For the last few years, the west side has dominated the podium stand at the 1A state track meet, specifically from district 1 and 2. But since the majority of those runners have moved on to bigger and better things, the east side has started to come around and start to have success. Let's meet the girls to watch for this season who will perform well this year.
Elie Bassett, Granite Falls
Elie Bassett was one of two freshmen runners in the 1A state track 800 meter final last spring and ran very well too. Bassett finished fifth overall running a personal best time of 2:19.33, in which second through sixth placers all were within two seconds of each other. Missed out on qualifying for state in the 1,600 meter by one placing but still ran a personal best mark of 5:18.17 at the district meet. Last fall, Bassett placed 20th at the 1A state cross country meet in a time of 19:44.7, only three tenths of a second off her personal best. Bassett will be among six different runners who will be in contention to win the 800 meter state title this spring, as well as a potential top six finisher in the 1,600 meter.
Alyssa Becker, Klahowya
From the end of track last spring, Alyssa Becker put together a great summer of club track and an even better cross country season this fall. Becker placed ninth at the 1A state track meet in the 1,600 meter running 5:22.78, five seconds off her personal best of 5:17.56, and in the 3,200 meter running a personal best time of 11:55.99. Becker ran the 1,500 and 3,00 meter races this summer for her club team in personal best times of 4:50.82 and 10:37.99, which those would convert to a 5:11 1,600 meter and 11:25 3,200 meter. Placed fourth at the 1A state cross country meet this last fall in a time of 18:59.5, only seven seconds from her personal best time of 18:52.4 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite. Becker is my dark horse pick for this season. She is a top five finisher for sure in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races.
Lara Carrion, Seton Catholic
Even though she only made it to the 1A state track meet in one individual event, Lara Carrion is a young runner with plenty to prove upon from her freshman year. Carrion was 11th in the 1,600 meter at state running a time of 5:24.52, only two seconds off her personal best of 5:22.88. She was also a leg on the fifth place 1,600 meter relay team for Seton Catholic so you know she has quality speed. Carrion also ran the 3,200 meter in a personal best time of 11:53.33 earlier in the year. This past fall, Carrion dropped her personal best cross country time by almost a minute running 18:36.8 at the Bill Kehoe South Sound Invite, and placed third at the 1A state meet in 18:50.5. Carrion is a top six finisher in the 1,600 meter, but I'm curious to see how she does in the 800 meter because she was a leg on the 1,600 meter relay team.
Roselynn Martin, La Center
Up until this last spring, Roselynn Martin hadn't run a ton of 800 meter races throughout her career. In fact, Martin was more of 1,600 meter runner as her personal best time was ran in 5:19.56 her sophomore year. Martin began her junior season at 2:41.35, and by the district meet she had dropped 22 seconds to run a new personal best time of 2:19.57, which qualified her for the 1A state track meet. She was able to make it to the finals and place eighth in a time of 2:24.75. This past fall, Martin was 14th at the 1A state cross country meet in a time of 19:23.1, 23 seconds of her season best time of 19:00.6. If I'm Martin's distance coach, I'd be looking forward to this upcoming track season. To see where she began the year in an event she hadn't run a ton in and how she ended, Martin now has plenty of experience to put herself in the talks for an 800 meter top three finish at the state meet. I'd also like to see her in the 1,600 meter as well and make it to state.
Lauren Muscutt, Cascade (Leavenworth)
As a freshman, you give every event in track and field a shot and see what you can do. Lauren Muscutt didn't run the 800 meter till the beginning of May and after her first time running it in a time of 2:22.92, she stuck with it. Muscutt made it to the 1A state track meet in the 800 meter and went onto place third in a personal best time of 2:18.65. Muscutt is a great 400 meter runner too as she ran 62 seconds in the open and was also a member of Cascade's state championship 1,600 meter relay team that ran a time of 4:08.3. In the fall, Muscutt plays soccer for the Kodiaks and was on this year's varsity team that finished as the runner-ups in the state championship game against Seattle Academy. Muscutt makes a case to be in the hunt for a 800 meter state title, but because she is a soccer player and already has good endurance from that, she could also be a good 1,600 meter runner too.
Ellie Rising, Goldendale
Ellie Rising made her presence felt at the 1A state track meet last spring with her outstanding performances in the 800 and 1,600 meter races. Rising was the runner-up in the 800 meter in a new personal best time of 2:18.38 after running a previous personal best the day before in prelims, and she placed fifth in the 1,600 meter in a personal best time of 5:14.28. Rising also made big improvements in the cross country season at the state meet going from 29th her junior year to placing ninth as a senior in a personal best time of 19:07. Rising is my dark horse pick for the season. Rising is my favorite to win the 800 meter state title, but what makes her my dark horse pick is she makes a case to be in the mix to finish top three in the 1,600 meter. The potential to run 5:10 or faster is there for Rising.
Lizzy Shaw, Riverside
When you don't look at her state race, Lizzy Shaw proved again this last cross country season she is one of the best runners in the state. Shaw was 11th at the 1A state meet in a time of 19:15, but earlier on ran a personal best time of 18:18.8 at the Nike Portland XC Meet featuring some of the best runners not only in the Pacific Northwest, but on the West Coast. Last spring, Shaw only qualified for the 1A state track meet in one individual event but placed sixth in the 3,200 meter running a season best time of 11:25.24. She was also a member of the eighth place 1,600 meter relay team for Riverside. Her personal best times in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races were ran as a freshman in 5:06.66 and 11:02.6. I think Shaw is more than capable to get back down to those times. You have to believe this past cross country season reminded Shaw of what she is capable of accomplishing. The Nevada Wolfpack commit will finish her high school running career on a positive note and will place top four in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races at state.
Naomi Smith, King's
You best believe Naomi Smith has a sense of urgency to get back onto the track this spring after a second place finish at the 1A state cross country meet this past fall. But besides the state race, Smith had another incredible fall dropping her personal best time down to 17:21.7 and ran in the 17 minute range five times throughout the season. Last school year was a historical season for Smith winning the cross country, 1,600 and 3,200 meter state titles to claim the distance triple crown and the first to do so since former Northwest standout Maddie Meyers back in 2012 at the 1A level. Smith ran personal best times in track in the 800, 1,600, and 3,200 meter races running 2:20.95, 4:53.76, and 10:25.5. Smith also won the Brooks P.R. Invite local mile in 4:55.59 on her future home track for the next four years since she has committed to run for the University of Washington after this season. Because her times were a combined 51 seconds faster than the next best runner on this list in both of her state races, Smith is my pick to repeat as the 1,600 and 3,200 meter champion
Alaina Stone-Boggs, Colville
Not very many expected to see Alaina Stone-Boggs come down the final 300 meter homestretch in first at the 1A state cross country meet, but it had been a goal of hers all season long to win a state title. The Colville senior ran 17:39.6 en route to her state title victory defeating defending champion, King's' Naomi Smith. Stone-Boggs state time was only six seconds off her personal best time of 17:33. In the spring, Stone-Boggs was third an fourth in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races at the 1A state track meet running season best times of 5:07.28 and 11:19.12. Her personal best times came her sophomore season when she ran 5:03.7 in the 1,600 meter and 11:16.86 in the 3,200 meter. Recently committed to run for Washington State University next fall. If Stone-Boggs can get her times under five minutes in the 1,600 meter and under 11 minutes in the 3,200 meter, she gives herself a chance to come away with two more state titles and be recognized as another distance triple crown recipient. It will be a challenging task, but knowing her, she has always proven to go above and beyond expectations.
Kaia Swegler Richmond, South Whidbey
Kaia Swegler Richmond is a tough and gritty racer on the track and the cross country course. Swegler Richmond was 17th at the 1A state cross country meet running a time of 19:31.07, but ran a personal best earlier on in 18:50.5. In the spring, Swegler Richmond may have only qualified for the 1A state track meet in one event last year and placed 17th in prelims, but I see her getting to Cheney this spring in two or more events. Ran personal best times of 2:20.47 in the 800 meter and 11:36.24 in the 3,200 meter and a season best time of 5:22.6 in the 1,600 meter. Swegler Richmond is also a great steeplechaser as she ran a personal best 7:37.47 at the Holder Relays for the 2,000 meter event. If the Steeplechase were a state event, Swegler Richmond could see herself winning a couple of state titles. But unfortunately it is not, so Swegler Richmond will have to settle with qualifying for state in different events. She returns as one of the top runners in district one and two with the best chance to make it to state in a few events.
Editor's Note: The top 1A girls distance runners list was compiled by track and field and cross country analyst Keenan Gray.