Sneak preview: PrepXtra Season Preview Magazine will be out on Aug. 29 in home delivery and news racks. But we knew you couldn’t wait to get a look at the opening the Star-News Top 10, so here it is in the eyes of Steve Ramirez.
Outlook: The Wildcats, after winning the Mid-Valley the past three seasons, look to become the first West San Gabriel Valley team to win four consecutive CIF-SS titles, matching the legendary Temple City teams (1970-73). They will be the favorites and should be be able to muscle their way through the league and division.
2. ST. FRANCIS
Outlook: The Golden Knights have one of the better rosters in the area, and they should be able to lineup against anybody in the West Valley. They are still a step behind Serra and Chaminade, which means competing for third place and a playoff spot is their only hope.
3. RIO HONDO PREP
Outlook: Despite its graduation losses, Rio Hondo Prep is still one of the top teams in the Northeast Division. They will ride the legs of Tayco, who might be the best returning back in the area.
4. LA SALLE
Outlook: The Lancers were the surprise Del Rey League champs last season, responding from a 1-9 record the season before to go 10-0 in the regular season last year. They won’t sneak up on anyone, but La Salle is again the favorite in the Del Rey League and this time a few wins in the playoffs is not out of the question.
Outlook: Muir, despite it’s graduation losses, is still the favorite in the Pacific League. The speed option gives them the advantage, so expect another league title and at least a quarterfinal appearance in the playoffs.
6. SAN MARINO
Outlook: No one is expecting a repeat of last season, when San Marino was 10-2 and pushed Monrovia in the Rio Hondo League. But the return of the big boys up front should make the Titans highly competitive in league play and in the Mid-Valley Division.
7. TEMPLE CITY
Outlook: The Rams made a good turnaround to finish third in the Rio Hondo League and make the playoffs. They are a step behind Monrovia and San Marino, but a third-place finish looks to be in their future.
Outlook: Maranatha just missed the playoffs last season. They look in position to change that, with Olivia and solid core of returners. Taking first in the Olympic League might be a tough road, but a playoff spot is an attainable goal.
Outlook: The Montview League title, with Gladstone and La Puente under new coaching regimes, could be Duarte’s for the taking. They have the potential and talent to take advantage of it.
10. FLINTRIDGE PREP
Outlook: You can pencil in the Rebels for second place in the Prep League. They are not yet at the level of Rio Hondo Prep, but another trip to the quarterfinals looks to be in their future.