When you think things couldn't get any better at the 1A level, they just do. Returning with the defending state champion, the runner-up, and three other podium placers, this is the making of another great cross country season at the small school level. I don't like the word drama, but there will be a lot of it, in the sports way. Here are the top seven 1A girls to watch for this season.
Naomi Smith - King's
If you haven't watched Naomi Smith race before, she is the most dominant runner you will ever see. In only her second year of cross country, Smith won her first state championship in a time of 18:16.7 and led the Knights to a second place team finish. Her personal best time came at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite where she ran 17:27.9 in her only loss of the season. Smith would also win the 1,600 and 3,200 state titles this past spring and completed the "Distance Triple Crown" for the 2018-2019 school year. Her personal best times in track were 4:53.76 and 10:25.5. King's has never had a back-to-back state champion in cross country before, and that is about to change.
Alaina Stone Boggs - Colville
Tough is one word to describe Alaina Stone Boggs. A gutsy performance last season at the state cross meet led to a second place finish as she ran a time of 18:27.3, six seconds off her personal best. She would go undefeated in all her races up until the state meet. In the spring, Stone Boggs gained two more medals at the state track meet placing third in the 1,600 and fourth in the 3,200. Both races were season best times of 5:07.28 and 11:19.12. Currently the best runner on the eastside at 1A, Stone Boggs has her eyes set on that top podium spot in Pasco. It will be fun to watch the state rematch between King's' Smith and Colville's Stone Boggs.
Lizzy Shaw - Riverside
Lizzy Shaw has been in the state title mix since her freshman year, but hasn't quite got over that hump yet in Pasco. Shaw was fourth last year at state finishing in a time of 18:53.3, but ran personal best earlier in late September at Nike Portland XC in 18:24.9. Despite a tough track season in the spring, Shaw made her way back to Cheney for the state meet and placed sixth in the 3,200 running a season best time of 11:25.24. My dark horse pick for this season, Shaw will be in the top three again at the state meet in her last year of high school cross country. Early season NEA conference match-ups versus Colville's Stone Boggs should be good ones.
Kayla Aalpoel - Meridian
The Trojans have a star in the making with Kayla Aalpoel. Last year as a freshman, Aalpoel placed sixth at the state cross meet running a time of 19:17.3 and was the top first-year runner in the race. Ran a personal best time at the NWC Championships in 19:02.1. The only runner on our list to not qualify for state during the track season, Aalpoel still had a solid season running personal best times of 5:29.86 in the 1,600 and 12:06.12 in the 3,200. A competitive, young athlete with so much potential and a lot to prove again this season. Look for her to be up in the top five in the state this fall.
Kaia Swegler Richmond - South Whidbey
Kaia Swegler Richmond kicked off her sophomore cross season with a great victory at the Sehome Invitational. She would go on to finish 19th at the state meet running a time of 19:52.5, but ran a personal best mark at the North Sound Conference championship in 19:13.6 as the runner-up. Running in one of the toughest districts in the state, Swegler Richmond qualified for one event at the state track meet last spring in the 800. Unfortunately, she didn't make it out of the prelims, but did run a personal best time of 2:20.47. She is also great at the Steeplechase. Will place in the top 10 this fall, maybe even higher.
Elie Bassett - Granite Falls
The fourth runner from the same district as King's' Smith, Meridian's Aalpoel, and South Whidbey's Swegler Richmond, Granite Falls' Elie Bassett is another up and coming star looking for her breakthrough season. Last fall, Bassett placed 20th at the state meet running a personal best time 20:03.5 and one of her better performances was a fourth place finish at the North Sound Conference Championships. An even better track season came a few months later as Bassett placed fifth in the 800 running a personal best time of 2:19.33. She also ran 5:18.17 in the 1,600 as a new personal best. I don't know where exactly Bassett will be on the podium at state, but I can imagine it will be in the top ten.
Lara Carrion - Seton Catholic
Lara Carrion had her breakout race when it counted most at the state cross meet. She was 10th overall running a time of 19:33.8 and helped the Cougars to their first state meet appearance in school history. Had a great track season as well qualifying for state in the 1,600 and placed 11th overall. Her personal best marks are 5:22.88 in the 1,600 and 11:53.33 in the 3,200. With everyone returning this season, Carrion and the Cougars look for their second consecutive state appearance and a chance to place as a team. Carrion is in the mix to finish top eight.
Top 5 Teams
1. Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls)
4. Seton Catholic