The Top 10 Senior Girls To Watch In Cross Country

* Ellie Shea is one of the top returners for the 2023 cross country season

Photo Credit: P.E. Grooms/MileSplit

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As we move through the top 10 athletes to watch for each class, we will finish off our series with the top incoming senior girls to watch this cross country season.

This will be their final time hitting the cross country course as a high school runner, and most of them are wanting to end their season with a bang. 

Continue below to read more about our top 10 senior girls to watch out for this fall.

Honorable Mention:

Rachel Forsyth, Ann Abor Pioneer (MI); Maddie Gardiner, The Covenant School (VA); Mary Bonner Dalton, Myers Park (NC); Andie Aagard, Lone Peak (UT); Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa (MI); Madison Peters, Pearland (TX); Mia Prok, Niwot (CO); Addison Knoblauch, Homestead (IN); Emily Bush, Saratoga Springs (NY); Ruth White, Orono (ME)

10. Isabel Allori

Liberty Common (CO)

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Allori was a standout in Colorado in 2022 and went undefeated through her first seven 5K races, which included winning her first Colorado Class 3A State Cross Country Championship title.

She proceeded to set a lifetime best of 16:58 for 5K en route to a qualification into Nike Cross Nationals. The young talent finished 14th overall and will now enter her senior season as the seventh-fastest competitor from nationals. 

On the outdoor track, she clocked 2:11 in the 800m, 4:52 in the 1,600m and 9:56 in the 3,200m. 

9. Nicole Humphries (TX)

Flower Mound (TX)

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Humphries has been going 1-2 with her twin sister Samantha, and they've both lined up against one another at various meets throughout the state. 

A memorable race Humphries had this fall was going across the finish line with her sister at the UIL State Cross Country Championships; Nicole won the title in 17:36.

She then set a personal best of 17:07 for 5K as she crossed the finish line in fourth at the Champs South Regional. 

Humphries made the decision to compete at both Nike and Champs National Cross Country Championships. She concluded her cross country season with a 13th-place finish in Portland and went 21st in San Diego. 

As the spring season unfolded, Humphries finished third and fifth at the UIL state meet in the 3,200m and 1,600m. She then had a breakthrough moment at Brooks PR Invitational, where she dropped a four-second best in the 800m this year with a 2:06. 

The Oregon commit enters her senior season with lifetime bests of 2:06 in the 800m, 4:46 in the mile and 10:11 in the 3,200m. 

8. Samantha Humphries

Flower Mound (TX)

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Just like her twin Nicole, Samantha Humphries had a standout season -- but especially on the cross country course.

Earlier in the fall, she set a lifetime best of 17:11 for 5K to finish fourth at the Nike South Invitational. From there, she raced to win back-to-back titles from the UIL District and Region 1 Championships. At the UIL Cross Country Championships, it was a blanket finish between her and her sister, but she was second by a hair. 

In the championship part of her season, Humphries finished 18th at the Champs South Regional meet before she finished 11th at Nike Cross Nationals. 

The Oregon commit clocked bests of 2:10 in the 800m, 4:41 in the mile, and 10:12 in the 3,200m during the spring.

Her standout performances included a second-place finish at the HOKA Festival of Miles in the mile and in the 3,200m at states. 

7. Nicki Southerland

Delta (IN)

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All Southerland did this season was win. 

To kick off last fall, Southerland secured 12 straight 5K wins before she finished second at her state cross country championships and sixth at the Champs Sports Midwest Region.

Outdoors, Southerland was undefeated in the 1,600m and raced to a new lifetime best of 4:43 to win the RunningLane Track Championships title. When she faced national competition at New Balance Nationals Outdoor in the mile, she came across fifth with a 4:41 personal best. 

This spring, Southerland showed off her speed as she finished second at states with a 2:05 personal best and a U.S. No. 8 performance. Southerland even posted a 10:14 best in the 3,200m.

6. Anna Callahan

Skyline (WA)

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Callahan's biggest success story last fall? She learned how to put everything together when it mattered. 

Leading up to Nike Cross Nationals, the Skyline (WA) senior won the Washington State Cross Country Championships and the Nike Northwest Regional.

When she lined up amongst the nation's best in Portland, she crossed the finish line as the ninth-fastest girl with a 17:23. 

From there, it was a snowball effect. 

Callahan then claimed 800m and 1,600m titles in Washington before becoming the national champion at Nike Outdoor Nationals in the mile with a 4:44 lifetime best. 

The Sammamish, Washington standout clocked personal best of 2:10 in the 800m, 4:44 in the mile and 10:17 in the 3,200 this season. 

5. Allie Zealand

Pacers Homeschool (VA)

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Zealand's personal best for 5K in cross country is 17:05 and based on how her spring went, she is on track to have another breakout season.

The Lynchburg, Virginia standout -- a home schooler -- had top finishes at national meets, including a third-place finish at the Champs South Regional and fourth at the RunningLane Cross Country Championships.

Zealand finished strong at Champs Sports Nationals with an eighth-place finish in 17:38. 

To end her successful cross country season, Zealand represented the U.S. at the World U20 Cross Country Championships. While in Australia, she was 34th overall with a 24-flat 6K performance.

She had a light outdoor season as she only competed at RunningLane Track Championships at New Balance Nationals Outdoor. In Alabama, she won the 3,200m title with a U.S. No. 17 time and personal best of 10:06. Zealand was also second in the mile with a 4:47. 

Zealand ran the mile at New Balance Nationals Outdoor and finished ninth. Zealand's mile performance ranked her 26th amongst the nation's best milers. She earned the silver in the two mile with a 10:02 to be U.S. No. 9.

4. Isabel Conde De Frankenberg

Cedar Park (TX)

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Conde De Frankenberg has been a track and cross country star since her freshman season. She's accumulated three state titles and one New Balance Nationals Outdoor 800m win over her lifetime in the sport. 

As her senior season begins, she's a national championship contender. 

Last fall she earned a series of 5K wins across the state, including the Lucas Lovejoy XC Fall Festival. Conde De Frankenberg was the second-best cross country runner this year at the state championships with a 17:45 performance.

Gearing up for national competition, she competed at both Nike Cross Nationals and the Champs Sports Nationals. In Portland, she finished sixth and will return this season as the second-fastest runner from the 2022 race.

In San Diego, Conde De Frankenberg was able to finish 13th overall. 

Despite having an injury during the spring, Conde De Frankenberg will return this cross country season ready to earn more titles for her resume. 

* Payton Godsey after winning the 5K title at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships in Huntsville, Alabama

3. Payton Godsey

Oaks Christian (CA)

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Godsey broke through in a big way last year. 

The runner from Westlake Village, California, won her first CIF State Cross Country Championships title with a lifetime best of 17-minutes flat in the 5K race.

Godsey showed her resilience when she faced muddy and rainy conditions at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships and she won the 5K title in 17:28, earning a six-second margin on the rest of the field.

Outdoors, Godsey finished second in the 3,200m at the CIF Track and Field Championships. 

She produced personal bests of 2:11 in the 800m, 4:44 in the mile and 9:57 in the 3,200m throughout the season. 

* Bethany Michalak reflects on her third-place finish at NXN

2. Bethany Michalak

Air Academy (CO)

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Michalak turned things up late in 2022. 

After she finished sixth at the Colorado Class 5A State Championships and had a fourth-place finish at the Nike Southwest Regional, she toed the line Nike Cross Nationals and finished as the third-fastest competitor with a 16:55, earning a 161 speed rating for her efforts.

This fall, Michalak is the fastest returner at 5K by nearly 22 seconds. 

The Air Academy senior was the runner up at the Colorado State Championships in the 1,600m and 3,200m. Michalak concluded her spring with a mile personal best and the fifth-fastest time in the nation from Brooks PR Invitational she clocked a 4:37 for third.

* Elliea Shea describes her runner up finish at Champs Sports Cross Country Nationals

1. Ellie Shea

Emerging Elite (MA)

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Shea competed in just two high school cross country races last fall, but each one was a dominant one and a stepping stone toward a memorable season. 

She debuted with a time of 17:10 at the Champs Northeast Regional and then she finished as the runner-up at Champs Sports Nationals at Balboa Park with a 16:55 personal best. She earned a 165 speed rating from that performance, which was the third-highest rating of the year. 

Her fall season didn't end there.

She qualified for and then competed at the World U20 Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, where she led the U.S. team to a third-place team finish, finishing 10th in the world with a 21:48 6K. With Shea leading the way, the U.S. team finished on the podium for the first time ever. 

From there, Shea won a 5K title and claimed a third-place finish in the 2-mile at New Balance Nationals Indoor.

During the outdoor season, Shea won the USATF U20 title in the 1,500m and 3K with 4:19 and 9:46 performances, respectively, before finishing second overall at the NACAC U23 Championships in Costa Rica with a 4:14 season best in the 1,500m. 

Shea owns personal bests of 4:37 in the mile and 9:53 in the two mile and ranks among the top 5 all-time at those distances in high school.