LA City Cross Country Pre-City Rankings, 11/3/2012
1) Palisades: Led by the record setting Marissa Williams, Pali has had 6 runners under 20:00 this year. Dolphins return all 7 from last year’s 3rd place team and would like to win 1st title since 1994, after their surprising 3rd last year.
2) San Pedro: Perfect 1-7 finish at Marine League Finals has Pirates dreaming of repeating last year’s title. Garcia, Carrera, and Nunez are a fearsome threesome, but Pirates may need help at 4-5 to garner 9th title in last 14 years.
3) Granada Hills: Super performance at West Valley Finals put the Highlanders in what appears to be a 3 way battle for a spot on the Fresno bound bus on Friday the 23rd. Another great trio up front will also need help at 4 and 5 spots to break into top 2
4) Birmingham: As expected, Patriots have steadily improved during the season and as of now have a spot on the podium. Dowell and Nava have looked solid, but top 3 as a team may be out of their reach this year.
5) Taft: Another school that has improved throughout the season is a young team that could improve some more over the next two weeks.
6) Southeast: Led by two-time All-City performer Pelayo, Southeast had 5 in the top 6 to win the Eastern League and averaged right at 21:00 per runner.
7) University: Behind Lillian Peng’s 19:29 at Western League Finals, the Wildcats were a strong 2nd last week. Solid pack of 4 gapped 30 seconds at league, but was almost 2:00 behind Peng.
8) Miguel Contreras: 5 in the top 6 gave Contreras an easy victory in their league, and with a 35 second gap, they might have the best packing in City.
9) El Camino Real: 4th place in West Valley and they still are ranked in top 10. May need a better effort in Prelims just to make City Finals.
10) Santee: Tough victory in league over Bravo Medical Magnet, those two teams took 10 of the top 11 places. Another solid trio leads them, but next two runners will probably be key to them getting into Finals.

Individuals: Marissa Williams (Pali) became the first LA City girl to break 17:00 at Pierce last week and looks to be the overwhelming favorite. Garcia (SP) and Carrera (SP) both broke 19:00 at the tough Peck Park course, while Fortuna (Granada) and Tan (Marshall) broke 19:00 at Pierce and won their respective league titles.

1) Palisades: Led by Johnston and Tewodros, who recorded big PR’s at Pierce, the Dolphins dominated the Western League. A close to 1:00 gap to #3 could be a problem. Dolphins shooting to be 4th program to win both titles in same year.
2) San Pedro: Perfect score of 15 at Marine League Finals was impressive, as was the 15:55 course record win for Correa. Gap from #3-4 needs to be addressed if Pirates are to be Fresno bound in three weeks time.
3) El Camino Real: Big win at West Valley League Finals last week has Conquistadores thinking of a return to Fresno, but about 2:00 behind top two teams at this time.
4) Birmingham: After winning dual meet title, Patriots seemed a little flat last week, but don’t overlook this storied program. Two top runners could be top 10, which would give them a great shot at top 3 in the team battle, on the 17th.
5) Granada Hills: 5 seconds separated top 3 teams in West Valley last week, but Mrgudic had breakout performance of meet for Highlanders. Will need more out of next 4 runners to leap over top two West Valley teams in City.
6) Marshall: This program continues to be a top 5 threat every year, and after a nice victory at Northern League Finals, Barristers hoping to make the podium again this year. Junior Arevalo leads them after an easy individual win last week.
7) Taft: As expected, despite losing the bulk of last year’s team, Coach Godsey has the Toreadors in contention for some hardware. Only 4th in tough West Valley, though.
8) Santee: Bet that Santee will be better than 8th at City, looked like a stroll in the park for them at Southern League Finals with 7 of the top 11 finishers.
9) Belmont: Nice trio in the front for the Central League victors, but without a better showing at #4 and 5, they could be on outside looking in on the 17th.
10) Monroe: Just a month ago, the rest of East Valley League was talking about the demise of the Vikings after the opening loss to North Hollywood, but those rumors appear to have been exaggerated. Now the Vikings are on the cusp of a spot on the starting line at City Finals.

Individuals: Johnston and Tewodros (Palisades) had the best times at Pierce last week, while Correa (SP) set a course record at Peck and has a victory over the Dolphin duo at Mt Sac. Morales (Santee) ran lights out at Mt Sac and Mrgudic (Granada Hills) had a big victory in the West Valley Finals.

LA City Rankings #3,
1) Granada Hills: A stellar run today with their 2nd place performance in their heat gives the Highlanders the nod this week. Finally at full strength and they still have room for growth. 
2) San Pedro: Haven’t been at full strength last few weeks, but top 3 should get them low points at City. Plenty of potential at 4-5 spots, Marine League Finals will give us a better idea on what will happen at City. 
3) Palisades: Another team that hasn’t been at full strength. Just look at their results from track last year to see the potential. Williams had another breakout race today at Sac. 
4) Birmingham: Nice victory over ECR last week moves them up to #4. Not much depth, so no room for error if they want to be on the podium come November 17th. 
5) El Camino Real: Even without Cline, they are still a force, but it will be tough to place top 3 at West Valley League Finals. 
6) Taft: Will be interesting to see the Torreadors in two weeks try to get the auto qualifier of top 3 in league after a mediocre (for them) league dual meet season. Have potential to garner some hardware in 4 weeks. 
7) Monroe: Has been running better at league duals, but how fast is the new course? Hasn’t performed that well at their invites, but they are improving. 
8) Santee: Developing well, but not at the level they have been the last few years. Vaquero went sub 19:00 at Elysian a week ago. 
9) University: The Warriors…..I mean Wildcats, ran well at Bell Gardens last week and defeated Venice handily this past week. Palisades on Wednesday should tell us if they have a shot at making City Finals. 
10) Reseda: Another team that hasn’t done much at invites, but solid times at their new course gives them the last spot this week. 
Individuals: Another week, another LA City record, as Marissa Williams (Pali) ran 17:10 this afternoon at Mt Sac. Lorena Garcia (SP) has looked great all year and Caroline Tan (Marshall) ran super at Bell Gardens last week. Looked like Asiah Melville (Granada) ran 18:59 this morning to put herself in the mix. 
1) (Tie) Palisades: Ran This AM at Sac looked solid through 4 runners but big gap after that. When at full strength, probably still a slight favorite in a month. 
1) (Tie) San Pedro: Correa had best City time this morning and rest of team looked good last week at Bell Gardens, so they move up to a tie for the top spot. Would be first title since 2006. 
3) Marshall: Hasn’t had much comp at Elysian Park in their league and had a nice run at Bell Gardens led by junior Jose Arevalo’s winning the junior race in 15:16. 
4) Birmingham: Have run well at Pierce during West Valley dual season to win the dual meet title, but may not have enough to break into top 3. Andrews didn’t look good this morning, but expect a better race for him in 4 weeks. 
5) Santee: Falcons continue their steady climb up the rankings, now in 5th. Don’t have the results form Sac, but Morales has been looking like a top 5 contender for City.
6) El Camino Real: Lost the dual with Birmingham last week to place 2nd in West Valley, but has enough power to gather some hardware soon. 
7) Granada Hills: Better than they have shown, would like to join girls on podium, but it won’t be easy for them. 
8) Taft: Another 4th place team finish in league for this storied program, expect more from them by West valley Finals in less than two weeks. Paknoosh has shot at league title. 
9) Reseda: Two freshman hope to help the Regents get back to City Finals. League Finals at Pierce will tell us just how fast O’Melveny Park really is. 
10) Monroe: After the stinging loss to North Hollywood, Monroe seems to be back on track. Will need good performance at City Prelims just to qualify for Finals. 

Individuals: Correa (SP) and Tewodros (Pali) battled this morning at Sac and should go into City as co-favorites. Johnston (Pali) didn’t look great this AM but still ran solid, while Arevalo (Marshall) won his race last week at Bell Gardens and Morales (Santee) continues to look better each week. 

LA City Rankings #2
1) San Pedro: Defending champs had a nice run at South Bay Cup, setting a new team time record there. Top 3 of Garcia, Carrera, and Nunez are tough and 4 others are sub 20:00 this year
2) Palisades: Solid performance this AM in Clovis has Dolphins right behind Pirates with plenty of ammo to end up on top on November 17th. Williams continues to run out of this world.
3) Granada Hills: Any other year, they would be a heavy favorite to go to state, this year it will be tough. Melville looked super this morning and they had a nice run against Taft and El Camino Real on Thursday.
4) El Camino Real: Edged by Birmingham this morning, but so far have looked superior in other meets, so they get the nod for now. Decent depth, but not operating on all cylinders yet. Dual with Birmingham will have inside track to runner up in tough West Valley League.
5) Birmingham: Big losses from last year, but Coach King has Patriots in top 5 already. Probably not enough this year to get much higher in the rankings, but expect more improvement in next 6 weeks.
6) Taft: Led by Alch, Toreadors are slowly moving up, but not as much depth as normal in beautiful Woodland Hills.
7) Miguel Contreras: They made the trek to Clovis this weekend, but didn’t appear to be at full strength. May not have enough up front to gather some hardware at finals, but running well .
8) Monroe: Appear to be the power in East Valley, and continuing to improve each week, but will it be enough to get photo ops on the 17th?
9) Reseda: Been fairly quiet since winning two straight titles in ’07-’08, should be tops in Valley Mission and would like to get back in the hunt at City.
10) Marshall (tie): Led by Tan, the Barristers look solid, but no guarantee for a berth in City Finals.
10) Santee (tie): Another team lacking up front power, could be downfall, but expect improvement over the next month.
Individuals: Marissa, Marissa, Marissa (said in a Jan Brady voice). After this morning’s run at Clovis, becoming the first LA City girl under 18:00 at the storied Woodward Park course with her 17:15 (!), Marissa Williams (Palisades) is the prohibitive favorite to win City and the only athlete I’ll mention this week……despite Jan’s protestations :^)

1) Palisades: They regain the #1 spot by a hair with a solid performance this morning at Clovis without 2 of their top 5 runners. Great duo up front, but may need more help at next three spots to repeat at City.
2) San Pedro: A nice run at South Bay Cup yielded a team time record for the course and a victory in 14:49 for Correa. Top 5 was at 16:07 for the flat 2.9 course, but not much room for error if they want to unseat defending champ Dolphins.
3) Birmingham: Good run at Santa Clarita without Alexander shows that the Patriots will be in the hunt in 6 weeks time.
4) El Camino Real: ECR continues to run well, but will have tough time winning West Valley. Was best LA City team today at Lake Castaic.
5) Santee: Santee is starting to show signs of 2nd place finish of last year. Morales had best time today of city athletes and depth is improving.
6) Granada Hills: Still not at full strength, but should contend for top 5 spot by middle of November. West Valley varsity boys’ race should be barn burner.
7) Belmont: Sentinels are class of Central League and have nice returning group. May need some help to garner some medals at City Finals.
8) Marshall: Arevalo and Nabong lead the Barristers but will it be enough for a chance at top 5? Tough invites should help them to make a run at it.
9) Reseda: Add a couple of tough freshmen to a solid returning team and you have the Regents looking good for a spot on the starting line at Pierce College at City.
10) Taft: Lack of depth right now, expect them to be better by next rankings. Tough meet on Thursday yielded two losses to Granada and ECR, but that’s the tough West Valley.
On the outside looking in: North Hollywood and Monroe: A one point victory for NoHo on Wednesday was Monroe’s first loss in league in 15 years, but what will happen at league finals? It can’t get much closer, but we’ll see.

Individuals: Correa (SP) has looked super all year and won the tough South Bay Cup last week in 14:49. Johnston and Tewodros (Pali) are leading the Dolphins, while Morales (Santee) seems to be finally heating up. Watch out for super soph Alexander (B-Ham) with Vargas (SP) dropping over a minute at each of his invites so far this year.

LA City Rankings #1, 9/22/12
1) San Pedro: Nice development has 6 under 20:00 so far. Solid race on Thursday had 9 of top 12 in 7 team race. Looking for 9th title in last 14 years.
2) Palisades: Led by super soph Williams, Dolphins are a young team with plenty of talent. Haven’t been at full strength yet, but when they are, watch out.
3) Granada Hills: Another young team, ran without 3 girls at Bell-Jeff, that ran under 19:40 last year. By November, they could be looking down on the rest of the city.
4) El Camino Real: Didn’t look super this morning, and without Cline, they will have a tough time breaking into the top 3.
5) Miguel Contreras: No real frontrunner, but solid depth puts them in the top 5 for now. Has been good the past few years, could this be the year to earn some hardware at City?
6) Birmingham: Dowell and Nava will lead this young developing team. Don’t be surprised to see them with medals around their neck on November 17th.
7) Santee: Ran at Vegas this AM, but not as deep as last few years. Needs a couple of more girls to step up if they want to have shot at top 5.
8) Marshall: Caroline Tan has looked great so far this year, but with #5 runner over 4:00 behind, gap will need to be closed to qualify for finals
9) Monroe: Didn’t look great this morning, but expect improvement in 8 weeks. Should would win league, but will it be enough to put them in the top 11?
10) Bravo: Always a top 10 program, with a big squad. Will look much better in 2 months.
Individuals: Marissa Williams (Pali) has looked awesome so far and is a threat to the City record of 17:08. San Pedro’s trio of Garcia, Carrera, and Garcia all ran well at Woodbridge, and Tan (Marshall) only got beat by Garcia on Thursday at Peck and she ran 18:32 at Dana Hills this morning.

1) Palisades: 6 at sub 16:22 or better so far has Dolphins dreamin’ of back to back titles. Not at full strength this morning at Bell-Jeff, but seniors Johnston and Tewodros have led them in every meet so far.
2) San Pedro: Big improvement from underclassmen could be a key to Pirates first title since ’06. Correa looks to be a title contender, but 4th and 5th men will be key to San Pedro’s hopes.
3) Birmingham: Nice performance today shows that Patriots will be a factor come November. Alexander and Solano is a nice duo up front.
4) El Camino Real (tie): 4 under 17:00 today with 5th runner not far behind has the Conquistadores thinking of a West Valley title and possible top 3 performance at Pierce at finals.
5) Marshall: A good performance at Dana Hills puts the Barristers in the top 5. Arevalo and Nabong are a tough twosome in the front, but may need some help at 3-4-5 positions to earn some hardware.
6) Granada Hills: Not at full strength this morning, but should be another great West Valley Finals at Pierce with at least 4 teams battling for the crown.
7) Santee: Appeared to run well this morning with less than a minute gap between 1-5. Morales should be a contender for city to lead them.
8) Belmont: Good returning group, but no results so far. Would like to return Sentinels to halcyon days of the 80’s and 90’s.
9) Garfield: A decent young team, but with lack of depth, could struggle just to qualify for finals.
10) Taft: Doesn’t appear to have been at full strength yet this year, but another program that should be in mix for some hardware in 8 weeks.
Individuals: Correa (SP) has fastest time so far and won 1600 in track last year, but Johnston and Tewodros (Pali) are close behind. Morales hasn’t had a great race yet, but after last year he should be in the hunt as will Alexander (B-Ham).