Future Stars: These Athletes Can Make An Impact At States

* Alexandra Fox is an asset to the Flower Mound team this season

Photo Credit: Roderick Pernetter/Texas MileSplit

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States championships are beginning to roll out over the next couple of weeks in the U.S. In the midst of it all, there are many underclassmen who will not only score points for their team and be top finishers, but they can also be state-title contenders. 

Who are some of the young runners who will make a significant impact in these upcoming weeks?

Scroll below to see which of the top contenders are leading into the state championship part of the season. 

Ella Hagen, Summitt (CO)

Photo Credit: Bobby Reyes

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On Saturday, Colorado athletes will line up and Hagen is an individual who shouldn't be underestimated. 

She has remained undefeated against the CHSA Class 4A competition during the fall. The sophomore raced eight times this cross country season and she won half of them. What's impressive is the other half of the races she competed in, she didn't finish worst than second, making her a heavy favorite.

Last weekend at the Colorado Region 4A-1 Championships, the sophomore clocked in a time of 17:15. She goes into the weekend with a 5K personal best of 16:45.10, which she earned at the Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational. Her best performance is the third-fastest in the country. 

Katelyn Rupe, Salina Central (KS)

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Rupe may not be the most experienced runner in the field, as this is her first cross country season, but she's someone who proved countless times this fall that she deserves to be in the conversation for a Kansas state title.

The sophomore, who remains undefeated in 2022, added her first KSHSAA 5A Regional - Great Bend title with a new personal best of 17:24. This performance was her fourth sub-18-minute 5K of her high school career. 

Her performance takes over the fastest 5K time in Kansas so far this year. 

Rupe will line up at the KSHSSA 5A State Championship on Saturday hoping to add her first cross country title to resume. Rupe also won the 1,600m and 3,200m titles in the spring as a freshman.

Alexandra Fox, Flower Mound (TX)

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Flower Mound (TX) is in the hunt for the UIL 6A state title in the first week of November.

One young athlete can make a huge difference in this outcome.

Fox (above), who plays a pivotal role as the No. 3 runner for the Jaguars, clocked her fastest 5K performance of 17:25 at the UIL 1A-6A Region 1 Championship over the weekend. Her third-place finish helped Flower Mound earn a one-point victory over Southlake Carroll. 

This season she finished ninth at the Marcus Coach T Invitational and sixth at the Nike South Invitational. Both of these performances were sub-18-minutes as Fox helped Flower Mound earn the team titles. 

Noah Bontrager, Westview (IN)

Photo Credit: Mike Kepner/Indiana MileSplit

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Bontrager has seven races underneath his belt this season.

He has earned six victories and the only race where he didn't grab the win, he finished second at the Marion Invitational at the beginning of September.

Since then, no one has been able to stop the freshman.

Recently, he ran his fastest 5K performance. At the IHSAA Cross Country Semi-State 2- New Haven, he won the title in a lifetime best of 15:20. This was his third time breaking 16-minutes for 5K this year. 

The young talent will have a chance to go after his first-ever state title on Saturday. He finished 24th in the 3K Indiana Middle School Cross Country Championships last year. 

Landon Kimmel, Tippecanoe (OH)

Photo Credit: Shawn Conlon/Ohio MileSplit

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Kimmel entered high school with promise. Last year, as an eighth-grader, he won the Ohio Middle School State Cross Country Championships in 10:48 for two-miles.

As he's begun his first season at Tippecanoe, he's added some strong performances to his resume. He was the fifth-fastest runner and the top freshman at the Trinity/Valkyrie Invitational. 

Since then, he's racked up five straight wins, including an OHSAA Divison 1 District - Cedarville title, where he set a new 5K personal best of 15:13.

He's still on his journey to the state championships and will look to qualify at the regional meet this weekend. The OHSAA State Championships will take place in Obetz on November 5.