It's going to be one of those years where you have no idea what to expect at the 2A level, specifically on the girls side. But that's the fun thing about sports, right? Not knowing who is going to show up when it counts most and proving they are the best in the state. One of my toughest lists I have put together, here are the top 2A girls to watch for this cross country season.
Lauren Larson - Port Angeles
Another great cross season last fall for Lauren Larson finishing in fourth place at the 2A state meet, six placings higher than her freshman season, running a time of 19:04.2. Ran a personal best time of 18:44.3 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite. Track was an even better season for Larson as she was the runner-up in the 800 and 3,200 and third in the 1,600 at the state meet. In all three state races, which were ran in three days, Larson ran personal best times of 2:14.47, 5:03.04, and 10:54.11. This is one of the reasons why Larson is my favorite to win the individual crown as she has shown how physically and mentally tough she can be when it comes to running against the best in the state.
MaryAlice Mitchell - Washington
MaryAlice Mitchell was one of few freshman in the state to have a great first year of high school running in cross country and track. In the fall, Mitchell placed fifth at the state meet running a personal best time of 19:09.5 and was the highest placing freshman in the race. She then went on to become a state champion in track winning the 800 in a personal best time of 2:14.08. Mitchell also qualified for the 1,600 where she placed fourth in another personal best time of 5:03.7, dropping 10 seconds from her previous best. Coming into her sophomore season, Mitchell is another contender in the hunt for a state title, but a for sure top three finisher.
Allyson Peterson - Hockinson
Allyson Peterson was the Hawks top runner last cross season as she ran 19:22.5 to finish in eighth place in Pasco at the state meet. She ran a personal best time earlier on at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite in a time 18:43.5. Qualifying for the state track meet in two events in the spring, Peterson was 11th in the 1,600 running 5:19 and eighth in the 3,200 running a personal best time of 11:04.93. I see the potential in Peterson, and I think she is a top five finisher.
Leah Holmgren - Ellensburg
The No. 1 returning runner from the cross country season has her eyes set on a state title this upcoming year. Leah Holmgren was third at state last year running a time of 18:54.5 after having placed 38th the year before. She ran a personal best time of 18:34.2 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite. During track, Holmgren was sixth in the 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200 at the state meet running personal best times of 5:03.85 and 10:57.38. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, it's hard to pick who was going to win the 2A state individual title, but Holmgren is also in the talks. Holmgren and Port Angeles' Larson will meet at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite for a pre-state match-up.
Annika Esvelt - West Valley (Spokane)
The daughter of West Valley record holder for the boys 1,600 and 3,200 and current boys cross country head coach, Mark Esvelt, Annika Esvelt looks to lead the Eagles to there second consecutive state team title after winning by tie breaker last year. She placed 23rd at the state meet running a season best time of 20:08.5, which makes her the only runner of the seven to not make the podium. What puts Esvelt on the list is the incredible finish to her track season this past spring. At the state meet, she placed eighth in the 1,600 running a personal best time of 5:11.7 and seventh in the 3,200 running another personal best time of 11:04.3. Look for Esvelt to a be top 10 placer this cross season, as she has been on the podium before back in her sophomore season placing 14th.
Kylie Franklin - Pullman
Kylie Franklin and a young Pullman squad are in the hunt for a state crown this season. The soon to be sophomore finished seventh last year at the state cross meet running a personal best time of 19:19.4 and helped the Greyhounds to a third place team finish. In the spring, Franklin missed out by one podium spot at the state track meet as she was ninth in the 3,200 running a personal best time of 11:07.96, a 37 second drop from here pervious best. She also ran 5:31.99 in the 1,600. With tons of potential this season, Franklin is a top five finisher at state. Look for an early season show down between West Valley's Esvelt and Franklin in a Great Northern League dual.
Kynzie DeLeon - Port Angeles
The second of the dynamic duo at Port Angeles, Kynzie DeLeon comes into her second year of cross country on a positive note after placing at the state meet her junior season. DeLeon was 10th overall in Pasco running a time of 19:26.4. A personal best time came earlier in the season where she ran 18:57.3 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite. Like Larson, she too qualified for the state track meet in the 1,600 and 3,200. DeLeon was 13th in the 1,600 running a personal best time of 5:19.96 and 10th in the 3,200 running a personal best time of 11:24.05. Because it was her first season of cross last year and how well she ran, DeLeon is my dark horse pick at the state meet and has the potential to place very high up on the podium.
Top 5 Teams
2. West Valley (Spokane)