2021 Top 10 Girls Distance Runners

It was hard to believe just 15 months ago the Coronavirus pandemic canceled an entire track and field season in the state of Washington.


But in a year of uncertainty, this was truly a season to remember.


Not only did these athletes get their chances to compete this spring, but they also went above and beyond all our expectations in all aspects of the sport.


To conclude this track season, we look back at the top 10 girls distance runners from the 2021 year.

1. Ella Borsheim, Bellarmine Prep

Ella Borsheim proved her worth between cross country and track once again as one of Washington's best distance runners this season. The Bellarmine junior was first in the state in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter races running personal best marks of 4:48.27 and 10:20.49. She was also second in the state for the 800-meter running a season-best time of 2:13.11, two seconds off her personal best mark from her freshman season. Look for Borsheim to go after the distance triple crown in her senior season as the top returning runner for all classes.


2. Allie Janke, North Central

Allie Janke after her winning her second 3A state cross country championship in Pasco at the Sun Willows Golf Course. (Keenan Gray/The Runner WA)

An incredible career has come to a close for North Central's Allie Janke, but her legacy won't be forgotten once she heads to run for Arkansas this fall. Janke ran two season-best marks in the shortened track season running 4:52.49 for the 1,600 and 10:17.89 in the 3,200 ranking top three in the state in both events. Then, this past month, Janke was invited to compete at the Portland Track Festival to run in the high-performance 1,500-meter race, featuring multiple pro athletes, as she placed 28th of 31 runners in a personal best time of 4:23.42. The following week she returned to Portland to race at the Stumptown Twilight in the high school 3,200, where she ran her season-best time, defeating Issaquah's Julia-David Smith and Bellarmine's Ella Borsheim.


3. Julia David-Smith, Issaquah

Julia David-Smith on her way to win the 2019 4A state cross country championship in Pasco at the Sun Willows Golf Course. (Amanda Ray/ Yakima Herald-Republic)

Julia David-Smith leaves Issaquah as arguably the greatest to have ever run for the program. The University of Washington commit ran some of the best times of her young career this season running a personal best 4:50.27 for the 1,600 and season-best times of 2:13.49 in the 800 at the Tacoma High-Performance Meet and 10:24.27 in the 3,200 at the Stumptown Twilight, both of which were her top performances of the season despite finishing second in both. In addition, David-Smith leaves Issaquah capturing 29 individual wins in track, multiple state podium finishes, and a state championship in the 1,600 her sophomore season.


4. Claudia Harnett, Lakeside (Seattle)

Not very many knew the name of Claudia Harnett before this season, but the Metro League got to witness one of the most improved athletes in our state this spring. Harnett dropped her 800 personal best time from her sophomore by six seconds to run a state-leading 2:11.16 and ran a 12 second PR in the 1,600 running 4:51.95. She would win both events at the Metro League Culminating Event and finish the season with an undefeated racing record. Harnett leaves Lakeside having only competed at state one time when she placed sixth in the 1,600 but has run one of the fastest 800 times in school history.


5. Ella Nelson, Walla Walla

Photo courtesy of Ella Nelson.
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