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Coe-Brown girls’ cross country team No. 1 in inaugural Monitor Top 10

Here’s the first installment of a new Top 10 list that will probably spark debate and provoke thoughts – The Monitor’s Pound-for-Pound Power Rankings.

The idea is to rank the high school teams from the Monitor coverage area (14 total schools) according to which ones have the best chance to advance the farthest in their division – regardless of sport or gender. Yes, it’s comparing apples to oranges, which might seem risky or impossible, but it’s also (we think) innovative and compelling.

The rankings will be updated every week throughout the fall season and new Top 10 lists will be started for the winter and spring.

1) Coe-Brown girls’ cross country – The Bears aren’t just gunning for a fourth-straight D-II championship, or a third-straight Meet of Champions crown, they’re looking for a New England title after finishing second in the region last year. They rolled to a first-place finish in Monday’s Sant Bani Invitational, placing seven runners in the top nine.

2) Bow golf – Three of their top four scorers are back from last year’s 21-2 team that won the D-III championship. The Falcons have also added freshman Doug Champagne (the reigning Concord Country Club champ) and have started the year 3-0.

3) Hopkinton girls’ cross country – The top three runners return from last year’s D-III championship team for Hopkinton, which also added Maddie Clarke, who finished third at the Sant Bani Invitational, leading the Hawks to a second-place result.

4) Hopkinton boys’ soccer – The Hawks (3-0) have scored 20 goals in their first three matches and are anchored defensively by junior Robbie Ferguson, the top goalie in D-III. Hopkinton has seven starters back from last year’s team that went 17-2 before losing in overtime to eventual state champion Bow.

5) Bow girls’ soccer – After just missing out on an undefeated championship season in 2012 by losing in overtime in the final, the Falcons have started this season 4-0, outscoring their opponents 20-0.

6) Bow boys’ soccer – Only two starters return from last year’s 18-2 D-III title team, but the two-time defending champion Falcons have started the season 4-0. A Sept. 18 showdown with Hopkinton will be a great measuring stick for both teams.

7) Belmont girls’ soccer – The Red Raiders are a young team (zero seniors, six juniors, seven sophomores, five freshmen), but they’ve started the year 4-0 and have shown the ability to both win tight matches (two 2-1 results) and blow teams out (8-0 and 6-2 wins).

8) Concord football – The Crimson Tide returns nine starters on offense and nine more on defense from last year’s team that went 6-4 overall and 4-4 in D-I, just missing out on the postseason. All that experience looked good in the season opener, a 35-6 win against Manchester Central, the first time in 13 years Concord has beaten the Little Green.

9) Winnisquam football – The Bears will have plenty to prove when they face the bigger (aka former D-V) schools in the newly formed D-III, but they have some good size and talent on the line, a pair of standout running backs in Christian and Andrew Serrano, an aggressive defense and they impressed in their 36-22 season-opening win against Mascoma, last year’s D-VI runner-up.

10) Concord boys’ soccer – The Crimson Tide (2-1-1) has allowed only two goals in its first four games and is showing the kind of form it had from 2005-11, when it reached five D-I final fours. Concord’s loss was a 1-0, double-overtime affair against two-time defending champion Manchester Central.

Other teams receiving votes – Pittsfield girls’ soccer, Merrimack Valley field hockey, Hopkinton boys’ cross country, Concord field hockey

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3371 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)

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