The idea of this article is simple. Take the top 100 senior girls (by time) at this year's state cross country meet and then look back. How many were on the radar screen as 8th graders--either through middle school state or USATF Junior Olympics state competition.
Then, following the table of performances for these athletes, we'll draw some inferences about what the table suggests to us about the senior class of girls for 2021.
First, though, here is the table of the top 100 girls at the state meet this fall and then what their results, if any, were at middle school state cross country for 2013 and the USATF Colorado Junior Olympic meet for 2013.
What we learn from this, then, is that only a small percentage of this year's top senior runners were on the radar screen in even remote sorts of ways in 2013. And, several of those who were on the radar screen in 2013 aren't around any longer as top-level cross country athletes.
So, as interesting as it might be to project into the next four years from middle school meet performances, there's not much reason to think we have a very meaningful part of the picture when we do that. It is probably the case that more and more girls each year are running in the middle school state meet, but the growth is not (yet) such that we can make credible guesses about the top girls in the incoming freshman class based on middle school state and USATF state meet results alone.
Short moral to the story: Don't count your chickens before they hatch.