2023 Track and Field Preview: Girls Distance
First look at the top girls distance runners to watch in the 2023 track and field season. It's no secret last spring was a historic year. The 2022 Washington high school track and field season will forever go down as one of the most successful seasons the state has ever witnessed when it comes to performances and accomplishments. While it will be one that is hard to repeat, the 2023 campaign could be as good or better with the amount of talent and production back for this upcoming season. Here's a first look at the top girls distance runners to watch for this season.
Anna Callahan, Skyline
It's safe to say Anna Callahan is now the premiere runner in the Northwest after an incredible fall campaign. The junior from Skyline recorded the fastest 5k time in the state during the cross-country season, running 17:23.6 en route to winning her first state championship at the 4A level. Following the school season, Callahan went on to compete on the national stage for the first time where she won NXR Northwest in Boise to qualify for NXN in Portland. At nationals, Callahan earned a ninth-place finish and all-American honors, becoming the first Washington high school female athlete to be named a Nike all-American since the 2019 season when Julia David-Smith of Issaquah finished 18th. Last spring, there wasn't a ton of production from Callahan in track due to an on and off injury, but she managed to put together efforts of 2:17.94 in the 800 and 5:01.62 in the 1,600.
Logan Hofstee, East Valley (Spokane)
There are some runners who are naturally gifted, and then there are runners who have to work hard to become talented. East Valley's Logan Hofstee is one of those athletes who's put the time and effort to be at the level she's at, and her progressed showed this last cross-country season. Hofstee's junior year was filled with personal best runs and winning moments as she went on to run a 5k time of 17:40, followed by a state individual title at the 2A meet, taking down Anacortes' Jessica Frydenlund. Hofstee concluded the year with a runner-up finish at NXR Northwest, earning a bid to NXN where she'd place 38th in her first national competition. Last spring, Hofstee had a sensational sophomore season as she finished third in both the 1,600 and 3,200 races at the 2A state meet, running personal best efforts of 5:00.49 and 10:49.78.
Lily LaPorte, Bishop Blanchet
The youth is just as good as the veterans in the state, and Lily LaPorte is at the forefront of it all. Just like Vincent Recupero on the boy's side, LaPorte had just as good of a freshman season for Bishop Blanchet last spring as she ran personal best efforts of 4:57.71 in the 1,600 and 10:31.76 in the 3,200. Both of those times were run at the 3A state meet where she won the 1,600 title in a sprint to the finish against Kennewick's Macy Marquardt, then finished second to Marquardt in the 3,200 two days later. LaPorte also had solid efforts in the 800, including a personal best run of 2:20.92. This last fall wasn't as fast of a cross country season for LaPorte after running 17:27.7 for a 5k her freshman year, but she was able to throw down a season best 18:15 and then match her freshman state finish with another third-place effort at the 3A meet.
Rebecca O'Keefe, Skyline
Callahan may be Skyline's best runner, but teammate Rebecca O'Keefe is just as talented, completing a solid duo for the Spartans this spring. After racing track for the first-time last season, O'Keefe put together some of the best times in the state as she ran personal best efforts of 2:17.60 in the 800, 4:55.42 in the 1,600 and 10:41.29 in the 3,200. She went on to qualify for the 4A state meet in the 1,600 and 3,200 races where she would come away with two fourth-place finishes. This last fall, O'Keefe took another giant leap this junior cross-country season, knocking down her sophomore 5k time of 19:37.6 to 17:40.8. Her time would place her among the top six in the state and one of the best in the Northwest. She also improved upon her state finish going from 87th to third. O'Keefe concluded her fall with an eighth-place finish at NXR Northwest, earning all-region honors.
Eliza White, Curtis
One of the best stories from the historic 2022 campaign was the rise up of Eliza White. The Curtis standout became one of the best distance runners not only in Washington, but in entire the Northwest after a sophomore season full of improving times. She would go on to run 2:18.29 in the 800, 4:48.74 in the 1,600 and 10:29.66 in the 3,200, earning herself Runner of the Year honors from The Runner WA. White earned two state medals at the 4A meet, highlighted by her state championship win in a thrilling 3,200 race with Bellarmine's Ella Borsheim. She also was runner-up in the 1,600. White continued her success from the track season through the cross-country season to start her junior year as she ran a personal best 5k time of 17:47.2 and finished second at the 4A state meet.
Others to watch:
Isabela Alvarado, Eisenhower
- Ran personal bests 2:13.39 and 4:55.76. Placed third in the 800 and 1,600 at 4A state.
Sydney Collier, Skyline
- Ran personal bests 4:57.91 and 10:28.03. Placed ninth in the 1,600 and third in the 3,200 at 4A state.
Julia Couch, Auburn Riverside
- Ran personal bests 2:13.81 and 4:59.57. Placed first in the 800 and third in the 1,600 at 3A state.
Jessica Frydenlund, Anacortes
- Ran personal bests 5:04.10 and 10:52.25. Placed fifth in the 1,600 and fourth in the 3,200 at 2A state.
Alexis Leone, Seton Catholic
- Ran personal bests 5:06 and 10:45.57. Placed first in the 1,600 and 3,200 at 1A state.