With the high school cross-country season in Washington set to begin in February of 2021, The Runner WA has put together a list of the top 50 runners to watch for this coming spring season. These rankings are based on their 2019 season performances and the 2020 COVID season this fall if they had run a time trial or virtual meet.
Here are the runners ranked 11-20 on the girl's side.
20. Ella Nelson, Walla Walla
2019 Time: 19:10.2
2019 State: 36th (4A), 19:10,2
2020 Time: N/A
Analysis: Despite running through an injury the entire fall of 2019, Ella Nelson was able to put together quality races including a fourth-place finish at the Richland Invite running 17:32.2 for three miles and 19:10.2 for a season-best 5k mark at the 4A State Cross Country Meet. However, when Nelson is at 100 percent, she is one of the top runners in the entire state and can crush any race from the mile to 5k. The recent University of Oregon signee looks for a bounce-back year in her senior season to build upon her arrival in Euguene next fall.
19. Sophia Dahl, Redmond
2019 Time: 18:32.4
2019 State: 18th (4A), 18:50
2020 Time: N/A
Analysis: Right from the get-go, Sophia Dahl made her presence felt as a freshman for the Redmond Mustangs winning her first five races to start her high school career. The Runner WA Cross Country Freshman of the Year ran a 5k personal best time of 18:32.4 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite and was 18th at the 4A State Cross Country Meet helping the Mustangs to the schools first-ever cross country team title. The first of three Redmond runners on this list and she is just getting started with her running career. Big things are coming Dahl's way shortly.
18. Emma Arceo, Kamiak
2019 Time: 18:37.2
2019 State: 15th (15th), 18:44.7
2020 Time: 20:36
Analysis: Emma Arceo's sophomore season was another solid year of running despite no 5k personal best time. The Kamiak junior ran 18:37.2 for a 5k season-best at the WESCO Conference Championships and placed 15th overall at the 4A State Cross Country Meet for her second podium appearance in her young high school career. You could even argue the state meet was her best race of the year as she finished one spot ahead of the defending individual 4A champion, Bellarmine's Ella Borsheim.
17. Olivia Freeman, Bishop Blanchet
2019 Time: 18:38.5
2019 State: 13th (3A), 18:38.5
2020 Time: N/A
Analysis: The 2019 Bishop Blanchet girls were the biggest surprise of any team at the 3A State Cross Country Meet with a third-place finish, but it wouldn't have been possible without Olivia Freeman's leadership. It appeared Freeman was going to repeat her sophomore slump of a season as a junior with the way she had been running throughout the year. Still, it was the state meet where she took a big turn running a new 5k personal best time of 18:38.5 placing 13th as an individual. With Freeman, five more Blanchet runners return from last year's varsity squad, with the expectations being even greater as the Braves will be one of the oldest teams this season.
16. Jasmine Nguyen, Marysville Getchell
2019 Time: 18:29.1
2019 State: 15th (3A), 18:49.7
2020 Time: 20:27
Analysis: From 27th at districts her sophomore year to district champion and a state birth her junior year, Jasmine Nguyen is carrying plenty of momentum heading into 2021 with one of the most improving seasons by a runner in Washington. Nguyen dropped her 5k personal best time by almost 80 seconds running 18:29.1 to place second at the Bill Kehoe South Sound Invite, and in her first 3A State Cross Country Meet appearance, she was 15th running 18:49.7.
15. Chloe Connolly, Redmond