Updated: Sep 28, 2021
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 2A individuals and teams on the boy's side to watch for in 2021.
Zack Munson, Sehome
Zack Munson managed to get the very best out of his sophomore year. The Sehome star was this year's 2A runner-up in the virtual state cross country meet running a personal best 5k time of 15:10 leading Sehome to their ninth consecutive team title. While those were improving accomplishments from his freshman year, the track season earned Munson his recognition on the national level. Munson ran lifetime bests in the 1,600 (4:13.25), the 3,200 (8:57.14), and the 5,000 (14:42.02) in the span of three weeks in May and June, placing himself top 10 in the entire country for all sophomores in these events. With even bigger aspirations going into this fall season, Munson will look to win his first individual state title and potentially earn an NXN individual bid.
Cooper Quigley, Selah
After seeing his success from this past cross country and track season, Cooper Quigley has turned his attention away from basketball to solely focusing on running in his senior year. Quigley put together an undefeated racing record in CWAC competition, won the Sunfair Meet, and then placed seventh in the virtual 2A state cross country meet. As for the track season, it was a record-setting year for Quigley in the 1,600 and 3,200 as he took down former state champion Brigham Cardon's 1,600 school record running 4:14.9 and his former teammate Shea Mattson's school record in the 3,200 running 9:08.70. He also ran a lifetime best in the 800 (1:54.24). Quigley brings a ton of momentum into this fall and could surprise many people at this year's state meet, but it will be the spring season where we see him at his best.
Lukkes Hultberg, Prosser
For Lukkes Hultberg, it was a year of finding whether or not he belongs amongst the top runners in 2A. As a junior for Prosser, Hultberg won two races during the cross country season and posted a new 5k personal best time of 15:37, coming into the fall with the second-fastest returning time for 2A runners. Hultberg found more success in track and won four races, and ran new personal bests in the 1,600 (4:40.88) and the 3,200 (10:20.95). Running alongside Selah's Cooper Quigley in the CWAC this fall will have Hultberg prepared to race at a high level come the state meet.
Julian Campos, Aberdeen
Five years since Julian Campos was a part of a cross country team as a middle school student, the Aberdeen standout put together a remarkable year of running, going undefeated in league races, won the 2A GSHL/EVCO District Championship in a 5k personal best time of 15:57.2, and finished 11th in the 2A virtual state meet. The cross country running paid off in the track season as Campos ran new lifetime bests in the 1,600 (4:28.53) and the 3,200 (9:47.54) and won the District 4 title in the 3,200. It will be exciting to see what Campos can do in a year with more racing opportunities.
John Hoffer, Tumwater
It's been 13 years since Tumwater had a top-five runner at the 2A state cross country meet, and John Hoffer is a real consideration to break that streak this fall. As a sophomore for the Thunderbirds, Hoffer shined in the track season running personal best times in the 800 (2:04.13), the 1,600 (4:23.91), and the 3,200 (9:48.62) and was a top-five finisher in the 1,600 (4th) and 3,200 (2nd) at the District 4 Championships. During cross country, Hoffer ran his best 5k race of the year in the virtual 2A state meet, placing sixth overall in a time of 15:54.2, and was the runner-up in the GSHL/EVCO Championships behind Aberdeen's Julian Campos.
Hale Behan, Sammamish
Hale Behan's racing confidence has built up since his seventh-place finish at the 2019 2A state cross country meet. Behan compiled an undefeated racing record in cross country for Sammamish and took home the Bellevue School District Championship title in a season-best 5k time of 16:03.9, just 14 seconds off his personal best time. In track, Behan suffered only one defeat finishing third in the 1,600 in the Bellevue-Mercer Island Championships, but won the 3,200 race in the same meet running a personal best time of 9:37.54. With this racing success coming within the last few months, Behan looks to carry this momentum over into the fall and become Sammamish's first top-three finisher at state since 1997 when Scott Johnson was the runner-up in the 3A meet.
Joran Lamoreaux, Woodland
To think Joran Lamoreaux would be running the times he is today shows the hard work and dedication he puts into the sport for the last three years. Since his freshman year, Lamoreaux has improved immensely in both cross country and track as he has dropped his 5k time down by 6.5 minutes to 16:11, ranking him the seventh-fastest returning 2A runner, and has gone from 5:27 to 4:42.56 in the 1,600 and from 11:39.87 to 10:03.9 in the 3,200. Runners like Lamoreaux have made this sport fun to watch the last few seasons and are also the biggest surprises towards the end of the year.
Teams to Watch for:
- Nothing has changed for Sehome. The Mariners load up again for another state title run led by this year's 2A individual front runner in Zack Munson and return an up and coming star in the middle distance range in Kiefer Law. It has been 11 years since Sehome won both the individual and team titles in the same season. That's something to keep an eye out for.
- The Anacortes boys are coming off the best season ever in program history with a second-place team finish in the virtual 2A state meet. With five of their six state participants returning this fall, including podium contender Ryan Horr, this year's Seahawks group could be even stronger, especially with a five-runner spread of 36.1 seconds.
- Will Giesen, Paden Loveland, and Josh Smith are the main trio that carried this Bellingham team to a fourth-place team finish in the virtual 2A state meet. All three can find a way to make the podium as individuals this season, but when it comes to state racing, the fourth and fifth runners have been the most important pieces to a team's success. If Bellingham can establish those runners this year, they should be fine.
- Port Angeles has the balance to be a solid group in their first five runners. Jack Gladfelter is a top 16 runner and could even make his way into the top 10, while the other four are within 34 seconds of each other. Along with their balance of runners, all seven of their varsity runners return are juniors and seniors, meaning they will be the oldest team in 2A with experience.