Updated: Mar 14, 2021
After a decade of dominance by the Sehome boys, the Mariners look to enter 2020 once again on top of the 2A ranks. Is there any team that can compete with them? Only one way to find out.
Also, a new champion will be crowned as well with Pullman's Eliason Kabasenche graduating and the field of potential runners who could win will be wide open this season.
Here's a look at the top 2A individuals and teams to watch for this fall.
Daniel Barna, Columbia River
Daniel Barna was fairly consistent as a runner as a sophomore following in the footsteps of former teammate, Aidan Rowley, and will look to take another step up in his junior season. Last fall, Barna was 22nd at the 2A state meet running 16:20.4 and was the runner-up at the Greater St. Helens League Championships with a 5,000-meter personal best time of 16:08.8. Columbia River's top returning runner looks to land a state podium spot this season, as well as lead the Chieftains to a state team trophy.
Hale Behan, Sammamish
In his first two seasons of high school running, Hale Behan has established himself has one of the best at the 2A level in both track and cross country. Behan was seventh last fall at the 2A state cross country meet running a 5,000-meter personal best time of 15:49.8. Behan was also the KingCo champion running 16:33.2 and third at the District 1 Championships in a time of 16:14.6. Big things were expected this last spring for Behan in track as a top 3,200-meter runner, and they will be even bigger this cross country season. As my dark horse pick, Behan is capable of finishing top three at the state meet.
Sawyer Dagan, Steilacoom
Sawyer Dagan is one of those athletes that strives to get better each season and has proven to a be a top runner in 2A after a much improved junior year. Last fall, Dagan led Steilacoom to a second place team finish at the 2A state cross country meet running a 5,000-meter personal best time of 15:45.6 while placing fifth as an individual. Placed third at the South Puget Sound League Championships in 16:04.3 and eighth at the Westside Classic District Championships in 16:52.5. Heading into his senior season, Dagan is the top returning finisher from the 2A state meet and is a contender to make a run at the state individual title.
Noah Hasselblad, North Mason
After a solid first season of cross country his sophomore season, Noah Hasselblad made big improvements his junior season and looks to continue his success this fall. Hasselblad was 11th at the 2A state cross country meet running a 5,000-meter personal best time of 16:00.2, a minute faster than his state time from a year prior. Finished second at both the Olympic League Championships and Westside Classic District Championships running 16:20.7 and 16:11.3. If Hasselblad can get his time down to 15:45 or faster, he's a for sure top eight finisher at the state meet.
Daniel Lee, Rogers (Spokane)
The key to Rogers' incredible, and historic season last fall, Daniel Lee is a strong and competitive runner making himself an early favorite to win the 2A individual title since the Pirates made a classification change. Last fall, Lee was 10th at the 3A state cross country meet running a time of 15:42.6, only eight seconds off his 5,000-meter personal best time of 15:34 from a third place finish at the Nike Battle for the 509. Other top performances for Lee came at the District 8 Championships where he placed second running 15:40 and the Highlander Invite where he also was second running 13:06 for the 2.5 mile race. If Lee can pull off a state championship win, this puts him on the same list as Rogers' legend, Gerry Lindgren, as one of the all time greats in school history.
Zack Munson, Sehome
One of best up and coming underclassmen in the entire state, Zack Munson is primed for a big season this fall. Munson was 21st at the 2A state cross country meet in a time of 16:17.8 and was a top contributor to Sehome's eighth consecutive team title. Ran a 5,000-meter personal best time of 15:57.5 at the Northwest Conference Championships. Best race of the season came at the beginning of the season at the Gear Up Sports Northwest 2-mile preview where he took first in 10:31.4. This spring, Munson traveled down to Arizona for the Desert Dream Last Hurrah Invite and placed 13th in the 1,600-meter running 4:27.06 and eighth in the 3,200-meter running 9:23.43. Munson also ran a 5,000-meter time trial in a personal best time of 15:22. Along with Roger's Daniel Lee, Munson is another contender to win a state individual title.
Cooper Quigley, Selah
Cooper Quigley is an all-around athlete with great speed and strength with the ability to compete with any runner. Last fall, Quigley placed sixth overall at the 2A state cross country meet running a 5,000-meter personal best time of 15:48.8, a minute faster than his freshman state time. Took first at the Apple Ridge Run Invite in the Varsity 1 race in a 3-mile personal best time of 15:17.6, and was fourth at the District 5/6 Championships running 15:20 for 3-miles. Another early season contender to win a state title, Quigley is a for sure top three finisher and can run below 15:30.
In the eight consecutive years Sehome won the 2A state team title, this year was the first year they did not have a podium finisher. How is that possible? Their returning five man spread is 27 seconds, and when you have a tight bunch like they do, you can get away with no podium placers and still win a state title. This fall could possibly be the Mariners greatest team of all time with the potential to have four podium finishers which include Zack Munson, Roman Schroyer, and Jake and Max Gargano.
Bellingham is a very young, but talented team looking to build upon a fourth place state finish as five runners return. Like Sehome, Bellingham's returning five man spread is insanely close, 39 seconds to be exact, and could easily put themselves in the conversation to compete for a state title. Paden Loveland and Will Giesen are two young runners ready to take the next step in their training and racing ability.
The Chieftains are a returning veteran group who could make some noise this season and could do big things. Daniel Barna is a for sure top six finisher at state, and Andrew Douglas and Nathan Gassaway can be top 25 finishers if they can get their times faster. With five runners returning that have run faster than 17 minutes for a 5k, Columbia River could be in the mix to contend for a state team title.
After making school history as the first team ever to qualify for the state meet, the Sedro-Woolley Cubs are hungry for more this season. It will be challenging to replace third place state finisher and Western Washington University signee, Rafe Holz, but sophomore Tove Schweizer is ready to fill that void and lead the Cubs to their first state team trophy. With no returning runners exceeding the 18 minute barrier, the Cubs are a solid team heading into this season.
Editor's Note: The 2020 2A boy's cross country preview was compiled by track and field and cross country analyst Keenan Gray.