75 Amazing Time Improved Girls in 2020

Shelley Jarman running Desert Solistice in 2019

Moving on Up!

As we mentioned in our story yesterday about boys who improved the most in XC from 2018 to 2019, we are doing the same today with our girl XC runners in AZ. And like the boys from yesterday, some of these girls may not be part of the front running pack we all admire, but rather they are the young ladies who put in just as much effort as our 17 and 18-minute girl XC leaders but usually a couple of minutes behind them.

Today we are going to put a spotlight on a few of these runners who, for the most part, are not in their team's top-5, but yet have improved in their 5K times from 2018 to 2019 by no less than 2 minutes - that's awesome! The full list of the 75 girl runners who accomplished this feat is in the link below. But we will highlight a few of the girls right here.

Shelly Jarman, Highland HS: Shelley had a best and only time in 2018 in cross country of 28:40 on the Nike Desert Twilight course. On that same course in 2019, Shelley as a sophomore ran a 23:32 in September and then crushed that time with a 20:53 at the Nike Nationals Southwest Regional meet. It will be fun to see if Shelly can break into that speedy top-7 of the Highland Hawks in 2020. This was an improvement in Shelley's 5K of 7:46, which equates to a 27.11% faster time.

Nora Thompson of Liberty had the fastest time in this group in 2019 with a best of 19:12.5. This was a 15.81% improvement from 2018 (22:49) or a faster 5K by 3 minutes 36 seconds. In 2018, Nora nor her team made State in cross country. She was floating around their 6 to 8th fastest runner. In 2019, Nora was the #2 runner for Liberty at the AIA Division 1 State XC Championship, which helped Liberty girls break into the top 10.

Kaitlyn Cochran of Valley Christian had the fastest time in 2018 from this list (21:57.4). She improved by 2:15 (10.31%) in 2019, giving her a personal XC best of 19:41.6. Kaitlyn, unlike many of the girls on this list, has been her team's #1 runner for the past 3 seasons. She has placed 14th, 25th, and 10th in the AIA Divison 4 Girls State Meet in 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively. Maybe this is the year she cracks the top 10 or better at State - should be fun to watch. 

Two other girls who had time improvements by over 17% were Maria Mendoza of Cibola and Cherokee Hanks of Page. Maria dropped her time by over 5 minutes by running 21:15 in 2019. She was the number 3 runner on her State XC team, wherein 2018 she didn't make the varsity squad for Cibola. 

Cherokee Hanks of Page improved by 4:49 in the 5K from 2018 to 2019. In 2019, she ran a best of 23:22 and was for most of the season Page's number 6 runner. This was a huge improvement in time. Running over 9 minutes per mile down to 7:30 in one year is a 17.11% faster race for Cherokee - keep it going in 2020!

On this list, you'll find 4 girls who broke into the 19-minute range for the first time in 2019 (which was between 9-16% speed improvement). 5 girls who broke into the 20-minute range for the first time in 2019 (10-27% speed improvement). 40 of these girls improved their speed by over 10% in 1 year. The average time for these girls was 25:52 in 2018 and 22:59 in 2019 (2:53 or 11.16% faster times).

Should be fun to see what damage these girls do in 2020 if they keep improving at this high rate.