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 4A individuals and teams on the boy's side to watch for in 2021.
Ethan Coleman, Olympia
Ethan Coleman truly brought back the spark we all needed for this upcoming season. The Olympia star earned the respect of so many over the course of the past year after a dominant spring season in both cross country and track. Coleman won the virtual 4A state cross country meet in a blistering 5k time of 14:39 and went undefeated in South Sound League meets to eventually winning the South Division title. As for track, Coleman ran lifetime bests in the 800 (1:54.75), the 1,600 (4:12.28), and the 3,200 (8:49.57) and took home three SPSL individual titles during the regular season. He also earned a mile win down at the Golden West Invite in California running 4:11.66 and then received an invite to compete in the prestigious Brooks PR Invite hosted in Renton for the two-mile race, where he placed fifth overall. Much is still to be proven, though, according to Coleman heading into his senior season.
Isaac Teeples, Kamiakin
Year in and year out, Isaac Teeples continues to impress us with his running performances. The 2019 3A cross country state champion compiled an undefeated racing record in the Mid-Columbia Conference this early spring season running season-best times of 14:39.5 for three miles and 15:27.3 for a 5k. He also won his second consecutive conference individual title and led Kamiakin to an 11th straight conference team title. During track, Teeples won three more MCC titles and ran lifetime bests in the 800 (1:53.41), the 1,600 (4:09.21), and the 3,200 (8:51.43). His best season performances came when he ran 4:09.21 to the 1,600 at the Tacoma High Performance meet and then ran 8:51.43 down at Stumptown placing as the runner-up in the 3,200. The Runner WA's reigning Cross Country Runner of the Year looks to become the first individual in state history to win two state cross country titles in different classifications.
Grayson Wilcott, Kamiakin
Considering it was a down year for Grayson Wilcott in cross country, expect quite the turnaround in his senior season. Wilcott ran season-best times for three miles (15:32.9) and 5k (16:16.7) in his junior year and was the runner-up at the MCC Championships behind teammates Isaac Teeples. Wilcott did make up for it during the track season when he ran new lifetimes bests in the 1,600 (4:26.53) and the 3,200 (9:23.63) and was a top-three finisher in both events at the conference championships. As a top 20 finisher at state his sophomore season, Wilcott will get his first, and last opportunity at a podium finish this fall. A potential top-five finisher.
Sam Jacobsen, Newport (Bellevue)
The jump Sam Jacobsen has made in his running career makes for an exciting senior year. Just two years ago, Jacobsen was nowhere near state competition level, and now he enters the fall season with one of the fastest returning 5k times of 15:37.9 after placing fourth overall in the virtual 4A state meet. Jacobsen was at his best though during the track season when he ran massive PR's of 1:55.69 in the 800 and 4:21.17 in the 1,600. Those times were both runner-up finishes at The Outdoor Nationals (800) and the Liberty Twilite (1,600). Jacobsen also took home three Bellevue-Mercer Island Championships in the 800, 1,600, and 4x400 relay. Expectations are going to be high after a breakout season like this one for Jacobsen.
Sean Bubernak, Jackson
It's not going to be easy to replace one of the best duos in the state from last year in Brenden Charbeneau and Jordan Hansen, but Sean Bubernak seems to be the perfect candidate to fill one of those voids this fall. Even with the lack of racing this spring, Bubernak put together three quality races for Jackson, with his best being a fourth-place run against Lake Stevens for a 4k clocking a season-best 13:27. No times were recorded for Bubernak in track this spring, but his sophomore times of 4:29.3 in the 1,600 and 9:54.4 in the 3,200 are respectable marks.
Maxim Serafimovici, Curtis