2008 Earlybird Invitational Preview
by Coach Gustavo Ibarra
With the Beijing Olympics
in the rear-view mirror, we are anxious to get the “real games” going, cross country! North Monterey County
High School is proud to present the 14th Annual Earlybird Invitational! We’re set for a 3rd year at Toro Park (2008 CCS Championships Site)
in Salinas during delays on a new course at NMC. It will be bigger and better than ever with more than 70 teams and around
2,500 athletes expected to participate this Saturday, Sept. 6th. Races will be held by grade levels for both genders
with combined team times being used for overall bragging rights. This may be the most competitive early-season meet in the
state of California with many state and section ranked teams and individuals. The 2008 edition will welcome our first visitors
from mighty Southern California as well as our traditional line-up of powerhouse squads from the north and central part of
the state. The Central Coast Section will put on a show with 18 of the top 25
ranked girl squads and 17 of the top 25 boy squads on hand including the top ranked squads in both genders. Hold on! As cross
country is a true team sport, we’ll start by highlighting the top teams followed by the top individuals.
Let’s get started
with the GIRLS. With the Olympics
in mind, we have 3 squads that should take gold, silver, and bronze. But, in what order? The two-time defending Earlybird
champions from Carlmont are back and come in ranked 1st overall in
CCS DI as well as #4 overall in the very elite “CA Super 31 Rankings”! They lost a great senior crew from last
year but have some fantastic leaders to carry on. But, they will have their hands full. St.
Ignatius was one second back of Carlmont last year and may “Bolt”
to gold this year as they return their top 5 and have the defending state champion on board! They are ranked
1st in CCS DIII and may be under-ranked at #28 in all of CA. And our last medal favorite, Mountain View,
makes their Earlybird debut and may have a “Phelps like” finish on their first try! They are ranked 2nd
in CCS DII and 12th overall in CA. Aptos would like to play
spoiler and not be 4th without hardware. They are ranked 2nd in CCS DIII. Leland, with their
great sister combo, was 5th here last year and looks to be about the same here with a CCS #3 DII ranking. Gilroy
is putting together quite a program with a #2 CCS DI ranking. Presentation took the bronze here last year and comes
in #4 in CCS DII. Valley Christian features one of the best up-front runners and comes in #3 in CCS DIII. Host North
Monterey County would love to please the host crowd with their #4 CCS DIII ranking. Saratoga will be eyeing host
NMC for future CCS showdowns at #5 in CCS DIII.
And, keep an eye on San Lorenzo Valley, the most under-ranked team not even showing in the top 25 CCS rankings. That won’t last. Some squads to watch
for from out of the area include Clovis West, Enterprise, Escalon, Las Lomas, Madera, Madera South, and our new friends from the southland, Redondo Union.
The race for top individual girl honors could be fierce as we have on hand FOUR
defending CCS Champs from their respective divisions as well as a different CCS Champ from the spring 2 mile! Also, to make
things interesting, one is a two-time CCS Cross Country Champ, the defending STATE CHAMP in DIII, and the Earlybird meet record
holder from the course at NMC back in her 9th grade year! The girls will be running in grade level races, so we’ll
break it down by class.
The senior girls’ race should go down as the most competitive
of the meet with 6-7 gals as co-favorites! We have 5 girls on the top 25 all-time list at Toro in this race! All-everything Justine Fedronic (Carlmont) has had some ups and downs but
we’re hoping her senior campaign kicks off in fine style and that she’s able to use her 2:11 800 speed on the
homestretch. Her 18:24 is #13 all-time at Toro. She’ll have her hands full with defending Earlybird champ Katy Daly (St. Ignatius) who ran 18:32 last year for the top time of the meet.
She shocked everyone as a 9th grader three years ago blazing an 18:03 at the North Monterey County course! Her
time tied her with Ciari Viehweg, also from St. Ignatius, for the course record. She has won the CCS DIII title twice and
iced the cake with a state title last year!! Her 18:23 is #12 all-time at Toro. Watch for her to push the pace early and make
it a “Prefontaine style” race. Stephanie Barnett (Leland) was 2nd here last year and also likes
to push the pace early. She’s a two time defending CCS Champ and cruised an 18:07 at Toro last year making her #4 all-time
at the park. Jennifer Bergman (Valley Christian) came back in grand style winning
CCS DIV last year as well as her 9th grade year and topped it with a runner-up finish at state! She returns with
the fastest time of 17:25 at the historic Crystal Springs course. Chloe Allen (Clovis
West) would like nothing more than to spoil the CCS party with her fine 11:06 2 mile good for 14th in state.
Hayley Pascale (Carlmont) returns and could sneak in for a podium medal! Her 18:37 at Toro is #25 all-time. Mary Reynolds (Mountain View) has great speed with a 5:01 mile and sits at #19 all-time at Toro with an 18:33.
Her teammate, Alex Westbrook, should be along for the ride. Jean Feng (Monta Vista), Kathleen Miller (Gilroy), and Courtney Allen (San Benito) are as solid as they come. Also keep and eye on Kayla Matsuda (James
Lick), Katie Nast (Saratoga), Kristine Talbot (Mountain View), Kelsey Johnson (Santa Cruz), Gina Horath (Aptos), Rebekah Phillips (Presentation),
and Jerri Spence (Enterprise). The senior girls’ team race may go to Earlybird
new-comer Mountain View with St. Ignatius a strong 2nd. Sobrato, Monta Vista, and Presentation should
battle for bronze.
The junior girls’
race features a couple of “mighty-mites”. Samantha Hamilton (Half Moon Bay), the defending Earlybird Champ,
stormed onto the scene as a freshman. The small efficient strider blazed an 18:25
at Toro 2 years ago to win CCS DIV, which moved her to #14 all-time at the park and set a freshman park record! Marissa
Ferrante (Aptos) is our pick as the next CCS superstar with 4:52 mile and 10:54 2 mile credentials. She’s another
very efficient strider that may make us think we’re seeing double. Chloe Curtis
(Redondo Union) and Alicia Brown (Madera South) both ran a 2:11 800 and went
sub 5 for the mile and could take the gold, especially if the pace is slow early on! Jovita Trujillo (North Monterey County)
was good for silver last year and continues to lead the host school. Georgia Cottong
(Carlmont) shocked with a 4:58 mile. Carina Mendoza (Madera) should represent the valley very well. Jessica
Hopf (Gilroy) won bronze last year. Transfer Kendra Higgins (Valley Christian) won an Earlybird race while at Sobrato.
Keep an eye on rising stars Claudia Barnett (Leland), Nadine Huerta (North Monterey County), Libby Brokaw (Las Lomas),
and Peral Rivers (Escalon). A re-match of the best team race last year will entertain as St. Ignatius won
on a 6th runner tie-breaker to Saratoga and were followed by Las Lomas only 1 point back!! And, Notre
Dame-San Jose could steal the whole show!!!
girls’ should be led by mega talent Rachel Hinds (St. Ignatius). She burst onto the CA running scene
last year with her 18:56 race win here, a CCS DIII title, and an 8th place in state! Noticeably absent during track,
she will once again run over hill and dale. But, if track has helped anyone, it has thrust Jesse Peterson (Carlmont)
right into the role of co-favorite here. She was 30 seconds back and 2nd to Rachel here last year but cranked a
10:56 2 mile to win the CCS title! Flip a coin folks! Hannah Farr (St. Ignatius) returns to try and nab another top
3 finish. Akaysha Tahliwal (Madera South) has had a great summer and could surprise.
Tanya Naranjo (Santa Cruz) returns, as do Amanda Schallert, Bridget Sullivan, Jacquelyn Urbina, Allison Siu, and
Caileen Viehweg all from St. Ignatius! St. Ignatius will put on quite a show here. Last year they had a
perfect 1-5 team sweep and a score of 15 to romp the competition! That’s
unheard of in fields this size!! Leland looks to repeat with silver and Los Gatos and Presentation for bronze.
girls’ are a mystery but some teams
will rise in stock very quickly after this one is done.
The BOYS will put on a show with the highest quality field ever
assembled at Earlybird! Many state and section ranked teams and individuals highlight the meet. If that’s not enough,
how about a CCS preview? 7 out of the top 9 ranked CCS teams are here! And, 5 teams in the “CA Super 31 Rankings”
will toe the line in the first week of September!
2002 Champs? Madera. 2003
Champs? Madera. 2004 Champs? Madera. 2005 Champs? Madera. 2006 Champs? Madera. 2007 Champs? Madera! Well, we thought the streak
would end 3 years ago as well as last year and the Coyotes came through like the champs that they are! But, all streaks come
to an end and this may be the end of the greatest run in Earlybird history. Mountain
View makes their Earlybird debut and they lead 5-6 teams that may spoil the Madera party. They come in ranked 1st
overall in CCS and 12th overall in CA! Redondo Union makes history
as the first Southern Section squad at Earlybird and may take gold ranked 14th overall in CA! Flip a coin between
DIII state powers Aptos, ranked 23rd in all of CA, and Willow Glen, ranked 24th in all of CA after placing 3rd and 4th in state last
year! Bellarmine cracked the “Super 31” state teams at #31 and
are ranked 1st in CCS DI. St. Ignatius is always lurking ranked 3rd in CCS DIII. Carlmont
took some graduation hits but re-loaded nicely at #2 in CCS DI. Palma has developed some depth to compliment their
leader at #1 in CCS DIV. San Benito and Serra will like to play spoilers as the #3 and #4 DI CCS schools. Madera
has a great leader, will take their hits, and keep on fighting. Madera South joins
the party and is led by their new coach that guided Madera during their current Earlybird win streak! Monterey, Sobrato, Los Gatos, Leland, and Evergreen Valley should
also fare well. Host North Monterey County graduated 6 out of their top 7 but
did not sulk over the summer. And, Clovis
West, Enterprise, Las Lomas, and Escalon didn’t drive this far just
to show up.
The senior boys’ race should be quite special with seasoned
Earlybird veterans clashing with some out of the area newcomers! Tyre Johnson (Palma) had the breakthrough
performance of the meet last year and will seek to repeat as Earlybird Champ! He has a 15:27 Toro time, good for 8th
all-time, to his credit. He later cruised a 9:17 2 mile and unfortunately most did not notice that he placed 2nd
to German Fernandez (Riverbank) at state as German set the Woodward Park record of 14:24!! German has since gone on to legendary
status breaking the national 2 mile record with an 8:34!!! Cody Schmidt (Redondo Union) cruised a 9:10 2 mile and is
ready to win Earlybird on his first try. Lance Wolfsmith (Sobrato) won
as a sophomore and was 2nd last year. I’m sure he would like to go out on top. Rylan Hunt (Aptos) is poised to have a spectacular senior year after a bit of roller coaster career. His 4th
place at state in the mile and a 4:13 best has him on quite a rise. And, his 15:43 at Toro for #17 all-time shows he knows
how to run this tricky course. Jesse Arellano (Madera) had a historic freshman
debut at Earlybird with a freshman record by 21 seconds with a fantastic 16:21. He was a bit off as a sophomore but bounced
back with a 3rd place run last year. Senior year may be the cherry on top. Nohe
Lema (Willow Glen) has taken the mantle of leadership and may have the greatest up-side here. Cody’s twin, Simon Schmidt (Redondo Union), will make you scratch your head as you see double. Brennan Lynch (Santa Cruz), Dayne Gradone (Aptos), Jake Arveson (Monterey), Alan Menezes (Saratoga), Greg Innes (St.
Ignatius), Kian Banks (Saratoga), Chris Pedro (Carlmont), Lawrence Smith (Bellarmine), Valentino Julien (Willow Glen), and
Peter Birsinger (St. Ignatius) complete the power packed line-up. The senior team
battle will be fierce with Bellarmine seeking a repeat win and Willow Glen, Palma, and St.
The junior boys’ race will have Gregory Harper (Las Lomas) going for his 3rd Earlybird win! 17:06 2 years ago, 16:29 last year, maybe
sub 16:00 this year? Dalton Guthrie (Bellarmine) missed the win by one second last year and may know how to beat Gregory
now to end the streak. But, Gregory and Dalton may be out of luck. Garrett Rowe (Mountain View) makes his debut and
should end the streak quick if he’s healthy. He was 5th in state last year and breezed to a 4:22 mile. His
teammate Ian Myjer is also a rising star to watch. Kellen Levy (Clovis West) went 9:34 for 2 miles. Mitch
Moriarty (Aptos) will carry the torch for his team next year. Also watch race veterans Nathan Lee (Carlmont), Zach Kaylor (Enterprise), KC Green (Las Lomas),
Alan Rios (Sobrato), Nick Olsen (Saratoga), Miguel Gallegos (North Monterey County), and Michael Reher (St. Ignatius).
Remington Besnoin (Redondo Union) joins the party this year. Las Lomas
asserted themselves last year in this team race and Monta Vista, Serra, and North Monterey County will give chase.
In the sophomore boys’ race Domenic D’Aquisto (Enterprise) returns to go for win #2. He ran a fine 17:10 last year and will need to go sub 16:30 to hold the
contenders at bay. He blazed the track with a 9:28 2 mile at state as a 9th grader! Isaiah Lorenzo (Madera South) was just off of that with his 9:34 2 mile! Carl
Gracely (Las Lomas) was only 3 ticks back of the win last year. Ben Bunk (Carlmont),
Jesse He (Monta Vista), and Kevin Xie (Leland) return to challenge. Watch Jose Castillo (San Benito). He was only 15th
last year but should move up this time around. Carlmont returns to defend their
team title but will be challenged by San Benito and Las Lomas, Monta Vista, Bellarmine,
and Madera South will also contend.
The freshmen boys’ race will just keep us hoping they don’t
go the wrong way.
Since the meet will be
at Toro Park once again, we’ll keep an eye on the clock and see the Toro Park record books take some major hits. Matthew Petrillo (Los Gatos-2006) holds
the park record at 15:12. We think there are 2-3 guys in the field that could
flirt with that, especially later in the year! The boys will have to dip under 15:51 to make the all-time top 25 list. We’re
looking at 6-8 guys that could do that this weekend! Tori Tyler (Gunn-2004) blazed
a 17:16 and threw down a mark that will be hard to challenge for quite some time. To give you some perspective, #2 on the
all-time Toro list is 17:53! To make the top 25, the girls will have to run 18:37. We’re looking at 4-5 girls that could do that here!
As far as team time records
are concerned, Los Gatos boys ran a course record of 80:45 2 years ago. The 16:09 average for their scoring 5 may be
safe for now with challenges coming later in the season. The girls’ team time record of 96:01 also set by Los Gatos 2 years ago doesn’t seem as safe. Averaging 19:12 for their top 5 girls is quite special, but,
if Carlmont comes in healthy, watch out! Good luck to all and we hope you enjoy
2008 EARLYBIRD WILL BE THE BEST EVER, GUARANTEED!
Visit our meet website for coverage! https://nmcxc.tripod.com/ and http://www.dyestatcal.com/will be on hand!