Above: Emily Littlefield (Desert Vista), Kathryn Sewell (Highland), Kate Miller (Perry)
Thrilling Third Runners - Girls
Today we look at teams' fastest 3rd girl runners returning in the state of Arizona for 2020.
Some caveats on how we come up with these rankings; obviously, incoming freshmen can throw a wrench into these rankings, but we don't have high school times for these teens yet, so they are left out. Two, these rankings are based on these athletes' best cross country 5K times in 2019. We understand that different courses lend themselves to faster times than other courses, but this is just to give us a rough estimate of how the team's runners 1-7 rank against other teams' 1-7. The key here is we are talking about returning runners and not who was your third runner in 2019. After we account for seniors graduating, we are making an educated guess who will be your number one thru seven runners in 2020. So your expected number four runner in 2020 may have been your number four, five, or six runner in 2019, depending on how many athletes you graduated.
Today we are focusing on the girls' third-person returning runners. We had 189 teams who have at least three runners who were juniors or younger last year. Teams without at least three runners who were juniors or younger last year did not make this list.
We are going to focus on the returning third runners who ran a PR of 19:45 or faster for their teams in 2019.
Emily Littlefield (Desert Vista): Only a frosh in 2019, Emily ran in the 18s three different times on 5K cross country courses for the Thunder of DV. Her pr was set at the Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Regional race (18:29), but she brought maybe even a more impressive performance at State, where she placed ninth overall, was the DV's third runner through the chute, and ran 18:55. Littlefield's top placement for the season was a win at Desert Solstice in the girls' freshman race. Desert Vista looks strong in 2020 and Emily is one of the reasons why.
Kathryn Sewell (Highland): Consistency and grit are what The Hawks' Sewell brought as a freshman in 2019. She ran all 5000-meter cross country courses between 19:22 and 20:40. Her best time of the year was in late November at the Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Regional race and has top places of first (Gilbert District Championships - Girls Frosh Race), fourth at Desert Solstice Gold Girls division race, and an impressive 4th at Sectionals. She was Highland's fifth girl to cross the line at State (30th overall), which helped the team capture the runner-up trophy to Desert Vista. As with every year, Coach Montgomery will have his young women ready for a top finish at State in 2020 with Sewell being an important component to the team's success.
Kate Miller (Perry): As a junior, Kate had solid times throughout the fall running in a range from 19:27 to 20:54. Kate was anywhere from the Pumas' 3rd to 6th runner in 2019. She was the team's 5th runner at State with a time 20:48 for 51st overall. She had top personal places of 8th (19:27) in the girls' varsity division race at the Chandler City Meet and placed 6th in the girls' junior division race at the Chandler Invitational in early September. Perry HS and Miller should be ready for another top-five team finish at State in 2020.
Rose Connoly (Hamilton): Had a pretty similar 2018 and 2019 seasons, but with some notable exceptions. Rose improved her Nike Twilight time by nearly a minute (20:32 to 19:39) and improved her Chandler City Meet time by over a minute (20:52 to 19:34). She even sliced two seconds off of her State time (21:10 to 21:08). Rose was 66th overall at State and her team's third runner to help them take seventh place as a team. Connoly was Hamilton's third runner for the majority of the season and although they lose two seniors from the squad, Hamilton's depth with runners like Rose should still make them quite competitive this coming autumn.