2021 Top 50 Washington XC Girls: No. 11-20

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.

Redmond's Lili Hargreaves ranks 12th in the 2021 Top 50 Girls Cross Country Rankings. (Keenan Gray/The Runner WA)

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

2019 Time: 18:37.2

2019 State: 10th (4A), 18:37.2

2020 Time: N/A

Analysis: The second Redmond runner to make this list, Chloe Connolly has been a star for the Mustangs for the last three years. Connolly was second on the Redmond state championship team at the 3A State Cross Country Meet placing 10th individually in a season-best time of 18:37.2, which is only two seconds off her 5k personal best mark her freshman year when she placed 16th at state. Throughout her career, Connolly has stayed consistent in that 18:30 range for a 5k, but in COVID times, other elite runners in our state have proven to go above and beyond expectations, so expect her to as well.


14. Kate Laurent, Ellensburg

2019 Time: 18:33.4

2019 State: 4th (2A), 18:38.7

2020 Time: 18:59.1

Analysis: If we weren't in a COVID world, Kate Laurent would have the potential to bring back another 2A individual state title to Ellensburg after her own teammate, Leah Holmgren, took home the top spot in 2019. Laurent had multiple runner-up finishes throughout the year, and a fourth-place finish in 18:38.7 was an incredible performance at the 2A State Cross Country Meet to help the Bulldogs win the school's first-ever state team title. The race that put her name on the map was the 5k personal best performance of 18:33.4 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite. She will take over that leadership and captain role this season that Holmgren held for what should be another talented Ellensburg squad.


13. Maya Nichols, Central Kitsap

2019 Time: 18:34

2019 State: 11th (3A), 18:35

2020 Time: N/A

Analysis: Getting a signature win at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite in a 5k time of 18:34 put Maya Nichols back into the conversation with the 3A's top runners. The Central Kitsap runner got the third podium finish of her career at the 3A State Cross Country Meet placing 11th in 18:35 in a heavily dominated senior race. To go with that 11th place individual medal, Nichols also led the Cougars to a fourth-place team finish. Nichols hasn't run a 5k personal best time since her freshman year when she placed ninth at 3A state, but this being her last high school cross country season, there's no doubt she won't be able to break that mark this spring.


12. Lili Hargreaves, Redmond

2019 Time: 18:31.4

2019 State: 9th (4A), 18:36.6

2020 Time: N/A

Analysis: Along with Dahl and Connolly from Redmond, Lili Hargreaves completes what is arguably the best trio of runners in the state this season. Hargreaves had shown a ton of growth over the course of three years, specifically last season when she ran a new 5k personal best time of 18:31.4 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite and then finished ninth individually at the 4A State Cross Country Meet leading the Mustangs to a team championship. The Seattle University commit has set the standard for the Redmond program's future, and I can't wait to see what she can do in her senior season.


11. Samantha Williams, Skyview

2019 Time: 18:29.4

2019 State: 5th (4A), 18:29.4

2020 Time: 19:04

Analysis: The first time Samantha Williams broke the 19 minute barrier for a 5k and then a week later won the Division 2 Varsity race at Nike Portland XC by 30 seconds, we got an idea of what a talented athlete was developing down at Skyview. Just a year after running 20:25.4 and placing 98th at the 4A State Cross Country Meet, Williams had one of the best improvements in Pasco running a new 5k personal best time of 18:29.4 and placing fifth. Aside from one race, Williams was top six or better in each of her races, which is very impressive given the competition she has to go up against in the Greater St. Helens League.


To view previous 2021 top 50 Washington cross country rankings, click below:

Girls 21-30 | Girls 31-40 | Girls 41-50 | Boys 1-10 | Boys 11-20 | Boys 21-30 | Boys 31-40 | Boys 41-50

Note: The 2021 Washington Girls' Top 50 Cross Country Rankings were compiled by The Runner WA's cross country and track and field analyst Keenan Gray.

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