National Girls Pre-Season Rankings – #1-10
Here is the list of teams on the national top ten teams. Just a reminder on how I come up with my rankings, this is all based almost strictly off of what each team returns from their championship XC meets (State meet and NXN series, or in California’s case CIF Section Finals + State finals) and their best track times of the year from 1500m-5000m. In the national rankings, I do give a little more credit to how good programs have been over the past several years, but it is not overriding – it more or less just breaks ties between teams that seem otherwise very even.
Now, without further ado, here is the top ten!
1. Fayetteville-Manlius NY – The six time defending NXN Champions are returning five of their varsity runners from last fall in an attempt to make it seven in a row. Led by the second scorer and top five finisher overall in Portland last fall, the Stotans had five non-seniors in the top 45 overall and expect them to continue to have such a strong presence at the front of every race they enter.
2. Fort Collins CO – One of the strongest programs during the NXN Regional era (finishing as the top SW team in Portland each year and never worse than seventh during that stretch), Fort Collins again should be contending for a trophy as they return all seven from last year’s sixth place squad which finished a mere 23 points from the podium. The Lambkins are led by last year’s sixth scorer and top-15 overall finisher Erin Hooker and have a strong pack with five runners finishing in the top 60 in scoring.
3. Tatnall College Prep DE – Also a five-time qualifier during the NXN Regional era, Tatnall returns six of their varsity runners from last year’s third place squad. The one loss, however, was their #1 and NXN Runner-up Haley Pierce. Still, with three returners having scored in the top 60 last fall and two others who scored 100 or less, Tatnall is in good position to challenge for another podium finish.
4. Academy of the Holy Names NY – A big-time transfer from Saratoga takes Holy Names from a quality team to a great team with four runners under 10:25 for 3000m plus a fifth that ran 18:19 for 5k on the track. Holy Names was fifth at NXN-New York last year, but with the inclusion of Estela Smith they would have finished fourth and might have been discussed as a potential at-large candidate with all runners coming back for another shot this fall.
5. Carmel IN – Carmel finished in the top five last fall and returns four from that squad including three top-45 scorers. Expect the Greyhounds to reload as their JV was so strong that two of their runners would have even been scorers on NXN-Midwest runner-up and Nationals fourth place squad New Trier, or at least ran faster times on the at NXN-Midwest and continued to show that caliber of performance on the track with the projected #5 sporting a 3200m time of 11:37 this spring.
6. New Trier IL – In their first trip to Portland, the New Trier Trevians narrowly missed out on bringing home a trophy as they finished tied with eventual third place squad Tatnall. Their first three runners return, as do their fifth and sixth finishers at nationals, so expect this team to be in the mix again this fall for both a trophy finish in Portland and a regional title in Terre Haute.
7. La Costa Canyon CA
8. Grosse Pointe South MI
9. Saratoga Springs NY
10. Simi Valley CA