The Top 10 Freshmen Boys To Watch For This XC Season

* Marcelo Mantecon enters the cross country season as one of the top incoming freshmen.

Photo Credit: Nancy Scott/MileSplit Florida

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With the 2023 cross country season fast approaching, it's time to begin previewing the big names looking to make their marks on the course this fall.

We begin by analyzing the top incoming boys freshman athletes who could make an immediate impact in their first year in high school.

The star-studded list of top freshmen includes state champions, national qualifiers and impressive distance racers on the track.

Continue below for our top 10 freshman boys to watch out for this upcoming cross country season.

    Related Links:

    2022 Cross Country leaderboard

    2022 MileSplit50 Boys XC Team Rankings

    2022 MileSplit50 Girls XC Team Rankings

    2022 MileSplit50 Boys Individual Rankings

    2022 MileSplit50 Girls Individual Rankings

    Honorable Mention: Adrian Cantu, Santa Clarita (CA); Koa Erickson, Chapin (SC); Jackson Miller (MO); Riley Comstock (GA); Patrick Noonan, Waltham (MA).

    10. Logan Drevlow

    Hopkins (MN)

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    Drevlow posted at U.S. No. 8 16:23.90 for eighth graders in the 5k last cross country season, making him one of the top incoming freshmen in 2023.

    During the 2022 fall season Drevlow competed up for the Hopkins High School (MN) team, rounding the course at premiere Midwest cross country events such as the St. Olaf High School Showcase and the Roy Griak Invitational.

    That experience could carry Drevlow far as a distance runner to watch for in 2023.

    9. Oliver Horton

    Discovery Canyon Campus (CO)

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    The USATF National JO cross country champion could be a star to watch in Colorado this fall as an incoming freshman.

    With a cross country best of 12:37.50 for 4k, Horton ranked as a top middle school performer in 2022. That momentum carried with him into the spring, clocking a 4:28.69 1,600m PR at the Midwest Night of Stars and 4:31.43 in the middle school mile at Brooks Pr.

    Horton finished eighth grade as the fourth-best mile racer in the country for his class, which should give him a confidence boost going into his first season of high school cross country.

    8. Ryan Duffy

    Kingsway (NJ)

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    With a 13:11.50 4k personal best from the USATF New Jersey Association Junior Olympics last year, Duffy enters his freshman season this fall as a leader among the class.

    Duffy's 4k best ranked among the best in the country in 2022 for eighth graders. But he truly hit his stride come track season, taking third in the mile for middle schoolers in 4:31.43 at Brooks PR.

    It also ranked as the fourth-best time posted in the event for eighth grade boys this spring.

    He'll make the jump up to the 5k cross country distance in a couple of months, but his performances in other events from last year alone indicate that he'll likely be among the best in the class of 2027.

    7. Greyson Duane

    Groton Dunstable Regional (MA)

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    Duane has yet to contest a cross country 5k in his career, but his results from plenty of other events point to potential as a freshman at the longer distances this fall.

    In 2022, Duane ran 9:59.80 for 3k and 13:20.60 in the 4k during his cross country season. But his truly eye-catching success came on the track beginning indoors where he took second in the middle school mile at New Balance Nationals Indoor in 4:32.55.

    He would then carry that over to the outdoor track and take second in the mile (4:28.69) for middle schoolers at Brooks PR Invitational and win the event at Nike Outdoor Nationals (4:28.96).

    6. Bobby Jazwinski

    Hart (MI)

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    If the last name is any indication, Jazwinksi could turn into a promising high school distance talent.

    Brother of Michigan state cross country champion and Champs Sports XC Nationals finisher Jessica Jazwinski, Bobby Jazwinski will join the Hart (MI) squad this fall with a 16:12.00 5k personal best set at the MITCA Michigan Meet of Champions last November.

    Jazwinski continued his momentum from the course to the indoor season where he logged PRs of 4:38.24 for 1,600m and 9:53.63 in the 3,200m on the oval.

    5. Kamari Ronfeldt

    Ann Arbor (MI)

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    Ronfeldt enters the 2023 season coming off a PR-setting year, clocking bests of 13:14.09 for 4k and 15:57.50 at 5k on the cross country course in 2022 as a middle schooler.

    The young star from Michigan was one of just three middle school boys to dip under 16 minutes for 5k last year.

    On the track, Ronfeldt's top highlight came from the MITS Indoor State Championships where he took second in the middle school 1,600m in 4:36.36.

    4. Ben Bird

    Hardin (MT)

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    Competing up for Hardin High School (MT) as a middle school star, Bird quickly became an impact player.

    At the MHSA 1A State Cross Country Championships in 2022, Bird took second overall with a 16:24.15 5k showing and helped Hardin to a sixth-place finish in the team scoring. His career 5k PR comes from last season's Eastern A Fall Classic where he clocked 16:11.57.

    That put him at U.S. No. 6 last season for eighth grade boys.

    Since then, Bird has registered marks of 4:27.16 for 1,600m and 9:47.77 at 3,200m on the track to rank among the top distance runners in the class of 2027.

      3. Andrew Brown

      Tupelo (MS)

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      In his final year of competition as a middle schooler, Brown excelled on the cross country course, winning 3k at the MHSAA Middle School Cross Country Classic and placing fifth at the 6A high school state championships.

      His 5k PR of 16:05.90 from the Tupelo End of Season State Meet Prep ranked him as the fifth-fastest eighth-grader at the distance last fall.

      On the track, Brown has further developed into a top-notch talent, clocking a 4:30.15 mile personal best at RunningLane Track Championships and taking third in the 1,600m at the 6A state meet.

      Lewis Central (IA)

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      Burns has been running against high schoolers on the cross country course since he was in sixth grade, and that experience could carry him far as a freshman this fall.

      While competing for Lewis Central as a middle schooler last season, Burns led all eighth graders in the country at 5k with a 15:31.80 best from the Fort Dodge Invitational. During 2022 alone, Burns dipped under 16 minutes for the distance an impressive nine times, and he would go on to beat out athletes many years his senior at the Iowa Class 3A Championships with a 15:32.43 winning mark.

      In his three years of competing at the Iowa state meet for cross country, Burns has finished 16th (2020), 13th (2021) and first (2022).

      * Marcelo Mantecon takes third in the FHSAA 3A 3,200m final as an eighth-grader.

      1. Marcelo Mantecon

      Belen Jesuit Preparatory School (FL)

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      Though he may be entering his first year of high school, Mantecon certainly isn't new to competing at that level.

      As an eighth-grader at Belen Jesuit, Mantecon was a key member of the varsity cross country program, clocking a 5k PR of 15:43.30 at Nike Southeast Regionals and finishing as the squad's top runner at Nike Cross Country Nationals in Oregon. That finish helped Belen Jesuit to 14th overall in the team scoring.

      Mantecon's 15:43.30 mark ranks as the second-fastest 5k time among all rising freshmen heading into the 2023 fall season.

      And if his middle school cross country success isn't proof enough, on the track this spring, the Florida youngster led all eighth-graders in the nation in the 1,500m (4:10.39), 1,600m (4:25.00), mile (4:26.60) and 3,200m (9:14.38). He would also go on to win the mile at Brooks PR Invitational and take third in the 3,200m against high schoolers at the FHSAA 3A Outdoor Championships.