Because the Viking Opener is run with the runners divided up by grade level you may not have noticed what a great team Casa Grande has this year.
It has been awhile since the Gaucho’s have been this good. Actually they may have never been this good before but time will tell on that one.
If you look at the list below you will see that only two teams since the current course first run in 1987 have ever had their five fastest boys turn in a faster time than this year’s Casa team.
Eureka’s 1999 team that went on to win the Division II State title and Piner’s 2011 team that placed 3rd in Division II.

All-Time Viking Opener teams
51:27 2011 Piner Div. III 3rd State, 2nd NCS, 1st NBL – Luis Luna 9:46, Jamie Siva 10:13
51:53 1999 Eureka Div. II 1st State, 1st NCS – Lyle 9:59, Morey 10:12
52:40 2013 Casa Grande — Salazar 10:09
52:42 1999 Redwood
52:55 2012 Piner Div, IV 9th State, 3rd NCS, 2nd SCL — Jamie Siva 10:05, Efren Reyes 10:10
53:02 2008 Santa Rosa Div. II 19th State, 1st NBL – Rory McLeod 10:00, R. Byers 10:14

The team is lead by sophomore Matt Salazar who turned in the fastest time for all 741 high school runners at 10:09. Last year Salazar turned in the 3rd fastest time ever by a freshman at 10:31 and went on to be the first freshman in the Empire since Petaluma’s Sterling Lockert in 2005 to make All-Empire first team as a freshman. His sophomore time at Viking Opener was again 3rd All-Time.
The four other Casa team times came from Nicholas Rauch (10:19) 2nd in the junior race, Griffin Wigert (10:41) 4th in the senior race, Zachary Nussdorfer (10:41) 5th in the junior race and Adam Harwood (10:50) 8th in the junior race, all in the top 20 times of the day. And since Wigert is the only senior in the group and they have freshman Chad Nathanson (11:15) on the team they have a returning time of 53:14 back for the 2014 race.
Casa is now in the very tough North Bay league and had its last boys league title in the Sonoma County league back in 2003 and had their only team state meet appearance back in 1992 when they placed 11th in division III .

Viking Opener All-Time Sophomores
9:59 Jordan Kinley, Maria Carrillo 1999 Div. III 2nd NCS, 1st NBL
9:59 Shaun Lyle, Eureka 1999 Div. II 14th STATE
10:09 Matt Salazar, Casa Grande 2013
10:11 Jake Schmitt, Redwood 2002 Div. III 6th STATE, 2nd NCS
10:21 Luis Luna, Piner 2009 Div. III 11th STATE, 2nd NCS, 3rd NBL

Viking Opener All-Time Freshman
10:24 Jordan Kinley, Maria Carrillo 1998
10:29 Shaun Lyle, Eureka 1998 Div. II 67th STATE
10:31 Matt Salazar, Casa Grande 2012 Div. II 2nd NCS, 3rd NBL
10:35 Jake Schmitt, Redwood 2001 Div. III 7th STATE
10:41 Luis Luna, Piner 2008 Div. III 73rd STATE
10:41 Luca Mazzanti, Santa Rosa 2013
10:41 Brian Schulz, El Molino 2013

10:44 Ryan Mack, Ukiah 1995
10:44 Regan Masi, Montgomery 1999

Now the Casa girls have had a bit more success lately and this year looks like another good one.
They also had the best team time of the day beating out Castro Valley.
Preseason NCS rankings had Maria Carrillo as top rated division II teams for both boys and girls with Casa ranked 2nd in girls and 3rd in boys.

Another standout performance came from the Santa Rosa boys who moved into the 11th All-Time spot.
Two of those times for SR came from freshman, as this week Panther Luca Mazzanti edged out El Molino’s Brian Schulz as both crossed the line in 10:41 with Panther Daniel Pride next in 10:54.