You're only as good as your fifth runner. So, who are the best of those fifth runners in CA this fall?
Filtering only for 5000-meter times, we poured over 185 girls teams and pulled out all No. 5 runners whose season best checked in at sub-20:30. That left us with 58.
(Note that times in the database are based on season bests at the 5K distance and that the No. 5 runner in our rankings may not necessarily be the team's true No. 5.)
As an example of that, our No. 1 No. 5 runner is Great Oak freshman Aishling Fabian. With a team with the depth of a Great Oak, the fifth runner is likely to vary from week to week and race to race. In Great Oak's four major invitationals this season, Fabian has been sixth, third, fourth and fourth. But, for our purposes here, her 5K best 18:18.80 from the Great American XC Festival in Cary, NC, ranks as the fifth fastest for the Wolfpack and far and away the fastest among No. 5s across the state.
As an example of Great Oak's depth, No. 6 Kelli Gaffney, a freshman who has run 18:20.10, and No. 7 Divine Torza, a sophomore who has run 18:36.80, both have gone faster than our second-ranked No. 5 on this list, Newbury Park senior Gretchen Slattum (18:42.60). (Slattum (2429) is pictured above in DeAnna Turner photo)
The chart below lists 58 fifth runners at sub-20:30 across the state.