CIF-State Rankings w/ notes! (9/17/12)

Released September 17, 2012
By Rich Gonzalez 
Editor, PrepCalTrack

SEPT. 18 UPDATE NOTE: The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section just this morning (September 18) released its CBED classification divisions for the 2012 cross-country season. As a result, the rankings for Boys Division 2 have been modified to reflect a new #10 as Woodcreek has been relocated to Div. 1. – R.G.

Food for thought: “The contenders chase titles at the end of the year. The pretenders chase rankings at the beginning of the year.”


1. Arcadia (SS)
2. Vista Murrieta, Murrieta (SS)
3. Madera South, Madera (CE)
4. Carlsbad (SD)
5. Trabuco Hills, Mission Viejo (SS)
6. Great Oak, Temecula (SS)
7. De La Salle, Concord (NC)
8. Long Beach Poly, Long Beach (SS)
9. Bellarmine, San Jose (CC)
10. Carlmont (CC)
Notes: Not sure how many people saw Arcadia’s spectacular performance coming. We did. The Apaches were our top-ranked team when our data work was completed at the start of summer. Then, in mid-August we learned that a top national-class frosh was added to the mix, making their advantage over the rest even greater. By the way, what everyone saw on Saturday was not its best. One projected starter, sidelined by injury, has yet to compete this season… Vista Murrieta is a tad better than some of their ‘results’ show on paper. In-race tactics have something to do with that… Madera South moved up from Division 2 this year and will give Buchanan perhaps more than it can handle by season’s end for Central Section supremacy. To be continued… Great Oak missing its top two returnees and still finishing in the middle of the pack at Woodbridge? No one else but Arcadia can claim to have such quality varsity depth… De la Salle looked far more dangerous when Blair Hurlock led the way at the invitational it hosted last week than the week before when he did not run… Long Beach Poly sure looked awfully good at Woodbridge again (third place), but they looked almost as good at Woodbridge last year (two points behind third place) before not making the state meet. Hopefully, they’re timing it right in 2012… Bellarmine has verrrrry nice depth (so what’s new?) and has multiple quality showings thus far… Carlmont has been through a lot (most notably, a late summer coaching hire) and it has shown, to some degree. A bit inconsistent, the crew still has the makings of something real good when all the chips fall into place.

1. Dos Pueblos, Goleta (SS)
2. Redondo Union, Redondo Beach (SS)
3. Loyola, Los Angeles (SS)
4. Mt. Carmel, San Diego (SD)
5. Saugus, Santa Clarita (SS)
6. Golden Valley, Santa Clarita (SS)
7. Peninsula, Rolling Hills Estates (SS)
8. Bella Vista, Fair Oaks (SJ)
9. Del Campo, Fair Oaks (SJ)
10. Ayala, Chino Hills (SS)
Notes: Dos Pueblos looked very good on paper coming into the season. Fortunately for them, the races are not run on paper – because they look even better on the course! How about Bryan Fernandez up front? Quite a stunning start for him so far. … We’re not afraid to say that the rest of the division has plenty to improve upon. Some surprised coaches have privately emailed, or called or texted, asking how their team can be ranked. Well, the division is not at a high-end quality to start the season. We think that will change… Redondo Union has three studs up front. If they all have a good day, their squad is in the driver’s seat for the runner-up spot. … Loyola looked clearly better at Mt. Carmel in Week #2 than at Great Cow in Week #1. No surprise…. Saugus finally had its #1 returnee make his season debut last weekend, making a nice difference. They may be #5 this week, but they are very close (as is #3 and #4) to #2 Redondo… Golden Valley has had a nice start thus far under a new coach. Team depth (a 1:09 scoring spread on an easy Woodbridge course caught our attention) could be somewhat of an issue come championship time, especially if the rest of the division comes together as we expect… The conference battle between Bella Vista and Del Campo will be fun to track. BV handily won their first matchup, but Del Campo looked more prepared at Woodbridge. Del Campo clearly has huge upside.

1. Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates (SS)
2. St. John Bosco, Bellflower (SS)
3. Brea Olinda, Brea (SS)
4. Oak Park (SS)
5. Cathedral, Los Angeles (SS)
6. Miramonte, Orinda (NC)
7. Jurupa Hills, Fontana (SS)
8. Acalanes, Lafayette (NC)
9. Redwood, Larkspur (NC)
10. Corona del Mar, Newport Beach (SS)
Notes: Both Palos Verdes and St. John Bosco like hiding their cards and are masterful at saving for and pointing toward postseason. St. John Bosco started the season with the statistical edge, but PV might have enjoyed the better summer. A loooong ways to go! … Brea Olinda figured to already be pretty good, but the arrival of frosh phenom Austin Tamagno gives them the inside track as the chase pack after the top two teams…. Miramonte has already started off nicely. They had little returning in terms of depth, but have clearly addressed that. So far, it’s promising… Jurupa Hills in only a school in its third year of existence, but it is rising quickly… This division has to have pretty solid depth when a squad like Redwood has to sit way down at #9. We think that’ll change at Stanford.

1. Fillmore (SS)
2. Piner, Santa Rosa (NC)
3. Don Bosco, Rosemead (SS)
4. Salesian, Los Angeles (SS)
5. Seaside (CC)
6. San Lorenzo Valley, Felton (CC)
7. Crean Lutheran, Irvine (SS)
8. Sir Francis Drake, San Anselmo (NC)
9. Big Bear, Big Bear Lake (SS)
10. Crespi, Encino (SS)
Note: Aside from Arcadia in Division 1, Fillmore might be the next-best lock for a state team title. The Flashes are just too deep and work together nicely. D4 teams, you all have a major challenge on your hands… Piner has solid front-running, but its depth comes into question at the large or more powerful meets. In Division 4, that just means the state meet… Seaside has been the pleasant surprise so far… Big Bear has the most upside of any team in the division. It was also missing two scorers at Woodbridge.

1. St. Margaret’s, San Juan Capistrano (SS)
2. St. Joseph Notre Dame, Alameda (NC)
3. Flintridge Prep, La Canada Flintridge (SS)
4. Xavier Prep, Palm Desert (SS)
5. San Francisco University, San Francisco (NC)
6. Athenian, Danville (NC)
7. Chadwick, Palos Verdes Peninsula (SS)
8. Thacher, Ojai (SS)
9. Sage Hill, Newport Beach (SS)
10. Sonoma Academy, Santa Rosa (NC)
Notes: The gap has closed between two-time defending state champion St. Margaret’s and the rest of the field (having a top runner opt for lacrosse full time didn’t help), but the coaching staff has been pushing all the right buttons in recent years. So far, they’ve already made one smart move early this season… Don’t look for much from St. Joseph Notre Dame early. They tend to come on late… A few of the rest of the ranked teams have already lost, albeit with back stories that otherwise make those results misleading. Many partial lineups thus far. Keep in mind that data merges from divisional teams across the state at times will alter the order between same-region teams and their local outcomes, depending on team makeup. That’s more common in Division 5, especially in the early going.

1. Great Oak, Temecula (SS)
2. St. Francis, Sacramento (SJ)
3. Simi Valley (SS)
4. Buchanan, Clovis (CE)
5. Capistrano Valley, San Juan Capistrano (SS)
6. Ventura (SS)
7. Davis (SJ)
8. Arcadia (SS)
9. Yucaipa (SS)
10. Granada, Livermore (NC)
Notes: Great Oak won not only the Sweepstakes Race at Woodbridge, but their B squad won the Rated race as well. That being said, Simi Valley projects as the #1 in the division once healthy. They finished not too far behind Great Oak at Woodbridge despite missing their projected #2 and #3 runners. So long as those girls come back patiently and carefully, the Pioneers shall be good to go, Still, that has to happen first… St. Francis has been superb. Great front-running and solid depth has them matching up pretty close to what we have for Great Oak at this time. It should be a fierce three-way battle in Fresno come November… Ventura is quality, but look for them to run ‘reserved’ in the early going as they build up to be fresh and ready for the end. Although they would eventually drop in the rankings if not showing well in the early going, don’t count them out. The Cougars placed sixth at last year’s state meet and return all five scorers. None of the five teams ahead of them can make that claim… Arcadia is the one team with two very different looks. With one of its top talents unavailable for Saturday morning meets (Mt. SAC, CIF Finals, State Meet, etc.) due to her religious traditions, the team’s depth concerns will be challenged on those instances. However, she is available to run Saturday night (as was the case at Woodbridge) and in league’s day meets during the week. So the Apaches will look very tough in league and at Woodbridge, but otherwise could be more susceptible against leading squads at the remaining weekend invitatationals.

1. Saugus, Santa Clarita (SS)
2. La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad (SD)
3. Canyon, Anaheim (SS)
4. Mira Costa, Manhattan Beach (SS)
5. Redondo Union, Redondo Beach (SS)
6. Tesoro, Las Flores (SS)
7. Foothill, Santa Ana (SS)
8. Woodbridge, Irvine (SS)
9. Serrano, Phelan (SS)
9. Ayala, Chino Hills (SS)
Notes: Anyone who thought Saugus was due for a down year REALLY hadn’t been paying attention. Despite key graduation losses, the Centurions’ cupboard was anything but bare. Saugus is the Division II favorite and this group likely will go down as one of the very best in state history by season’s end, a huge testament to the program and its leadership both among its runners as well as its coaching staff… HOWEVER, La Costa Canyon is not out of the title picture by any means. The Mavericks are loaded, seasoned and tough. In the end, the tougher of those two teams will prevail, and both will make their schools very proud… Serrano was shorthanded at Woodbridge, a case that has traditionally afflicted them early on in recent years.

1. Vista Del Lago, Folsom (SJ)
2. Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates (SS)
3. Acalanes, Lafayette (NC)
4. Bonita, La Verne (SS)
5. Las Lomas, Walnut Creek (NC)
6. Laguna Hills (SS)
7. Redwood, Larkspur (NC)
8. Northwood, Irvine (SS)
9. San Luis Obispo (SS)
10. Granite Hills, Apple Valley (SS)
It could be a two-team tussle at state between VDL’s strength vs. Palos Verdes’ depth. That said, don’t put too much stock in certain performances so far. The contender teams always plan for the end and the chase for titles. The pretenders try to run fast every week and chase the rankings… Expect much interchange between the rest of the squads. Not much separates them, at least in the early going.

1. San Lorenzo Valley, Felton (CC)
2. JSerra, San Juan Capistrano (SS)
3. Mayfield, Pasadena (SS)
4. La Reina, Thousand Oaks (SS)
5. El Segundo (SS)
6. Arcata (NC)
7. Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks (SS)
8. Harvard-Westlake, Studio City (SS)
9. Paraclete, Lancaster (SS)
10. Scotts Valley (CC)
Notes: San Lorenzo Valley and JSerra shape up on another level. That said, it might be a while before JSerra can challenge SLV as the crew might have one of its top girls out until close to the start of postseason… This division is typically the one where the order changes significantly and where roster depth comes under attack, leading to greater rankings volatility than in any other division.

1. San Francisco University, San Francisco (NC)
2. Thacher, Ojai (SS)
3. Branson, Ross (NC)
4. Xavier Prep, Palm Desert (SS)
5. College Prep, Oakland (NC)
6. Flintridge Prep, La Canada Flintridge (SS)
7. St. Joseph, Santa Maria (SS)
8. Vistamar, El Segundo (SS)
9. Lick-Wilmerding, San Francisco (NC)
10. Pacific Ridge, Carlsbad (SD)
Notes: The top three teams could all interchange in the short term. San Francisco University never gives much to gauge off of in the early going but they return fine quality… One thing to keep in mind is that Branson is a terror up front and its respectable depth means the rest of the division — not necessarily the top three teams — will determine a greater-than-usual role in the order of the top three… Early-season rankings take into account the roster absences due to after-summer injuries, ACT testing, etc. These factors are most apparent at the Division 5 level each year.

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Steve Edwards says:

I would also take a look at La Jolla Country Day for D5 boys. They moved down this year.

Rich Gonzalez says:

Now updated. Woodcreek, previously ranked at #10 in Division 2, has now moved to Division 1, where it is unranked.

Rich Gonzalez says:

Going to update these very slightly as the Sac-Joaquin just today released their new CBEDs.