Emilia Puskas should be a very strong addition to somebody's distance program very soon.
A lot of the same caveats that applied to yesterday's article about impact freshmen boys apply here as well, though the cases of boys and girls are not entirely the same.
It's at least as much art as science to project who next year's game-changing freshmen will be in cross country and track. But, there are some athletes who have given us strong hints. Before we take a closer look, though, let's acknowledge that we're missing some very large pieces of information.
Namely, a whole lot of larger school districts (take your pick of Pueblo District 60, Academy Distric 20, Colorado Springs District 11, the Cherry Creek School District, Jeffco Public Schools, the Boulder Valley School District, and the Thompson Valley School District, to name a few) don't publish any middle school track results. So, unless those athletes happen to show up on the USATF club circuit, we know next-to-nothing about what's coming up in those schools.
Additionally, there are a few middle school level athletes for whom I don't have a grade level in the system. They may be incoming freshmen, or they may not. With girls, however, there are not the same incentives for parents to hold children back as there are for boys. So, a birth year of 2003 is a reasonably good--though not certain--indicator that a given girl of unknown grade level will be a freshman when school opens this fall. On that basis, I've inferred freshman status for a few girls. I may yet be proven wrong on one or more of those assumptions.
That said, I'll still be missing several athletes worthy of mention here simply because I don't have access to the data that would show their potential to be impact freshmen this fall and next spring. Please don't burn me in effigy for that.
Emily Beckner - Beckner was good in cross country last fall for Lesher Middle School in Fort Collins. She was better in track this spring, winning the district meet 1600 and finishing second in the 800. Her winning 1600 time was 5:34.45. We probably won't know where she's ended up for high school, though, until she shows up in cross country results this fall.
Jahzara Davis - Davis runs for Colorado Springs Striders, making her a candidate to end up any just about any of the Colorado Springs high schools. I don't have any more insight than that about that decision. She may or may not be a freshman this fall, but I'm guessing so based on birth year. She has an outlier 17-2 (NWI) long jump, and 8.16 60, and a wind-legal 15.55 100 hurdles. That should make for a serious boon to some program in the Springs.
Dajaz Defrand - Defrand is another one of those for whom the MileSplit database does not have a year in school. Lately, she's been running under the flag of Macktrack Elite, and I am only inferring that she will be a freshman this fall. She, however, has posted wind-legal marks of 12.51 and 25.05. That marks her as a certifiable game changer if she is a freshman. No indication, though, what high school she might be headed to.
Reese Dragovich - It's relatively easy to get disoriented in the masses of kids wearing Valor Track Academy colors in winter and summer, but Dragovich is one of those you probably want to take note of. She's already sub-60 for the 400 and sub-2:30 for the 800. The best guess I have is that she'll be part of the Valor Christian program this fall. To date, she hasn't run cross country, but that possibility is indicated by her 800 meter times.
Daisy Dye - Dye has been the dominant thrower the last two years at the Frank Stenson Memorial, the district meet for the St. Vrain Valley Schools. Her shot put this spring was 36-8.5. I believe that as a 3K shot, but her dominance of the meet speaks for itself. Dye was four feet out in front of second place for the shot put. Westview Middle School suggests the possibility of Silver Creek High School, which is well-established as a throwing program.
Lucca Fulkerson - Fulkerson was a dominant force in cross country last fall, though we've seen no results from this spring. Fulkerson finished fifth at the middle school state cross country meet and third at the large John Martin Invitational where she ran her 4K PR of 14:45. If she's been at Dawson Middle School, there's a very good chance she does high school at Dawson High School, and--if so--she would become an instant force on the 2A cross country scene.
Jadyn Goodrich - Goodrich already has an older sister running for Golden, so we'll project her as a Demon for this fall. The high water mark to date for Goodrich's career was a 4th-place finish in middle school state cross country last fall. We haven't seen times for her since the indoor season. It's difficult to say exactly what that might mean, but it's still probably a good idea to expect big things from her in cross country this fall.
Bailey Harris - We reach over to the Western Slope for this pick. Harris has three different recorded NWI marks in the 100 hurdles between 16 and 17 seconds. She's been very consistent in that range. You have to figure she only gets better in high school and Kirby Henderson gets more opportunity to work with her at Cedaredge High School. If there's anything to her track and field repertoire beyond the 100 hurdles, we don't know about it yet.
Alyson Herring - At Kinard Middle School, Herring was a 4th place finisher in the Poudre SD cross country meet and a 3rd place finisher (5:35) in the Poudre SD track meet for the 1600. One of the Fort Collins high schools figures to get her this fall. Stay tuned to find out which one.
Taylor James - James attended Prospect Ridge Academy Middle School but is purportedly headed to Niwot for high school. James has a lot of different talents. She's pretty good at distance (was third in middle school state cross country last fall), but also has a 5-1 high jump PR, has gone almost 15 feet in the long jump, under 62 in the 400, and 2:25 in the 800. Settling James into a set routine of events could be described as a good problem to have.
Andrea Kuntz - Kuntz was an 8-6 pole vaulter at Lone Star Middle School this spring. If you have no clue where Lone Star MS is, try finding Otis (if that helps) on a map and traveling a few miles north of there. 8-6 is a serious pole vault in the 1A ranks and Kuntz has been getting steadily better in her three years of pole vaulting. Get to know the name.
Ella Lee - There is one mark on Lee's resume that stands out in an enormous way. Assuming the mark is not erroneous, a 43-11.5 shot put is enormous, and I really don't care what size of ball we're talking about (though I suspect 3K is the weight in question). Lee has been at Brighton Middle School and so should be pointed at Brighton High School.
Kiera Medina - Medina ran middle school at Webber Middle School in Fort Collins. She has a lot of solid marks on her brief resume, but the one that stands out is a 33-9.5 triple jump. That was good enough to win the Poudre School District crown this spring and marks her as a nice find for one of the Fort Collins high schools.
Harlie Medrano - Medrano is one of those I'm inferring will be a freshman this fall. I don't yet have grade information on her, but if it's another year before she's in high school, she might be the most amazing 7th grade thrower of all time. The surname should ring familiar, and she has 101-10 and 38-6 PRs to her credit already. At least I assume those are her PRs, but she probably has a few marks that aren't in the MileSplit database as well. The 38-6 comes from a smaller ball (should be 3K), but is an eye-catching mark just the same. Figure that she ends up at Pueblo East.
Sonja Morin - Morin has done a lot of her competing under the colors of Golden Running Academy, but it appears she's been enrolled at D'Evelyn Middle School, making her a strong candidate to be running for D'Evelyn High School this fall. Morin has PRs of 2:24 for the 800 and 5:09 for the 1500. There isn't a school in the state that can't bring in those times and do something productive with them.
Mya Murdock - See Bailey Harris, above. Guess who beat Harris in each of those three races? Yup, Murdock. Murdock and Harris might be pushing each other to better and better times the next four years and Murdock figures to matriculate at nearby Delta High School. Murdock's NWI 100 hurdle PR is 15.87. Delta High School ought to enjoy bringing her in.
Camille Peisner - Peisner is ready to mix things up with the high schoolers. Though she's been solid at 200 meters, her strongest race thus far has been the 400 meters. Peisner will likely be taking her 58.39 400m PR straight to the varsity roster at Valor Christian. She hasn't yet had a lot of success at 800 meters, but the 400 time is suggestive that the potential is there. There I go, thinking like a distance coach again...
Emilia Puskas - Puskas has already stamped herself as a big-time competitor. She runs for the Parker Panthers for now, but that doesn't narrow down the high school possibilities by much. She has a 2:24 800 PR and a 4:56 1500 PR. She's one who can step in and help right away in a big way.
Isabella Prosceno - Most of Prosceno's marks bear the Parker Panthers imprimatur, but her Lewis-Palmer Middle School pedigree suggests she'll be at either Palmer Ridge or Lewis-Palmer this fall. I'll let you make your own guesses about which one you think is more likely. Anyhow, distance is her strong suit. She was 9th in the middle school state cross country race last fall, then third twice at the state and regional JO races.
Kyairra Reigh - If you've already heard of any 8th grade girl around the state, it's likely that Reigh is the one. And, I'm making an assumption that she has just finished her 8th grade year and will be a freshman this fall. If so, the Denver Lightning singlet suggest a strong likelihood she'll be at Denver East. And, what program wouldn't like to bring in her 24.98 indoor 200m PR and 55.60 400m PR?
Karmen Rieger - Add Rieger to the list of Fort Collins middle school distance talents moving up to high school. Options abound, but that 5:35 that finished second at the district middle school meet warrants some attention.
Hayley Smith - Smith has wheels. She's won the Douglas County School District middle school titles at 100 and 200 meters both of the last two springs. She has NWI PRs of 12.72 and 27.29. At least those are her PRs from results that have found their way to Colorado Track XC. Cresthill Middle School is right next to Highlands Ranch HS, so we'll make a tentative guess of Highlands Ranch being where she ends up for high school.
Eliana Thompson - Being from Jeffco, we don't have track results for Thompson, but we do know she finished 7th at middle school state cross country last fall wearing Summit Ridge colors. That makes her a strong candidate to be bolstering the Dakota Ridge girls team this fall.
Sara Wylie - Wylie appears to be undefeated in the high jump for the last two years of the northeastern Colorado middle school circuit. Her PR is 5-0 and, if she keeps her shoulder to the wheel, that should only get better in high school. Wylie does a lot of other things as well, but the high jump looks to be a specialty. Almost certainly, she ends up at Akron High School.
Teagan Zwaanstra - Sierra Middle School is in Parker, which leaves open a few options for high school. The primary points of notoriety that Zwaanstra will bring into high school are a wind-legal 34-2.75 triple jump and second place finishes in the 100 and 200 from the Douglas County middle school district meet. Clearly, there's potential to work with there.