Watch Out For These Seven Girls This XC Campaign

Progress can take many forms. 

It may be a small win on a state level. It could be a qualifier to a state or regional championship. It might be that one good performance on a national stage. 

But career-changing moments look like something different entirely. 

They can change the perception of a season, the future of a career, and the ambitions of an athlete. Every season, we get our fair share of those moments, and it's hard to ignore where those efforts can often take young athletes into the next few seasons. 

View: Top Returning 5K Times From 2018

Below, we're looking at seven girls athletes with a opportunities to make that big leap forward in 2019. 

Whether they're looking to prove, to solidify, or to simply achieve something in their grasp is all within reach. Check out what they've all got going for them. 

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Brynn Brown, Denton Guyer (TX)

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Texas is stock full of incredible talent in 2019, and it has its fair share of state championship contenders, though Brown has the potential to be on another wavelength. 

The Denton Guyer (TX) junior was one of just three girls to break 10 minutes for 2-miles this past spring and had the fourth-best track time in the 5K, going 16:25.47 at the Texas Distance Festival near the middle of March. 

Third year, as they say, can be the best year.

Brown has the potential to compete among the best athletes in the country, improving upon her 18th-place performance at Foot Locker Nationals and 50th-place finish at NXN, which were her first entries into the season-ending national meets.

Only Katelynne Hart, who was second at Foot Locker Nationals, returns with a faster 2-mile time from the spring. 

Brown, a former soccer player, has an ideal combination of speed and finish: She ran 4:48.37 for 1,600m but also was one of 12 girls to break 17 minutes in the 5K during cross country last year, going 16:41.13. 

Look for Brown to make a big splash in 2019. 

Riley Chamberlain, Del Oro (CA)

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Only scratching the surface could have been the description of Chamberlain's freshman campaign. 

The talented youngster ran well, and often, winning the Division 3 California Interscholastic Federation state cross country title -- she was the only freshman in the top 10 -- before her aggregate finish qualified her for Nike Cross Nationals, where she placed 62nd in Portland. 

More than those two performances, Chamberlain's efforts weren't unnoticed at some of California's top fall meets, including a first-place nod at the Stanford Invitational, a second-place finish at the Clovis Invitational and a 1st-place honor in the Division 3 run at the Mt. SAC Invitational. 

While Chamberlain competed a whopping 14 times, there seemed to be no lag-effort, as she claimed first-place finishes in 12 competitions and had the fourth-best freshman time of 2018. 

Chamberlain fine-tuned that fitness in the spring, scoring school records of 4:56.94 in the 1,600m and 10:21.31 in the 3,200m -- she also has the seven fastest times in XC in Del Oro history. 

If nothing else, Chamberlain is on the road to prove herself as one of the country's top sophomores. And there's no shortage of those, from Aubrey O'Connell, to Abby Vanderkooi, to Natalie Cook, Jenna Hutchins, Ella Borsheim and Charlotte Bednar

Hana Hall, Flagstaff (AZ)

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If last year was Hall's introduction to elite cross country, her final season of competition could yield some actual hardware. 

The fourth-year runner from Flagstaff, who's the adopted daughter -- the oldest of four -- of Olympian Ryan Hall and professional runner Sara Hall, really came into her own as a junior, lowering her personal best 5K to 17:14.80 at NXR Southwest, which qualified her for Nike Cross Nationals. 

Hall finished 65th overall in Portland, though there's a lot to like about her trajectory, which seems to be flying high. After moving to Arizona from California, where she placed 10th in Division 4 as a sophomore for University Preparatory High School, she won her first state title at the AIA State Cross Country Championships. 

The 2018 season saw Hall break 18 minutes three times and finished with her being named the Arizona Daily Sun's cross country Athlete of the Year.

Obviously, regional success is one thing. But it could just be the start of Hall's future in this sport, and last year she joined the family ranks at least in one way: Both Ryan and Sara also won state championships during their time as prep runners. 

Julia David-Smith, Issaquah (WA)

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You could say David-Smith broke through on the national stage in 2018. She qualified for Nike Cross Nationals for the first time, finishing 28th overall. 

But she hasn't had that big breakthrough moment just yet. She finished second at the WIAA State Championships in 2018. 

But progress was made in the spring when she won her first state title in Washington, earning a big PR and win in the 1,600m. 

Confident could be swooning at the right time, and it could be David-Smith's year.

She went under 18 minutes five times in the 5K last year, scoring a personal and school record of 17:16.40 at the Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational in October -- it was there where she out-kicked West Valley's Kendall Kramer (who's also on this list), Allie Janke and Taylor Roe

Better yet, David-Smith flourished in her sophomore track season, putting down times of 2:13.01 in the 800m, 4:50.35 in the 1,600m and 10:21.15 in the 3,200m -- both efforts were within the top 50 times nationally. 

Kendall Kramer, West Valley (AK)

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The crazy part about Kramer's career in Alaska is that it could be so much more. 

But the 18-year-old is markedly elite in another sport, too: Nordic skiing. 

Perhaps then we've only seen glimpses of Kramer's true talent in cross country over the past three seasons. Still, she's no doubt the best athlete to compete in the state since Allie Ostrander.

She's racked up six state championships across the fall and spring seasons, including two straight cross country titles -- and she didn't even compete in the state championships in 2018. 

This year Kramer's plans are similar as they were in 2018 and prior: She's going to compete a few times through the fall -- when snow and ice don't hold up training -- and will compete at the Alaskan state meet on October 5th. 

Fortunately, there might be one more bonus for Kramer in 2019: There's a chance her West Valley High School squad travels to the Mt. SAC Invitational two weeks following the state championships. 

But as for national regional competition? It's unlikely at this point. 

Mattie Geddes, Twin Falls (ID)

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It's not that surprising when an athlete or team from the Northwest region throws down at Nike Cross Nationals. 

It happens all the time. 

But Geddes was the top performer from the regional last year, finishing ninth overall, and if the Northwest was an actual team, they would have straight up dominated at NXN -- all five qualifiers were within the top 28 finishers at the meet. 

Geddes, a transfer to Twin Falls in 2018, is back in 2019. And she has a chance to score a huge performance yet again. 

Last year's season featured four times under 19 minutes and a state title in Idaho, with Geddes winning the Class 4A division in 17:29.49. She went on to finish fifth at NXR Northwest -- picking up the fourth NXN qualifier, alongside another Idaho athlete, Ashley LaJocies

Geddes is an athlete not to overlook in 2019. 

Charlotte Bednar, Hun School of Princeton (NJ)

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If we're looking for examples to mimic that of Sydney Masciarelli in 2019, look no further than Bednar. 

Like Masciarelli, the reigning Foot Locker Nationals champion who also goes to a private school in the Northeast, Bednar is headed into her second season as a highly-regarded talent, from New Jersey. 

Like Masciarelli, Bednar was virtually unknown last season before unleashing two big performances at NXR Northeast, finishing fourth overall, and at NXN, where she was an All-American in 12th-place. 

So it would be smart to keep track of Bednar's outings this fall. 

Perhaps we'll see Bednar at one of those touted Northeastern meets like the Manhattan Invitational -- so we'll get a glimpse of her ability against national-level foes. Or maybe once again she'll compete exclusively in the NJISAA, a private athletics association comprised of boarding schools from the Northeast. 

Either way, expect Bednar back for another go-around at NXN, or even Foot Locker in 2019.  

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