Plenty of Spokane-area runners figure to be on the podium following the state cross country championships Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
But which ones will be smiling atop the first-place block?
Here’s a look at a few area runners who will push for state titles in their respective classifications. Times listed are season bests.
Boys: Greater Spokane League standout and district champion Wil Smith (15:19.1) leads third-ranked Lewis and Clark and will likely surpass his fourth-place state finish of 2018. Smith, University’s Jacob Easton (15:23.9) and Central Valley’s Tyler Hunter (15:32.3) will be chasing Jonas Price of Eisenhower (14:49.9), who placed second at state a year ago.
Girls: The 4A field at state was young in 2018 and returns its top figures, including state champion Ella Borsheim of Bellarmine Prep (18:07.1). Fourth-ranked LC hopes to have a few runners standing alongside Borsheim, including Ila Davis (19:17).
Boys: Five of the top seven runners at state last year graduated, creating an opening for such talents as Leif Swanson (15:40.1) of GSL champion North Central, who placed fifth a season ago. Daniel Lee (15:34) of Rogers beat Swanson at districts last week and will also look to contend for a high finish.
Girls: NC will likely breeze past the competition again and capture its third straight team title. Having defending state champion Allie Janke (17:42) and 2017 state champion Erinn Hill (17:35.7) is quite the boost for the deep Indians, one of the top girls teams in the nation.
Boys: Defending state champion Eli Kabasenche (15:44) returns for Pullman. Much like he’s done all season, he’ll have to try and hold off Cheney’s Bas Holland (15:38.5), who was sixth at state a year ago and is much improved.
Girls: Top-ranked Ellensburg appears to be the runaway favorite, looking to dethrone defending champ West Valley. Fourth-ranked WV returns to state, led by Annika Esvelt (19:10), who placed 15th a year ago. Sophomore Kylie Franklin (20:14) leads sixth-ranked Pullman after she finished ninth at state in 2018.
Boys: 2018 state champion Adam Briejer (15:31.6) of Charles White Academy is back, and he’ll be challenged by talent from the east. District champion and Riverside sophomore Jamar Distel (15:32.6) has been among the state’s best. Brayden Merrill (16:11) leads second-ranked and defending state champion Lakeside. Medical Lake is ranked No. 1.
Girls: Defending state champion Naomi Smith (17:21) of King’s is back, but Colville’s Alaina Stone (17:33) and Riverside’s Lizzy Shaw (18:18) – second and fourth at state a year ago – may have a say in the race. Madelyn Buckley (18:51) leads defending state champion and top-ranked Lakeside.
Boys: District champ Easton Pomrankey (16:36.4) of Kettle Falls has posted some of the best times in his classification this season, a year after finishing 13th at state. St. George’s is ranked sixth.
Girls: Defending state champion Novie McCabe (18.19.1) of Liberty Bell is back. District champion Anais Mills (19.24.2) of Garfield-Palouse has won each of her meets this season. St. George’s is ranked fourth and Kettle Falls is fifth.