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.
- The Bears went above and beyond expectations as a very young team last fall and earned themselves a third place finish in a fast 4A state championship field. Theresa Barnhart, who was one spot away from podium at state, and Faith Martinez lead a group of Bears that return all state participants into the 2020 campaign with hopes of bringing a state team title back to Maple Valley for the first time since 2011.
- Halle Jenkins will be a big piece missing for Camas this fall, but the Papermakers top four returners provide enough depth for the team to put themselves in contention to win a 4A state title. Like a lot of the teams on this list, youth will play a crucial role for Camas. Katelyn Flolo takes on a new leadership role and Gracie Buzzell will build upward from her great freshman season to help the Papermakers be successful.
- Emily Van Valkenburg's impressive sophomore season showed positive signs for Eastlake in what could be an exciting season for the Wolves. However, Eastlakes hopeful success won't be relied on Van Valkenburg. In fact, Ava Hagwell will need to take big step in her role as the No. 2 runner and get her time under 19 minutes, and perhaps even faster.
4. Holy Names
- Like the 2019 North Central girls, the 2020 Holy Names girls might be on an island of their own this fall at the 3A level. With Sarah Mirkin, Christina Crow and Riley Wells returning, the Cougars have the potential to have three podium placers, which of course is a key for success to a team winning a state title. Maisie McManus and Kathleen Raab will also help carry this team in the right direction as the fourth and fifth runners.
- Redmond, by a long shot, has the best trio of runners for all classifications. The key figures to the Mustangs state championship team were Lili Hargreaves, Sophia Dahl (The Runner WA's Freshman of the Year last fall), and Chloe Connelly. All three girls have the potential to place top 10 or better individually at 4A state this fall. But can they repeat as team champions? If they really want to, there needs to be work done at the No. 5 runner spot.
- In a very strong field of 4A teams, Richland is on the outside looking in, but could be a potential dark horse. Natalie Ruzauskas proved at the state meet she is one of the best individuals in the entire state with a second place finish, and she could lead the Bombers to a top four team finish this fall. There will be a ton of leadership and experience on the team with four of the returning state participants being seniors.
7. Bellarmine Prep