After an exciting finish to the 2A state cross country championships this fall, maybe things will shift gears this spring and we could see new some state champions. Here are the top boys distance runners to watch for.
Hale Behan, Sammamish
After seeing the times Hale Behan posted last track season as a freshman, these next three seasons are a great indicator for what's to come in the future for the Sammamish runner. Ran personal best times of 4:35.7 in the 1,600 meter and 9:49.39 in the 3,200 meter. Behan broke the 16 minute barrier in a 5k for the first time in his career in the fall at the 2A state cross country meet running 15:49.8 to place seventh. It's been five years since Sammamish has had a mid-distance or a long distance runner advance to the state meet and place as well. Behan breaks the streak and makes his first of many appearances to come at Mt. Tahoma for the 2A state track meet.
Sawyer Dagan, Steilacoom
Sawyer Dagan was by far one of the most improved runners in 2019. Dagan went from a 4:57 1,600 meter runner in his freshman year of track, to a state qualifier in two events his sophomore season. Ran a personal best time at the 2A state track meet in the 3,200 meter running 9:36.17 to place 8th overall. He never ran this race his freshman year which is even more impressive. Placed 11th in the 1,600 meter running 4:33.31, but ran a personal best the week before at districts in 4:31.17. Dagan led Steilacoom to a second place team finish in the fall at the 2A state cross country meet with his fifth place finish and personal best time of 15:45.6. My dark horse pick for track, Dagan is a runner that will continue to improve based off the progression he has made each year. A top six finisher in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races for the state meet.
Isaiah Ellis, Lynden
We all know Lynden is a sprinter and jumper school, but Isaiah Ellis is the main reason why the Lions have had a huge turnaround in their distance running program. Not only did he make it to the 2A state track meet on the 1,600 meter relay, Ellis qualified in the 800 and 1,600 meter races as well. His best placing was in the 1,600 meter taking ninth running 4:29.4, four seconds off his personal best. Placed 16th in the 800 meter preliminary round in 2:00.98, but his personal best time is 1:58.89. Ellis was 24th at the 2A state cross country meet running 16:22.6. Not necessarily the placing he wanted since he had placed fifth at state the previous season, but this was an incredibly fast year for the 2A's. His personal best 5k time is 15:53.7 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invite. Be sure to pay attention to the 800 meter race specifically because Ellis has a good shot to take down his former teammates, Tate Hutchins, 800 meter school record as well as place in the top four at state.
Kolby Green, West Valley (Spokane)
Some people really do save their best effort for the final race of the year. Kolby Green had struggled all season long to get under 16 minutes for a 5k in cross country this last fall as his fastest time was 16:31. But something clicked for the West Valley senior that day in Pasco at the 2A state meet and he was able to run a new personal best time of 15:55.2 to place eighth overall. Ran personal best times in track of 4:27.57 in the 1,600 meter and 9:57.32 in the 3,200 meter. Only ran the 1,600 meter at the district qualifying meet, but a windy day at Central Washington University kept him from qualifying for state in this event as he ran a disappoint 4:47.92. Whatever it was to get him to run at his best at the state cross meet, Green needs to use that same effort in the spring to get past the GNL/CWAC glue meet to make it to the 2A state track meet since that is one of the fastest districts in the state right now with Pullman's Eliason Kabasenche, and Selah's Shea Mattson and Cooper Quigley.
Rafe Holz, Sedro-Woolley