Updated: Aug 19, 2020
If you thought there were big surprises this last season at the 1A level for girl's cross country, just you wait till the state meet in May rolls around as the field will be wide open for a bunch of teams chasing after the team title.
Life Christian's Gabby Martin has established herself as a top three runner in the entire state, but how far ahead is she with regards to her other 1A competitors? Currently, over a minute faster than the second fastest returning runner.
Here are the top 1A girls and teams to watch for this season.
Kayla Aalpoel, Meridian
It might have not been the year she had wanted, but Kayla Aalpoel continues to show she is one of the best in 1A and could potentially have a big year. Last fall, Aalpoel was 12th at the 1A state cross country meet running a time of 19:19.7. Ran a 5,000-meter season best time of 19:02.5 at the Northwest Conference Championships placing fifth, and was third at the District 1/2 Championships running 19:45.6. Aalpoel is a very competitive and strong runner that most people don't know a lot about, making her my dark horse pick for this season. Watch for her being in the top six at state.
Campbell Baker, King's
Despite a double fracture in her foot that kept her out competition for the last few weeks of the season, Campbell Baker has one of the best returning times in cross country and will be a front-runner for the individual state title. Baker ran a personal best time of 18:41.4 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite where she placed 38th in the varsity elite race. Finished as the runner-up at both the King's Invite and Nike Twilight Invite. Expect a major bounce back year from Baker, and potentially a runner-up at the state meet.
Alyssa Becker, Klahowya
Alyssa Becker's much improved junior year of cross country is a just a preview what is to come in her senior season. Becker made her first state cross country meet appearance last season with a fourth place finish running a time of 18:59.5 and leading Klahowya to a fourth place team finish. Ran a 5,000-meter personal best time of 18:52.4 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite playing 43rd. Becker was the first at Nike Portland XC and the Westside District Championships running 19:57.3 and 19:31.3. This spring, Becker competed in the NSAF Athletic.Net Virtual National Championships and was seventh in the 1,600-meter and 2nd in the 3,200-meter running personal best times of 5:12.7 and 11:06.2. No question Becker is a top three finisher at the state meet, but it will be a big challenge for her.
Lara Carrion, Seton Catholic
Lara Carrion is possibly the most underrated runner in our state and deserves so much more credit for her successes in just two years of high school running. Carrion finished in third at the 1A state cross country meet running a time of 18:50.5. Ran a 5,000-meter personal best time of 18:36.8 at the Bill Kehoe South Sound Invite to place third overall, and was the Trico League and District 4 champion running 18:41.5 and 18:58. Right now, Carrion sits right behind Life Christian's Gabby Martin for the runner-up spot, although anything can happen in Pasco.
Gabby Martin, Life Christian