Analysis: Great Oak (CA) was second at NXN in 2018 and bring back two of their top five and four of their top seven from that team. This will be a team again vying for the National title. They have one of the deepest squads out there with multiple guys on the team able to make an impact to their top seven.
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A preseason Q & A with head coach Douglas Soles
How long have you coached (overall/at your school):
What's your meet schedule:
Focus meets are Woodbridge, Great American, Clovis, and Mt. SAC.
What was one important moment over the summer with your team and why?
Our Frosh Time Trial #2 -- Color Wars was a lot of fun and involved a lot of our team.
Definitely strong team bonding between the older and younger athletes which is very
important for long term sustainability.
What's the focus on training over the summer for the varsity squad?
We focus on hitting all of the main areas of training over the summer. I know some
programs only do mileage, we do all of our normal types of training as we build up.
Which athletes do you see as a probable five/top seven this season?
At the start of the season, our top 7 looks like this (we are deep and this could definitely
-Gabe Abbes - 12
-Mateo Joseph - 11
-Chris Verdugo - 12
-Cole Sawires Yager - 11
-John Worthy - 11
-Christian Simone - 11
-Aric Reza - 12
Which athletes have taken a bigger role in terms of veteran leadership?
Gabe Abbes and Chris Verdugo have been the guys destined to lead this team since
their strong 9th grade campaigns. They are doing a great job and the team is really in a
good flow right now.
How have they shown it/what will you expect from them in 2019?
We opened at the Big Ditch Invite with 15 of the top 16 boys in the entire meet, so we
feel like we are showing our depth pretty well. Our expectation is to put up some of the
best team performances in US and California history.
Who are some new faces who will make an impact in 2019? (i.e. freshmen,
transfers, runners who've improved)
We have some very talented runners that will make big impacts this fall:
-Christian Simone -- 11 -- Moved from Chaminade High School. He will be very fast this
fall and even better next year!
-Aric Reza -- 12 -- Has always been solid for our team, but looks to make another big
jump and can run with pretty much any of our guys in any race. Opened in 2nd overall at
Big Ditch Invite.
-Leandro Candray -- 12 -- Started showing glimpses of top-end running last winter. Will
challenge for our top 7 all fall.
-Mark Cortes & Ramses Cortes -- 9 -- Isaac and Fatima Cortes' twin little brothers. Both
will be exceptional XC and Track athletes long term just like their siblings.
Overall our 9th-grade boys are a fantastic and deep group!
Six weeks before the state championships, what's a staple workout that's
readying this team for the postseason run?
We really focused a lot on soft surface (sand) running last year to be prepared for NXN
and I think that helped a lot so we will continue that this year. We also do a lot of
visualizations for the State Meet to prepare us to handle the mental stresses the day
What will success look like in 2019 for this team?
The boys set the goal of winning NXN and I think that will be the defining race for the
team this year. We will have a lot of success individually and team-wise this season, but
our focus is definitely on winning NXN.
What's the biggest challenge facing this team this fall?
I think just making sure we stay healthy will be the biggest challenge. It is hard to train
at a championship level without having some kids getting banged up a bit. Keeping
them healthy and on the course at the end of the season will be tough, but will pay off if
we can do it.
Is there a quote or a saying, or a purpose your team lives by? What is it and
We haven't found a rallying cry this season. It has just been more a showup and do the
work mindset from the guys. No fluff, all focus.
What are three big goals for this team in 2019?
-Win our 6th State Title in a row.
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Projected Top 5:
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MileSplit50 Boys Team National Rankings Countdown