Updated: Apr 30
With the track and field season being cancelled this spring due to the Coronavirus pandemic, cross country has stepped in and has become the season we are eager for.
And because we are all so eager to get back out and race one another, what better way to get everyone excited for this coming fall than to look at our 2020 Way Too Early Cross Country Power Rankings.
- Arlington has been known for producing great individual runners, but has never put together a strong enough team to win a state team title. If everything falls into place, meaning Aiden Emerson places top five and everyone else is healthy, the Eagles could make school history next season.
2. West Valley (Yakima)
- Much like Arlington, West Valley's top returners will all be seniors this fall. Brayden Packard may have not performed to his capability at the state meet last season, but he's a fantastic runner based off what he has done in previous races, putting himself in the conversation to win the individual 4A state title. West Valley's chances of winning a state team title not only falls on the three other seniors shoulders, but Max Hutton's as well.
3. Newport (Bellevue)
- Newport returns all seven of their state participants from last fall. So there should be no reason why they can't win a state team title, right? The Knights need a couple runners to break the 16 minute barrier to give themselves a chance at taking down West Valley and last years champion, Camas. If there are some individuals that can do that, it's Brett Hanley and Brent Nakashima.
- Sam Geiger and Evan Jenkins are the two of the top runners at the 4A level and are capable of going first and second at the state meet, but there's more to be accomplished for these two. Three words: Repeat. Team. Title. Of course everyone is going to be focus on beating Camas, which will eventually fuel them with more fire to chase after another state team title for a second consecutive year.
- If your Interlake's coach, you have to love seeing the 19.2 second spread between your top five runners. With that kind of pack running, you can win just about any meet as a team. But just like Newport, Interlake needs some guys to run in the 15 minute range, so hopefully these cross town schools can push each other in big time meets. The Saints are a dark-horse team in the making for the 3A level.
- Jackson had a really good meet at the 4A state championships, but there was four other schools that were better than them that day. That's not a dis to the Timberwolves, that's actually gives them something to look forward to this coming fall. Brendan Charbeneau is a legit talent, and Jackson has always produced well balanced runners which then leads to success at the state meet.
- In the eight consecutive years Sehome won the 2A state team title, this year was the first year they did not have a podium finisher. How is that possible? Their returning five man spread is 27 seconds, and when you have a tight bunch like they do, you can get away with no podium placers and still win a state title. Next fall, we will see at least one Mariner on the podium, specifically freshman prodigy, Zack Munson
8. Central Valley
- Central Valley will miss Tyler Hunter, like quite a bit, but Caleb Kartchner looks to fill that spot up as next years top runner for the Bears. As always, CV will have to battle with Greater Spokane League rival, Lewis & Clark, but they will need to establish a well balanced team first. Their top four are solid, but they have some work to do at the fifth runner position.
9. North Central
- It's safe to say things are getting back to the way they were at North Central. With a third place team finish last fall at 3A state, the Indians can now start to rebuild back to what was the most dominating program in the state this past decade.
- This was one of the strongest teams Tahoma produced last fall and it will be an early season challenge to replace their top three runners. Alex Kiefer and Cameron Stuard will fill the leadership roles as the top varsity returners, and twins Jack and Sam Clarke can help provide some depth for the Bears. It will be a rebuilding year at Tahoma.
11. Mount Si
- Paul Talens is a potential top 8 finisher for his senior season after making a case at the 4A state meet last fall as he missed out on the podium by one placing. But it won't just be Talens who improves from last season. The Wildcats return six of their seven state participants from last fall and will be one of the top 4A teams coming into the 2020 season.
- There is unfinished business to be taken care of this upcoming season for the Panthers. Mead was running very well as a group last season and made a strong case to get back to Pasco for a second year in a row. With Caleb Lloyd and AJ Paulson graduating, who will be those top runners to lead the Panthers?
13. Lewis & Clark
- Replacing a state champion, a podium finisher, and an individual missing the podium by two spots will be challenging for the Tigers this fall. Both Ethan Crawford and Brian Bowers will need to put together a strong offseason of training to help lead Lewis & Clark through a challenging district to get back to state as a team.
- Kya Villanueva and Gabriel Kary are stars in the making and are going to have big expectations from their team, and themselves, this season. Although Woodinville hasn't been on the radar as a quality team, things could change this season for them and it starts with the leadership of Villanueva and Kary.
- To see Kamiakin this low in rankings is a bit shocking, but the Braves lose five of their runners from their 2019 3A state championship team. However, with reigning individual champion Isaac Teeples and No. 3 runner Grayson Wilcott returning, Kamiakin is in good hands from a leadership standpoint. But, from an experience standpoint, there will be five new runners on this years varsity team, and they are not on the same training level of Teeples and Wilcott.
- Mason Watarmura and Josiah Mellott are the two to focus on for the Vikings this fall, specifically about what they can do for their team to get back to state. The rest of the team remains a mystery because the depth is up in the air for the No. 3 through 7 runners. Mystery's are fun to solve though, so we will see how Curtis progresses from now to November.