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 girl's side to watch for in 2021.
Chloe Overberg, Asotin
No other runner in Washington is more eager to get this cross country season started than Chloe Overberg. After missing her entire sophomore season in 2019, Overberg returned to racing this past spring and ran the fastest 5k time of any 1B/2B athlete posting a personal best time of 17:57.6, and won all six of her races, including the 1B/2B virtual state title. Overberg also had the fastest marks in the 1,600 and 3,200 during the track season between 1B and 2B running personal best times of 5:13.4 and 11:13.38. In 2018, Overberg was fifth at the 1B/2B state meet. Entering her senior season, she is the clear favorite to win the individual state title.
Clare "Vivi" Kondrat, Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II's rise to 1B/2B supremacy all started with Clare "Vivi" Kondrat. Kondrat placed ninth overall at the 2019 state meet in a time of 20:21.6 to lead the Eagles to the school's first-ever state championship ending Liberty Bell's streak of three-in-a-row. In only four races this last cross country season, Kondrat went undefeated and posted a new 5k best time of 19:09 and won her second consecutive Sea-Tac League individual title while bringing home another team title for Pope John Paul II for a third straight year. Her racing experience and leadership will carry Pope John Paul II to their second consecutive state title.
Angelina Widman, Liberty (Spangle)
Angelina Widman was one spot away from a podium finish at the 2019 1B/2B state meet her freshman year. Widman is heading into her junior season, coming off a much-improved cross country campaign clocking a new personal best time for a 5k in 20:00, ranking her as one of the top three returning runners this fall. In the spring, Widman won her first Northeast 2B title in the 3,200 and finished third in the 1,600 in the same meet. Ran personal best times of 5:43 and 12:46.02.
Suzie Johnson, Cedar Tree Classical Christian
No surprises from Suzie Johnson this past spring going undefeated through the cross country season. The 2019 fifth-place finisher at the 1B/2B state meet ran a season-best mark of 20:05.7 for a 5k and will be among a close contingent of runners competing for a runner-up finish at this year's state meet. Johnson ran a lifetime 5k best time of 19:19.6 her sophomore season and placed second at the 1B/2B District 4 Championships behind defending 1B/2B state champion, Life Christian's Gabby Martin. Since there is not a track team at Cedar Tree, Johnson competed for Prairie and ran personal best times in the 800 (2:27.21), the 1,600 (5:33.41), and the 3,200 (12:21.2).
Mya Edwards, Kettle Falls
On paper, Mya Edwards is consistently is one of the best 1B/2B runners when it comes to postseason meets. Although she hasn't run a personal best 5k time since her freshman season, the soon-to-be Kettle Falls senior has done plenty enough to earn herself a spot on the podium in her two appearances at the state meet. Most recently a fourth-place run at state in 2019 was Edwards' best finish in Pasco. In track, Edwards clocked a season-best 2:31.2 in the 800, while she ran a personal best 5:39.87 in the 1,600.
Selena Niemi, Rainier
Selena Niemi has proven she is one of the better runners in 1B/2B, but what can she do this season to build upon her success to be a great runner? The Rainier senior got competitive racing experience her sophomore season taking a win at the Fort Steilacoom Invite and placed sixth at the Capital Invite. However, Niemi didn't expect a 12th place finish at state after some early season successes. More racing at big Invites like Fort Steilacoom might be needed for Niemi to gain confidence heading into the state meet this fall. Niemi enters her final year at Rainier with a 5k personal best time of 19:37.5 and is a two-time podium finisher.
Sabrina Sharp, Chewelah
First-year runner Sabrina Sharp proved hard work would get you PR's, even if you have only run five races in your entire life in a span of a month. Chewelah's top runner went from running 23:39.3 in her first-ever 5k race to running 20:12 at the Northeast 2B League Championships placing third overall. The numbers only got better in track as Sharp also ran the second-fastest 1,600 time in 2B at 5:33.81, and ranked eighth in the 800 running 2:35.88. Sharp will be one of the bigger surprises this fall.
Four Teams to Watch for:
Pope John Paul II
- After winning the 2019 1B/2B team title in one of the biggest upsets of the season, the Pope John Paul II girls reload once again for what should be another fantastic group under head coach Larry Weber. With four runners returning this season from that state championship team, including senior Clare "Vivi" Kondrat, the Eagles are an early favorite to win their second-consecutive title.
Cedar Tree Classical Christian
- To think this program started up in 2016 and has the chance to bring home not only their first state team trophy in school history but to be potential runner-ups as well could be one of the best stories of the year. Suzie Johnson has set the standard for this Cedar Tree team, and her teammates are starting to follow in her footsteps.
- In 2019, five girls represented Garfield-Palouse at the state meet and were the only team with five runners competing. This group finished 10th overall. Four of those runners, led by Kennedy Cook, return this season as the third-best team at the 1B/2B level and are on the cusp of bringing home the program's first-ever trophy.
- Ilwaco could be a good group this season. The only issue is their current lack of depth. Only five runners ran for the Fisherwomen this spring with their best runner being Emma Brundage coming into the fall with a time of 21:42. Ilwaco's chances at a fourth-place trophy could be tough this season when they have to battle with other close contenders like Manson and Tri-Cities Prep.