finished in thrd place at the CCS XC Finals and qualified for the California State Meet in track in the 3200 with a best of 9:08.39. Their top five returners for this season averaged 9:44 in the 3200 on track.

2021 Returning Times for 5000 Meters

Palo Alto (CC) 
1) Grant Morgenfeld15:30.2018
2) Eoin O'Connell16:07.30120
3) Alexander Gao16:25.20187
4) Gavin Haase17:36.60692
Average Time: 16:24.83 Total Time: 1:05:39.30 1-4 Split: 2:06.40
5) Michael Murphy17:38.80707
6) Kelvin Moresi17:49.60795
7) Jorell Clark18:09.50964
Scoring is against all returning boys in CA.

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Albert Caruana is a Bay Area-based coach and a regular contributor to MileSplit.

Photos by DeAnna Turner and Malcolm Slaney