The Class of 2022 was loaded.
What do we see among the Class of 2023?
Potential. A ton of potential.
Given that middle schoolers compete in a variety of distances from the 3k on up to the 4k, there is no clear class leader heading into the 2019 cross country season, though upon scanning these lists we can at the very least get an idea of who'll breakthrough in their first season at the 5k distance.
Additionally, not every athlete competed in track, which made compiling a list of who to keep an eye on all the more challenging.
Before we dive into this, please keep in mind this is a very subjective list.
Based on performance - and again, this is all subjective, sort of - Brooke Wilson appears to be a class front-runner. Her 14:38 4k personal best comes in No. 2 here in terms of time, but she was the 13-14 USATF National Junior Olympics XC champion. That's got to count for something.
Add that she holds indoor PRs of 1:01.34 in the 400, 2:23.55 in the 800, and 5:19 in the 1,600.
Parker Panthers teammate Mckenna Mazeski, and Ava Mitchell also capped their 2018 seasons with Top 10 finishes at USATF National Junior Olympic XC Championships. Mazeski was fourth in that race, just ahead of Mitchell's sixth place finish.
While they come in No. 3 and No. 4 in terms of speed in the 4k, their finishes on the big stage hint at what we could see this fall.
Editor's Note: Mitchell just dropped an 18:36 5k on the Liberty Bell course last week.
Ella Johns recorded the fastest 4k in the class last year, running 14:24, though in her one head-to-head with Wilson (at the Colorado Middle School Championships - 3,500 meters), Wilson was the "winner." She does however already have a 19:33 road 5k to her name.
Brooklyn Ewert only ran one 4,000 race last year, which landed her No. 9 in terms of speed, but her fourth place finish at the Colorado Middle School Championships shows that she can compete. Additionally, she's got a 12:11 cross country two mile PR.
Bonus Athletes To Keep An Eye On: (Based on track performances)
Jamieson Legh: 800 - 2:32.37, 1,600 - 5:35
Jocelyn Millican: 800 - 2:22.57, 1,600 - 5:36, 3,000 - 11:06
Lily Mourer: 800 - 2:28.68, Mile - 5:23.58
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