Cross Country Heated Up This Weekend Across The States

Photo Credit: Bobby Reyes/Colorado MileSplit

It was only a matter of time before the stars  of 2020 began tearing up cross country courses. 

And it seems this weekend was as good as any to produce the season's first ridiculous performances. 

Three of the top six girls in the MileSplit50 national preseason top 25 rankings all threw down phenomenal efforts on courses on Saturday, with preseason No. 1 Sydney Thorvaldson of Rawlins (WY) High School producing the fastest overall 5K time of the weekend in 16:19 at the Heritage Distance Classic -- an event run on the Liberty Bell Invitational course, at just over 5,300 feet of elevation. 

Thorvaldson's effort became just the eighth in cross country under 16:30 for 5K all-time, and the third-best performance nationally ever. It was also a new best for Wyoming. 

But she wasn't the only runner performing in the top 10, either. 

Science Hill's Jenna Hutchins, MileSplit USA's preseason No. 6 athlete, ran on Saturday in Alabama at the Chickasaw Invitational and secured another top 10 all-time effort, going 16:25.00 to claim the sixth-fastest performance on cross country soil in history and the fastest performance in Tennessee history. 

And at least based on overall speed ratings, it was Hutchins' effort that came through with the bigger standing. She ultimately earned a 165 -- the race on Saturday was hot and humid -- while Thorvaldson, who at points ran on pavement, netted a 161. 

Both, however, were the first girls over 160 on the year. 

And then there was MileSplit No. 4 Brynn Brown

The Denton Guyer (TX) senior and recent University of North Carolina commit wasn't far behind. On Saturday on a hard course in McKinney, Texas, Brown opened with a 17:10. 

Katy Cinco Ranch's Sophie Atkinson, meanwhile, became the fourth runner under 17 minutes, netting a 16:59.00 at the Brenham Hillacious Invitational. 

Desert Vista's Lauren Ping opened her 2020 account with a US No. 5 time of 17:05.20 at the Chandler Invitational, while Cherry Creek's Riley Stewart was second overall to Thorvaldson in 17:06.00. 

Perhaps she's got some stiff company in Colorado. Freshman Bethany Michalak, of Air Academy, ran the third-fastest time on the state course ever, winning the Pre-State Cheyenne Mountain Stampede in 17:27.50. According to Colorado MileSplit editor Bobby Reyes, only three girls have now broken 18 on that course ever. 

Meanwhile, sticking with Colorado cross country, Cherry Creek senior Parker Wolfe, No. 9 on the MileSplit50 preseason top 25, scored a new course record at the Heritage Distance Classic, authoring an incredible new personal best, a new Colorado No. 1, and US No. 1 time of 14:30.10. 

That performance topped Cole Sprout's time of 14:38.40 on the same course a year ago. 

Valor Christian sophomore Ty Garrett, by the way, was second to Wolfe in 15:23.00.

In Iowa, Cormick Logue posted a US No. 11 performance of 15:17.00 at the Girard Invitational, Carmel's Kole Mathison won the Brown County Eagle Classic in 15:18.30 and Crawford Hope, the North Carolina commit from Homewood (AL), scored the biggest win of the weekend, beating in-state competitor Ethan Strand, in 15:20.75.