We've got some serious competitors coming back this fall and we wanted to give you all a snap preview of the top girls across all divisions to watch. We'll go into more depth about the top individual kids per division in August. Last year, we had three individual girls qualify for NXN. Have a look at five Arizona girls to watch this fall.
Grace Driskill (Rincon University, Sr.)
Driskill went from finishing 9th at the AIA Cross Country State Championship, to a two-time D2 State Champion for the Girls 1600m and 3200m. She currently holds a lifetime best of 18:12 from the Nike Desert Twilight, but we bank on her speed as a middle to long-distance runner to carry her well under 18-minutes.
Mia Olsen is a girl who could be in a position to make some serious bounds this season. Last September, she nearly ran under 17-minutes in the Sweepstake race at the Woodbridge Classic. At the Cesar Chavez Sectionals, she won the D1 Girls' race. She broke 18-minutes at the NXR-Southwest Regional a week after she placed 5th at the AIA Cross-Country State Championship.
Ali Upshaw (St. Michael, Sr.)
Over the past two years, Upshaw has been just 13 seconds off breaking the 18-minute barrier. In November, she claimed her first Cross Country State Title and also spearheaded the Cardinals to a team victory. She'll be on the upswing this season after a massive improvement on the track when she ran 10:37 at Mt. SAC.... Additionally she pulled off the triple crown in Division IV. Her trajectory clearly points towards a big season ahead of her.
Caroline McLeskey (Highland, Sr.)
McLeskey's always been a long-distance competitor but after running 10:25 for 3200m at Arcadia and 4:53 for 1600m at the State Meet, she's made it clear that she's ready to dominate wherever she runs. At last year's Desert Twilight, McLeskey placed 4th in the Sweepstakes race, and then took 3rd in the D1 Girls race at the AIA Cross-Country State Championships.
Hall is the top returner from last year's season and was an NXN qualifier. A week after clinching the D2 State Title at Cave Creek, she broke through the field along Grand Sports Academy course to secure a spot on the Southwest team for Nike Cross Nationals with her fastest time of the season.
Did we mention that she's Ryan and Sara Hall's daughter?
This spring, she ran 5:02 for 1600m and 10:43 for 3200m on the track and she's not stepping off the gas this season.