Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls ended the decade of success for the Northeast 1A League with another state championship, making this league one of the most dominant ones in the entire state for cross country.
Even if the NEA League has been the best from a team perspective, the westside of Washington has been able to produce the most individual champions, but things could change this year.
Time to look at the top individuals and teams for 1A boys to watch for this season.
Joseph Blanshan, La Center
La Center has a star in the making with Joseph Blanshan and this is only the beginning of what is to come for this young runner. Blanshan was 11th at the 1A state meet running a personal best time of 16:22.3 and was the top freshman in this race. Took first place at the Mark Lyle Memorial Invite running 16:59 and the District 4 Championships running 16:28, and was the runner-up at the 1A Trico League Championships running 16:45.6. Although this will be a challenging season to win an individual state title for Blanshan because of the veteran talent coming back this year, he is a for sure top five finisher.
Landon Davies, Cascade (Leavenworth)
One of the top returners from the state meet with a chance to win this year's individual title, Landon Davies has been waiting for his time to come in cross country and this could be the year. The 2019 1A 3,200-meter state champion was fifth last fall at the state cross country meet running a 5,000-meter personal best time of 16:10.8. Finished as the runner-up at numerous invites including the South Whidbey Invite (16:42.2), the Okanogan Invite (16:24), and the District 6 Championships (16:36.3). If Davies wants to give himself a chance to win the individual title this season, he will need to be able to beat Cashmere's Rob McManus in an early season meet to give him confidence going into the state meet.
Jamar Distel, Riverside
Jamar Distel is the best overall talent and is ready for a bounce back race at the state meet this year. Last fall, Distel finished in 13th place at the 1A state cross country meet running 16:27, but hadn't competed in over a month prior to this race. Ran a 5,000-meter personal best time of 15:32.6, the fastest returning time this season, and was the runner-up at the Nike Battle for the 509 Invite. Won the District 7 Championship race in 16:17.9. If Distel can stay healthy, and not miss an entire month of racing, he is the definite favorite to win the individual title when the state meet comes.
Cameron Hatler, Eatonville
Last season, Cameron Hatler got a good taste of success at the state meet and will build upon that this year. Hatler finished 13th last fall at the 2A state cross country meet running a time of 16:02.6, six seconds off his 5,000-meter personal best time of 15:56 from the Bill Kehoe South Sound Invite. Won the Westside Classic District Championship race in a time of 16:08.9. Other top performances for Hatler came at the Brooks Fort Steilacoom Invite winning the bronze varsity race in 16:39.8 and the South Puget Sound League Championships in 16:23. With Eatonville moving down to the 1A level this season, Hatler will be in the hunt for a top five finish at the state meet.
Nick LeBar, King's