10 Of The Best Junior Girls Talents To Watch In XC

* Timpview's Jane Hedengren has emerged as one of the top female distance runners in the Class of 2025

Photo Credit: Josh Ornelas/MileSplit

- - - 

The Class of 2025 girls are among the nation's brightest talents. 

They've got record-breakers within their ranks, up-and-coming starlets and fast-improving standouts. 

In the case of Sadie Engelhardt, the record-breaking California distance runner from Ventura High School, she's been moving up the national charts throughout her high school campaign and already owns a sea of records.

But within view? There are the likes of Montgomery's Hanne Thomsen, Timpview's Jane Hedengren, The Webb School's Abby Faith Cheeseman and William Floyd's Zariel Macchia

Which girls athletes among the stars to watch this fall? 

We have you covered in our latest review. 

Honorable Mention: Izzie Sullivan, Fayetteville-Manlius (NY); Sydney Drevlow, Hopkins (MN); Tiffany Sax, Newbury Park (CA); Alexandra Fox, Flower Mound (TX); Katelyn Rupe, Salina Central (KS), Ella Hagen, Summit (OR); Emily Wisniewski, Crescent Valley (OR); Lillie Bogdan, Frontier (NY); Holly Barker, Laguna Hills (CA); Isabelle Bloker, Sioux Valley (SD).

10. Alyssa Sauro

Williamstown (WV)

- - - 

With Irene Riggs now graduated, Sauro, the former high school point guard from West Virginia, can now take the throne as the state's top dog at 5K. 

Sauro had a blitzkreig sophomore campaign, winning six races en route to her top 10 finish at the Champs Sports National Championships. 

That finish puts Sauro firmly in the national spotlight in 2023 and it gives her two more years to find success along the way. Outdoors, she continued her string of results with state wins in the 800m, 1,600m and 3,200m. 

She's also found PRs of 4:51.10 in the 1,600m and 10:11.81 in the 3,200m, putting her among the class' top distance runners. 

9. Juliet Frum

Mountain Vista (CO)

- - -

The first bit of news to report is that Frum, a rising junior from Illinois has transferred to Mountain Vista High School. She previously attended Glenbrook North High School. 

That's important because Frum, who owns personal best times of 2:16 in the 800m, 4:50 in the 1,600m and 10:52 in the 3,200m, is an elite athlete who was Illinois' top returner at 3-miles and 5K. 

She'll arrive at a program that's considered one of the best in Colorado history. 

The benefits should be obvious.

Frum, who ran 16:53.21 for 3-miles and 17:23.10 for 5K, should step into the No. 1 role for MV and could even challenge the state's elites -- Ella Hagen, Isabel Allori and Keeghan Edwards -- for supremacy. Beyond that, Frum could become a national-contender, too. 

8. Jessica Jazwinski

Hart (MI)

- - - 

Few stars ran, or won, as much as Jazwinski last fall. 

She won a total of 15 races last year, including her Michigan Division 3 final and the Michigan Meet of Champions. 

That success didn't end there. She followed with a fourth-place finish at the Champs Sports Midwest Regional and then an All-American finish at Champs Sports Nationals. 

Her best performance came at the Meet of Champions, where she clocked a time of 16:47.30 -- second best for the sophomore class in 2022. 

7. Claire Stegall

Nolensville (TN)

- - - 

Stegall is vastly underrated, but maybe that's just where she wants to be. 

Opening her sophomore season in 2022 after just two races as a freshman, she ripped off a 17:08 PR for 5K at the Voyles Classic, then proceeded to finish second in a national field at The Southern Showcase. She followed with four straight wins, culminating with her first Class 3A title in Tennessee. 

Stegall then went to the RunningLane Championships, where she found herself in the lead pack before bowing out with just 800 meters to go. 

All that being said, Stegall has a sports car engine. Outdoors she claimed personal best times of 4:41.40 for 1,600m and 2:09.11 for 800m. 

6. Helen Sachs

Holland West Ottawa (MI)

- - - 

The Michigander reached as high as No. 4 on our MileSplit50 rankings over the cross country season -- which came after she won the Nike Midwest Regional in a 5K PR of 16:47.90 in November. 

She finished the year at No. 15 after her 60th-place finish at Nike Cross Nationals, but the total of her season remained impressive: nine wins and a Michigan Division I title. 

The bad news is that Sachs missed all of the indoor and outdoor seasons. But the good news is that cross country is still ahead of us. 

Based on that sophomore season alone, it would be hard to discount her chances in cross country. 

5. Zariel Macchia

William Floyd (NY)

- - - 

Macchia is a machine. 

The New Yorker won six races through her cross country season, including a New York State Class A title in 18:02.60, before claiming a third-place finish at the Champs Northeast Regional, a runner-up finish at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships and a sixth-place finish at the Champs National XC Championships. 

What's more, Macchia then proceeded to qualify for the U.S. U20 XC team and then was top 20 at the World U20 XC Championships in Bathurst, Australia. 

Again, Macchia is a machine. 

Outdoors, she ran 59.47 seconds in the 400m, she clocked a 1,500m PR of 4:25.02 and a mile best of 4:47.16 and then she clocked times of 9:35.82 in the 3K and 16:17.29 in the 5K at Nike Outdoor Nationals.

4. Abby Faith Cheeseman 

The Webb School (TN)

- - - 

Cheeseman had, in many ways, a perfect season. 

It wasn't too long, she didn't race too often and she capitalized when it mattered, winning her third straight state title in Tennessee before qualifying for Champs Sports Nationals and placing inside the top 10 at the race. 

Cheeseman won the Jesse Owens Classic, beginning her season in October, then moved on to the Frank Horton Night Classic, where she can a 5K personal best of 17:04.50. 

She only raced six times across 2022.

Utilizing key meets and performing well in crucial moments, Cheeseman now finds herself among the cream of the crop in the Class of 2025.

3. Jane Hedengren

Timpview (UT)

- - - 

No girls athlete has emerged more than Hedengren over the last year. 

While her cross country season went well, with five wins and a Utah State Championship in a 5K personal best of 17:25.40, her outdoor season is where she made things happen. 

She clocked class-leading times in the 1,500m (4:18.37), mile (4:35.69), 3K (9:17.26) and 2-mile (9:54.38), scooting past the likes of Sadie Engelhardt and Hanne Thomsen. 

While cross country is a different beast than the track, the indications favor Hedengren's continued ascent through the ranks in 2023.

2. Hanne Thomsen

Montgomery (CA)

- - - 

Thomsen is fast approaching Engelhardt in California. 

The rising junior from Santa Rosa ran the fastest 5K in the state last year in 16:49.20, clocking that time in September of 2022 at the Nike Portland XC Invitational. 

She went on to win the Asics Clovis Invitational in 17:04.20, the CIF Division 3 state final in 17:12.77 and finished 16th at Nike Cross Nationals in 17:35.20. 

She won every single one of her races up through nationals, accumulating seven wins across the campaign. 

1. Sadie Engelhardt

Ventura (CA)

- - -

Engelhardt hasn't quite figured out the race formerly known as Foot Locker Nationals just yet. But perhaps third time's a charm for the California ace. 

Other than her 10th-place finish at Champs Sports last year, there was not a single result over the prior fall that did not go her way. 

She won the 3-mile race at Woodbridge in 15:42.60, clocking a sophomore record and a new national best time for the distance; she won the CIF SS Division Finals and the CIF Division 2 Championships in a new 5K best of 16:57.84; and she won the Champs Sports West Regional. 

All in all, Engelhardt won all eight of her races before her final one. 

This year, you can bet she will have her sites on a national win.