Jackson’s Brenden Charbeneau keeps pace with the lead runners during the Class 4A boys state cross country championships on Nov. 9, 2019, in Pasco. Charbeneau finished in 14th place. (TJ Mullinax / For The Herald)

Jackson’s Brenden Charbeneau keeps pace with the lead runners during the Class 4A boys state cross country championships on Nov. 9, 2019, in Pasco. Charbeneau finished in 14th place. (TJ Mullinax / For The Herald)

Prep cross country season preview: Runners to watch

A look at some of the local boys and girls runners to watch during the abbreviated five-week season.

Wesco high school cross country teams began their abbreviated five-week season of competition earlier this month. The shortened campaign is limited to dual meets and won’t include a postseason.

Many teams are running different distances from week to week, which makes it difficult to compare runners. But nevertheless, here’s a look at some of the area’s top runners this season.

NOTES: All times and rankings are from Athletic.net. Unless otherwise noted, all times are for the traditional 5,000-meter distance. Some runners participated in the Nike Cross Virtual season this past fall by submitting times that were validated by their coaches. Those times are included in the Athletic.net high school season rankings.

BOYS RUNNERS TO WATCH

Brenden Charbeneau, sr., Jackson

In a normal season, Charbeneau may have been a contender for a top-three state medal. The two-time state qualifier placed 14th in last season’s Class 4A state meet, where he was one of just four non-seniors to reach the podium. His top time as a junior was 15:28.3, which ranked him No. 19 in the state last season regardless of classification. This past September, the defending 4A Northwest District champion won the Nike Portland Virtual XC meet with a personal-best 15:14.0. That ranks him No. 7 in the state this season regardless of classification.

Owen Flinn, sr., Lake Stevens

The two-time state qualifier ran a personal-best 16:09.0 in his season debut earlier this month. That’s more than 13 seconds faster than the time he ran at last season’s 4A state meet, where he placed 72nd.

Jordan Hansen, sr., Jackson

The two-time state qualifier ran a personal-best 15:08.0 this past fall as part of the Nike Cross Virtual season. With that time, he currently is ranked No. 4 in the state regardless of classification and No. 87 in the nation. His best time as a junior was 15:40.5, which ranked him No. 39 in the state last season regardless of classification.

Vincent Loftis, sr., Arlington

The two-time state qualifier highlights a talent-laden Arlington team that’s coming off a fourth-place team trophy at last season’s 3A state meet. Loftis placed 22nd at state last season and ran four sub-15:30 times this past fall, including a personal-best 15:02.7 as part of the Nike Cross Virtual Championship. With that time, he currently is ranked No. 3 in the state regardless of classification and is tied for No. 67 in the nation.

Isaiah Lowery, sr., Arlington

Lowery ran a personal-best 15:30.0 this past fall, which ranks him No. 13 in the state regardless of classification. That personal best was 70 seconds faster than his top time as a junior, which came during a 70th-place finish at the 3A state meet.

Carp Mukai, sr., Kamiak

The Gonzaga University signee is a two-time state qualifier. He placed 52nd at the 4A state meet last season, with a time of 16:15.9. This past fall, he ran three sub-16-minute times as part of the Nike Cross Virtual season. His personal-best 15:28.0 from November is tied for No. 11 in the state this season regardless of classification.

GIRLS RUNNERS TO WATCH

Emma Arceo, jr., Kamiak

Arceo reached the state podium in each of her first two seasons, placing seventh at the 4A state meet as a freshman and 15th last season as a sophomore. Her fastest time last season was 18:37.2, which was tied for No. 39 in the state regardless of classification.

Ellie Baxter, sr., Snohomish

The Division I-bound Cal Poly signee may have been a contender for a top-three state medal this season. Baxter placed in the top 45 of the 3A state meet each of the last three years, highlighted by a 12th-place finish last season when she ran a personal-best 18:36.8. She was one of just three non-seniors to finish in the top 12.

Paige Gerrard, fr., Snohomish

Gerrard is off to a strong start to her prep career. She placed second in a 3,625-meter race during Friday’s dual meet against Lake Stevens and finished more than 23 seconds ahead of three top-50 state placers from last season — the Vikings’ duo of Emma Owen and Ashley Reeck, and Snohomish teammate Emily Freeman.

Jasmine Nguyen, sr., Marysville Getchell

After having an ovarian cyst surgically removed just prior to her sophomore year, Nguyen experienced a breakthrough campaign last season as a junior. She ran five sub-19-minute times, captured the 3A Northwest District title and placed 15th at the 3A state meet. Her fastest time was 18:29.1, which ranked her No. 28 in the state last season regardless of classification.

Emma Owen, sr., Lake Stevens

The two-time state qualifier placed 33rd at the 4A state meet last season with a personal-best time of 19:07.8. In her season debut earlier this month, she ran a time of 19:35.0.

Ashley Reeck, jr., Lake Stevens

Reeck made big strides last season, going from 19th place at district as a freshman to 19th place at the 4A state meet as a sophomore. She broke the 19-minute mark three times last season, including the personal-best 18:52.6 she ran at state.

Tryggve Trivett, soph., Monroe

Trivett capped an impressive freshman campaign by placing 32nd in last season’s 4A state meet with a time of 19:05.8. Two weeks earlier, she ran a personal-best 18:37.3 that ranked her No. 41 in the state last season regardless of classification.

Jemma Willcox, jr., Edmonds-Woodway

After qualifying for state as a freshman, Willcox nearly reached the 3A state podium last season as a sophomore. She placed 19th in the state meet with a personal-best time of 18:56.9 and was one of just two underclassmen in the top 20.

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