Preseason "Awesome 18" Girls' Team Rankings: Teams 12-15

Note: Venice moves up 2 spots to 15th with the addition of Aria Paxton, who I overlooked, and the transfer of Caitlyn Butze.

15. Venice

League: Western

Varsity Returners: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Where they finished last year: 6th in Heat 3 of City Prelims

Strength Rating: 5.5

Depth Rating: 3.5

Reserves Rating: 2.5

Projected Top 7:
Leslie Diaz, Sr. (20:51/Pierce, 2:33/800, 5:50/1600)
Fiona De Rego, Jr. (20:58/Pierce, 6:03/1600, 12:56/3200)
Caitlyn Butze, Jr. (22:56/Bell-Jeff, 2:36/800, 5:57/1600)
Aria Paxton, Sr. (2:36/800)
Petra Schaaf-Grisham, Jr. (23:12/Pierce, 6:39/1600, 14:22/3200)
Velvet Merida, Sr. (23:58/Pierce, 6:18/1600)
Kylie Brown, So. (23:48/Griffith, 6:18/1600)

Notes: Venice returns all 5 of their scorers from last year and will once again have strong frontrunners Leslie Diaz and Fiona De Rego leading them. However, one interesting addition is Caitlyn Butze who broke 6 in the 1600 and placed 9th in the F/S 800 at City Finals with a 2:36. With her on board, the top three are solid, but Venice still needs to work on depth to have a shot at making it to City Finals. Much like the boys’ side, Track times indicate some nice PRs in XC for the Gondos.

14. Chatsworth

League: West Valley

Varsity Returners: 2, 3, 4, 5

Where they finished last year: 5th at West Valley League Finals

Strength Rating: 4.5

Depth Rating: 4.5

Reserves Rating: 1.5

Projected Top 7:
Kimberly Garcia, Sr. (20:53/Pierce, 2:38/800)
Karina Fiscal, So. (23:25/Pierce, 2:39/800, 5:38/1600)
Madison Cowell, Jr. (22:06/Pierce, 2:40/800)
Stephanie Paniagua, Jr. (22:32/Pierce, 13:18/3200)
Alondra Gutierrez, Jr. (22:26/Pierce, 6:19/1600, 13:31/3200)
Daniela Cedillo, Jr. (6:26/1600, 13:51/3200)
Sara Darabian, Jr. (23:28/Pierce, 14:42/3200)

Notes: Chatsworth graduates the terrific duo of Kathie Paniagua and Giselle Masedo (who unfortunately did not compete in XC due to injury), but returns a solid group with six underclassmen in the projected top 7. Garcia has the top returning cross country time, but the younger Paniagua is the wild card here. If she can get back to her 20:38 form from her Freshman year, Chatsworth will be a strong contender to make it to City Finals. Fiscal had a decent Frosh XC season but improved tremendously in Track where she placed 5th at the F/S 1600 m Finals. Expect a massive drop in time in XC from her.

13. Bell

League: Eastern

Varsity Returners: 1, 2, 3, 5

Where they finished last year: 4th in Heat 1 of City Prelims

Strength Rating: 6.5

Depth Rating: 4

Reserves Rating: 6

Projected Top 7:
Nairbis Sibrian, Sr. (20:17/Pierce, 2:38/800, 5:47/1600, 12:11/3200)
Hillary Aispuro, So. (21:00/Pierce, 6:07/1600, 12:49/3200)
Leslie Garcia, Sr. (21:49/Pierce, 5:56/1600, 13:08/3200)
Marcela Pajares, Jr. (22:41/Pierce)
Alejandra Martinez, Jr. (22:41/Pierce)
Diana Gastelum, Sr. (23:19/Pierce, 6:16/1600, 14:07/3200)
Kimberly Parra, So. (14:08/3200)

Notes: Bell was among the last teams to miss out on a place at City Finals last year, but they have a great chance this year to make it. Nairbis Sibrian is coming off a great Track season which ended with an 8th place finish in the 3200 in 12:11 (the 7th best returning mark). She will be a much needed low stick. Also impressing was Hillary Aispuro who was the 5th best Frosh in XC and finished 8th in the F/S 3200 this past season. If they can close the gap between the top 3 and the 4 and 5 runners, they have a legitimate chance of making it to Finals.

12. University

League: Western

Varsity Returners: 1, 2, 3, 7

Where they finished last year: 10th at City Finals

Strength Rating: 6

Depth Rating: 4.5

Reserves Rating: 5.5

Projected Top 7:
Stephanie Cruz, So. (19:38/Pierce, 2:39/800, 5:50/1600)
Chedaya Brown, Jr. (21:14/Pierce, 2:44/800, 6:13/1600)
Esmeralda Martinez, Sr. (21:23/Pierce, 6:15/1600, 14:53/3200)
Jaqueline Lopez, Jr. (22:28/Pierce, 2:43/800, 6:00/1600)
Ashleigh Allen, Jr. (22:37/Pierce)
Nancy Gomez, Jr. (23:32/Pierce, 6:18/1600, 13:51/3200)
Toni Carter, So. (24:04/Pierce, :58/400)

Notes: Uni returns their top three plus their 7th girl from last year’s team that placed 10th at City Finals. Leading them will be Stephanie Cruz who finished 12th (5th best returner) and was the top 9th grader at City Finals last year. Overall, Uni did not have the best of Track seasons, but they do have the Varsity 400 m Champ Toni Carter (who won as a Frosh) in their ranks. It will be interesting to see if her speed can help her team in XC this season. With 6 underclassmen, this is another team that has a two-year window but will want to build on their performance from last year.

The next set of rankings will cover teams 8-11 and should be out by Thursday. Keep the corrections coming too; I want these rankings to be as accurate as possible.

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