The 2020 high school cross country season was unlike anything we have ever witnessed. There were no state championships, district meets, or big invites to show who the best of the best were in Washington.
With the new season approaching in a blink of an eye, a sense of normalcy is on the horizon. After a short season of fast times and unexpected outcomes, this upcoming cross country season will be one of the most anticipated years in quite some time.
Here is your look at the top 1B/2B individuals and teams on the boy's side to watch for in 2021.
Daniel Quintana, Ilwaco
The heavy favorite to win this year's state race, Daniel Quintana has been an impressive runner to watch over the last three seasons. Quintana finished first in 2019 at the 1B/2B state race in his first season running cross country in a time of 15:55.8 and won eight other races, including the small school race at the Nike Twilight Invite in Marysville. Quintana won six of his seven races in the cross country season this past spring and ran a 1B/2B state-leading time of 15:49.8 to win the virtual state championship race.
Isaac Immel, Riverside Christian
Entering his fifth season of high school running, Isaac Immel looks to cap off his successful running career at Riverside Christian with another state podium run in Pasco. In just four races this past cross country season, Immel won two of his four races and ran a new personal best 5k time of 16:22.7. A few months later in track, Immel ran a new personal best in the 1,600 at 4:39.29 and a season-best in the 3,200 at 10:54.86, only 10 seconds off his personal best from his freshman year. Immel finished 10th at the 1B/2B state race in 2019, where he ran a season-best time of 16:39.1.
Ben Graham, Northwest Christian (Colbert)
For Ben Graham, it was up and down cross country year in his sophomore season. The first race of the year showed great potential when he ran 16:52 for a 5k, but Graham was inconsistent throughout the year running times from high 17 minutes to high 18 minutes. However, Graham's best race of the year came at the Northeast 2B League Championships, where he ran a monster PR in the 5k of 16:20 to place third overall, ranking him the second-fastest returning runner this coming fall. He was also fifth in the virtual state meet. During track, Graham posted new personal best times of 4:49.31 in the 1,600 and 10:38.07 in the 3,200.
Trevor Dugo, Pope John Paul II
Trevor Dugo has some of the biggest shoes to fill this season with his teammate and the 2019 third-place state finisher Kobe Deutscher moving on up to run at the collegiate ranks. Dugo was second behind Deutscher on Pope John Paul II's second-place state team from the 2019 season as he placed 22nd overall in the race running a season-best 5k time of 17:03.9. This spring, Dugo cut that 5k time down to 16:44 and was the runner-up at the Sea-Tac League Championships, helping the Eagles to their fifth consecutive league title.
Zeke Crockett, Chewelah
Entering his final year of running for Chewelah, Zeke Crockett will be one of the biggest surprises when the postseason rolls around. As a junior, Crockett dropped his 5k time by a minute with a new personal best time of 16:42 when he placed fourth at the Northeast 2B League Championships. Crockett was a four-event athlete in track and ran personal best times in the 400 (54.19), the 800 (2:07.18), the 1,600 (4:39.70), and the 3,200 (10:47.8).
Dylan Todd, Ocosta
Dylan Todd found his stride towards the end of his sophomore season running a 5k personal best time of 16:33.7 and finished 19th in a competitive 1B/2B state meet. He may not have hit those marks this season, but a third-place run at the Pacific League Championships was his best individual finish leading Ocosta to a second-place team finish. During track, Todd ran season-best times of 2:14.13 in the 800, 4:55.16 in the 1,600, and 10:52.8 in the 3,200.
Cole Foster, Chewelah
Chewelah has another young, talented runner in Cole Foster waiting to make his mark year after a great high school track debut. Foster ran personal best times of 4:50.81 in the 1,600 and 10:26.34 in the 3,200, which he ranked fourth in 2B this spring. The soon-to-be junior was sixth at the Northeast 2B League Championships this fall running a 5k personal best time of 17:05 as part of Chewelah's third-place team.
Top Four Teams to Watch:
Pope John Paul II
- The beginning of a new dynasty had to wait for another season, but this will be Pope John Paul II's year to start something big. Even without Kobe Deutscher, a third-place finisher at the 2019 state meet, Trevor Dugo and Luke Christensen will be leading a deep Eagles squad into 2021 with championship aspirations.
- Asotin has never finished higher than second place as a team at the state meet, but the Panthers could be the party crashers this year to join the state championship club. Ian Engledow and Tanner Nicholas are the lone returners from the 2019 state team, but Asotin will be a senior-heavy team, and every runner coming back this fall all ran their fastest times at the end of the season.
Northwest Christian (Colbert)
- For the first time since 2007, Northwest Christian of Colbert failed to qualify for the state meet. After a one-year absence, expect the Crusaders to return in 2021. Ben Graham is a clear top three runner at the 1B/2B level, and while the depth isn't necessarily there right now, this could be a well-balanced team if Nathaniel Pranter and Nathan Clark improve their times.
Cedar Tree Classical Christian
- In their six years of existence, Cedar Tree Classical will be on the brink of bringing home their first-ever state trophy this season. Timothy Bradshaw and Tobin Hall are potential top 16 finishers as individuals, while the rest of the team has enough depth to put them in a position to finish top three or better at state.