* Bethany Michalak, Clay Shively, Ruth White and Anthony Provenzan are the top runners to watch out for this weekend at state championships across the U.S.
Photo Credit: MileSplit
- - -
The the time is finally here, and seasons are going to be on the line this weekend across the U.S.
This weekend opens the gates to state championship and, along with it, epic battles for titles, potential state records and fights for personal bests.
With over five state meets spread across the U.S. on Saturday, there is no denying the exciting weekend that approaches.
Let's dive into the top storylines. Make sure to check back into MileSplit's coverage at Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma and other state meets.
- - -
Home to the two top ranked girl teams in the nation -- Niwot and Air Academy -- Colorado is ready for a record-breaking weekend at CHSAA.
Although not set to go head-to-head, these powerhouses will look to secure titles in both of their respective classifications.
The No. 1 Niwot High School girls hold an impressive 17:27 5K average for the season. With a perfect race under their belt from the Desert Twilight XC Invite and sophomore Addison Ritzenhein leading the pack, the Cougars should torch the Class 4A race at the Norris Penrose Events Center.
With the second-fastest team average in the nation and another Class 5A state title to collect, Air Academy also will line up on Saturday with top runners Bethany Michalak and Tessa Walter ready. Mountain Vista, ranked at No. 4, will give them a test, though.
It will be no surprise to watch these teams win, but to see which school performs better will determine the nation's best.
Watch Live: CHSAA XC STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
10/28 -10:00 AM CDT
- - -
Shively looks prime to break his previous meet record of 15:26, as he clocked his first sub-15 5k this season at the Olathe Twilight in 14:42.60.
From Olathe, he shifted to the fastest 5K runner in Kansas history and also landed himself among the top 15 fastest athletes in the country. On the girls side, Katelyn Rupe is the fastest in Kansas with a personal best of 17:05.90 from late September at the Bob Schmoekel XC Invitational.
Undefeated this season with seven wins, the junior from Salina Central HS just came off a 41-second victory at regionals, with no one near touching her time.
Rupe is seems ready to grasp another Class 5A state title at Rim Rock Farm and finish her winning streak with a perfect season.
Watch Live: KSHSAA XC STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
10/28 - 10:00 AM CDT
- - -
All eyes will be on Ruth White this weekend at the Maine Class C State Championships.
With an incredible perfect season ongoing, this Orono senior has taken her running to the next level as she recently dipped under 17 minutes for the first time in her high school career.
Her personal best of 16:56.92 from the Maine XC Festival of Champions showcased her undeniable strength. She is now the only girl in Maine's history to have clocked a sub-17 5k in cross country.
The recent Boise State commit is going for her third consecutive state title on Saturday at the Troy Howard XC course in Belfast. These past two years, White has sustained over a minute lead, but now with her season breakthrough, the potential to pump out another sub-17 is there.
- - -
Last October at Lavern Gibson, the then-juniors ran neck-and-neck toward the line, with Provenzano ultimately inching in front.
This past weekend at regionals, Provenzano did it again -- he beat out Todd again, this time by five seconds.
However, Todd holds the upper hand with a personal best of 14:48.10 from his title finish at the Nike XC Town Twilight Invitational in late September. Provenzano has yet to break 15 for the 5k.
The showdown shouldn't disappoint.
- - -
The KHSAA Class 3 meet will be packed with three top talents on the girls side, all in battle for their first individual cross country state title.
With the fastest time in the state this season from her 17:20 push at the Trinity/ Valkyrie Invitational, sophomore Addison Moore of Woodford County has quickly emerged as one of the names to beat in Kentucky. She placed fourth at last year's state meet -- against returning upperclassmen Tula Fawbush.
The Oldham County senior was third at state in 2022 and is currently seeded second entering the weekend with a personal best of 17:27.
Watch Live: KHSAA XC STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
10/28 - 7:00 AM CDT
- - -
Landon Bendgen has eight wins, a perfect season and the only sub-15 in the state this year.
Hailing from Woodbine High School, this senior is the top returner for the Iowa Class 4A State Championships in Fort Dodge.
Last year as a junior, he took first with a 15-second lead; it was a major improvement from his 42nd finish as a sophomore.
Will Bendgen break his junior state showing and go under 15 again?
- - -
She placed third last year behind fellow teammate Liesel Kehoe. However, there will be no Kehoe on Saturday. That means the University of Arkansas commit Kirkland could go after a title of her own.
The Edmond North senior should be ready to surpass last year's time of 18:21, as she nearly took home her first sub 17:30 two weekends ago.
Watch Live: OSSAA XC STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
10/28 - 8:30 AM CDT