Preseason "Terrific 20" Team Rankings: Teams 18-20

20. University

League: Western

Varsity Returners: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7

Where they finished last year: 8th in Heat 3 of City Prelims

Strength Rating: 3

Depth Rating: 2

Reserves Rating: 7.5

Projected Top 7:
Matthew Freeman, Sr. (17:17/Pierce, 1:59/800, 4:45/1600)
Jacob Abraham, Jr. (18:54/Pierce, 4:58/1600, 10:56/3200)
Daniel Pikula, Sr. (18:37/Pierce, 5:05/1600, 11:17/3200)
Erick Hernandez, Sr. (18:46/Pierce, 5:04/1600, 11:10/3200)
Zerrick Payne, Jr. (19:10/Pierce, 2:13/800)
Jack Koscheka, So. (19:25/Pierce, 5:28/1600, 11:59/3200)
Reuben Morales, So. (5:25/1600, 11:59/3200)

Notes: The Wildcats return 5 of their top 7 from last year and will be led by 1:59 Western League 800 m Champ and 6th place finisher at City Finals, Matthew Freeman. Behind him are a decent combination of youth and experience. Looking ahead to the season, they are looking to cement themselves as the third best team in Western League and possibly challenge Palisades and Venice. University also boasts one of the largest teams in the LA City Section which gives them options in case of injuries. A trip to City Finals might be asking a little too much of them this season and they might be instead looking to build a base for their program.

19. Bell

League: Eastern

Varsity Returners: 4, 5, 6, 7

Where they finished last year: 5th in Heat 2 of City Prelims

Strength Rating: 3.5

Depth Rating: 3.5

Reserves Rating: 8

Projected Top 7:
Ruben Garcia, Jr. (17:41/Pierce)
George Gonzalez, Sr. (4:50/1600)
Jose Garcia, Sr. (17:52/Pierce, 5:37/1600, 11:13/3200)
Raul Martinez-Orejel, Sr. (18:01/Pierce, 5:17/1600, 11:22/3200)
Andres Rosales, Sr. (18:30/Pierce)
Jaime Gastelum, Jr. (5:10/1600, 11:14/3200)
Adrian Valenzuela, Sr. (20:20/Pierce, 11:16/3200)

Notes: Unlike previous years, Bell had a relatively quiet track season. However, they return a decent group and add Gonzalez, who led the team in the 1600 this season, to the cross-country fold. Like Uni, Bell has a large team with many underclassmen. Five of the projected seven varsity members are seniors making this an experienced team looking to make one final push towards a City Finals spot.

18. Taft

League: West Valley

Varsity Returners: 6,7

Where they finished last year: 11th at City Finals

Strength Rating: 4

Depth Rating: 3

Reserves Rating: 5

Projected Top 7:
Alban Martinez, Jr. (17:42/Pierce, 4:53/1600, 10:43/3200)
Jacob Raabe, Sr. (17:37/Pierce, 2:04/800, 4:56/1600)
Morgan Touhy, Sr. (17:54/Pierce, 4:57/1600, 11:24/3200)
Brandon Hernandez, Jr. (18:41/Pierce, 2:10/800)
Kevin Jimenez, Sr. (18:44/Pierce, 11:52/3200)
Jake Potts, Sr. (19:23/Pierce)
Ryan Gurnick, Sr. (19:27/Pierce, 12:13/3200)

Notes: Taft is a team losing many of its Varsity members from last year’s that placed 11th at City Finals. They return three under 18:00 at Pierce and will be led this year by Martinez, who improved nicely during track, and Raabe, who made it to City Prelims in the 800. Many of their projected top 7 are coming over from JV, but with some more development from their frosh-sophs over the summer, the lineup could look very different.

If you know that any of the athletes I listed are not returning, I listed an athlete's PR incorrectly, or if you think I may have overlooked someone, PLEASE inform me as I would like to make these rankings as accurate as possible. The next set of rankings covering teams 15-17 will be out on Monday.


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