The Top 10 Senior Boys To Watch In Cross Country

* Patrick Koon returns as one of the top rising seniors for the 2023 cross country season.

Photo Credit: Cyrus Hannah/MileSplit Florida

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The Class of 2024 boys will look to have a historic season on the cross country course beginning in just a few weeks.

Some of the top rising senior boys have exceptional resumes that include top placements at national championships, course records and all-time state marks. 

The seniors will likely set the tone for a very competitive fall.

Continue below for our full top 10 senior boys rankings for the upcoming cross country season.

Honorable Mention: Sage Wilde, Liberty North (MO); Seth Norder, Grand Haven (MI);  Jason Parra, Millikan (CA); JoJo Jourdon, Seaside (UT); Marcelo Parra, San Antonio TMI (TX); Brayden Marshall, Winfield (WV); Ryan Pajak, Ringgold (PA); Connell Alford, Chelsea (MI).

10. Adam Burlison

Lubbock Coronado (TX)

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Burlison could very well be the breakout star of the 2023 cross country season.


Let's just say the Texan has had one heck of a competition season since his win at the Nike South Regional last November.

The football-turned-distance-runner clocked a 5k PR of 14:57.98 last fall and finished 56th at Nike Cross Nationals, but everything that has happened since then on the track points to a potential breakthrough on the course very soon. 

Outdoors, Burlison, who ran for Grapevine his junior season, won both the 1,600m and 3,200m at the UIL Texas Class 5A State Championships in 4:08.64 and 8:54.47 and would end his season with a stellar 4:03.85 mile performance at the RunningLane Track Championships, finishing behind only Devan Kipyego.

That alone indicates that he may have more in store for the 5k in the coming months.

9. Byron Grevious

Phillips Exeter Academy (NH)

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Expect Grevious to make a big impact on the course toward the end of the season.

The Phillips Exeter Academy (NH) star typically doesn't open up his season until October, but when his debut does come, he'll be a top talent. Last year as a junior, he won half of the four races he contested and earned stellar finishes on the national stage -- second place at Nike Northeast Regionals and 12th at Nike Cross Nationals in 15:00.90 for 5k.

American Fork's Daniel Simmons was the only other junior that finished ahead of Grevious at NXN.

That success continued on the track, both indoors and outdoors, as Grevious clocked 8:51.00 at New Balance Nationals Indoor and 14:24.04 for 5,000m at Nike Outdoor Nationals, a performance which also earned him a win.

His 5K personal best of 14:41.94 was set back in 2021 competing in the historic showdown at Garmin RunningLane, but Grevious will challenge the sub-15-minute barrier each time he steps on a course in 2023.

8. Paul Bergeron

Westford Academy (MA)

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Placing 15th at the Champs Sports National Championships last December, Bergeron emerged as one of the top performers on the day from the Class of 2024.

But that shouldn't have come as much of a surprise, as he put together a consistent cross country campaign in 2022 while representing Westford Academy (MA).

Bergeron set a 5K best of 14:43.74 last season and finished in the top three every race he ran minus Champs Sports Nationals. One of his best performances came at the Champs Sports Northeast Regional, taking third in 15:30.80 for a 193 speed rating.

He also holds a strong track resume with PRs of 4:10.62 for the mile and 8:51.88 in the 2-mile.

7. Jake Liebert

Wando (SC)

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One of the fastest cross country racers in South Carolina history will look to add another state title and top national finishes to his resume in his final year of high school competition.

Liebert clocked a 5K season best of 14:54.60 in 2022 for fourth at The Southern Showcase, which earned him his second-straight South Carolina AAAAA state title. He would also compete at RunningLane and take sixth overall to end his season.

But if the end of his outdoor season was of any indication of his current fitness, Liebert could quickly blow past his bests from 2022. He placed third in the 2-mile at New Balance Nationals Outdoor in 8:47.47 and also set a 4:11.04 1,600m best to win a AAAAA state title in the event.

6. Cameron Todd

Brebeuf Jesuit Prep (IN)

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Todd was a relatively-underrated talent heading into Champs Sports Nationals last December.

He finished third at the Indiana State Cross Country Championships and fourth at the Champs Sports Midwest Regional.

But that's when the Brebeuf Jesuit Prep star became a much bigger name.

Earning sixth-place in 15:13.00 -- the top performance from a junior at Champs in 2022 -- Todd quickly cemented himself as an athlete to watch in the Class of 2024.

Since then, he's gone 8:55.93 for the 2-mile outdoors and clocked a mile PR of 4:09.96, both of which came at New Balance Nationals Outdoor.

He'll enter the fall with a 14:57.30 5K PR from the Nike XC Town Twilight Invitational last October.

5. Drew Griffith

Butler (PA)

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The Notre Dame commit will have the chance to dominate in Pennsylvania this fall.

Griffith won all but two 5K races last year as a junior, including a key win at the Champs Sports Northeast Regional and a course record-breaking effort at the 29th Annual Carlisle Invitational. Griffith's time from Carlisle -- 14:49.30 -- ranked ninth-fastest among juniors in 2022.

But where Griffith's star power truly emerged was at Champs Sports Nationals, where he raced his way to eighth-place in 15:14.40, making him one of only three juniors to place in the top 10.

Griffith's track season that included an 8:48.01 2-mile effort indoors and a 4:07.24 indoor mile mark should give him the confidence needed to take command of his senior track season.

4. Clay Shively

Wichita Trinity Academy (KS)

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The fastest Kansas distance runner since Jim Ryun could be the cross country athlete to watch this season.

Shively, the eighth-fastest returner junior at 5K with a PR of 14:47.40, didn't compete at a national cross country championship last fall. In fact, he ended his season on a high note, winning a Kansas Class 3A state title for the first time in his high school career.

But that shouldn't mean that he isn't on your radar in 2023.

Indoors, Shively broke the legendary Ryun's mile record of 4:07.20 with a 4:04.95 mile effort at the Arkansas Invitational, which was a record that had stood for nearly 60 years.

On the outdoor track, Shively continued to make state history with a 4:01.47 mile PR at the HOKA Festival of Miles and a 8:50.75 mark at the Shawnee Mission South Relays, both of which rank among the fastest performances ever from a Kansas high schooler.

The fastest guy since Ryun certainly has a nice ring to it, and Shively could improve upon that reputation this fall.

3. Patrick Koon

Leon (FL)

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Setting numerous course and meet records throughout Florida last year, Koon was the man to beat in 2022. 

That remains the same this fall. Not only did the Leon (FL) talent win all but one of his races in 2022, but he logged one of the fastest 5K times by a junior -- 14:43.00 -- which came in a win at the Southern Showcase.

Koon clocked three sub-15-minute performances for 5K last season, including a 14:50.00 course record at the FSU Invitational and a 14:56.70 effort for a state title at the FHSAA 3A state meet.

He'll enter his senior cross country season as the third-fastest returner at 5K and a legitimate contender for an individual national title.

2. Landon Heemeyer

Rocky Mountain (ID)

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One of the top returners from last year's Champs Sports Nationals, Heemeyer will have a chance to rise up the cross country ranks from the get-go.

 As a junior last year, Heemeyer won an Idaho Class 5A state championship in a 5K personal best of 14:38.79, which ranked him at U.S. No. 11 last season. He had his biggest breakout out performance of the season, though, in his very last race with a ninth-place run at Champs.

Outdoors, Heemeyer earned sixth at Nike Outdoor Nationals in the 2-mile with a PR of 9:01.80 and also  clocked 8:59.57 for 3,200m at the Nike/Jesuit Twilight Relays.

But where Heemeyer's true dominance seems to lie is on the cross country course. As an experience senior, he has a chance to make an impact early on in both Idaho and on the national scene.

1. Daniel Simmons

American Fork (UT)

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The Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Player of the Year from last year will return to the course as a senior and he will be a favorite to win a national title.

Simmons was a star for American Fork (UT) last fall as a junior, placing second at Nike Cross Nationals and winning all but two races he contested throughout the course of his season.

He set a 5K season best of 14:44.80 at the Nike Southwest Regional, and that performance ranked him among the top racers in the country.

His momentum carried on through both the indoor and outdoor track seasons as he clocked a U.S. No. 3 all-time 13:59.96 indoor 5K at New Balance Indoor Nationals and then logged a top five all-time 8:34.14 3,200m effort at the Arcadia Invitational during the outdoor season.

Simmons will hope to lead American Fork (UT) to victory from a team standpoint on the cross country course as well.