Now that the cross country season has finally come to a close, let's take some time to acknowledge some of the young runners that have shined brightly this past season. These middle school runners could be the future of cross country for Louisiana and have shown talent at an early age.
Today we recap the top ten middle school athletes for the girls' side of competition.
No. 10 -- Noah Watson
Coming in at number ten is Noah Watson of Christ Episcopal School. This 8th-grader returned for her second year of competition and scored personal bests both in the three-mile and 5k. Her best time of the season came out to be 19:46 and 20:53, respectively. She also finished as her team's second runner at the Class B State Meet with a 7th place finish.
No. 9 -- Sophia Swinney
At number nine we have Sophia Swinney of Anacoco. She is an 8th-grader that competed in her first-ever season of cross country. Though she only ran in two races, she recorded fast times, especially with her 5k time of 19:57. She claimed 4th place at the Class B State Meet and showed up the majority of the competition as an unexpected factor. Don't sleep on this girl, she is a gutsy racer and will take it out from the gun.
No. 8 -- Kaitlyn Sawyer
Kaitlyn Sawyer (left)
At number eight we have Kaitlyn Sawyer of Hathaway. She is the last of the Class B field to make it on this list and has experienced a great drop in time in comparison to 2020. Her best mark of the season was 19:56 even though she only competed in two races prior to the state meet. Her season concluded with her landing on the podium for the first time with her 2nd place finish at the state meet.
No. 7 -- Madison Morris
At number seven is Madison Morris of Cedar Creek. She is the first 7th-grader to appear on this list and holds a personal best of 19:49 for three miles. She capped her first-ever season of competition with a 4th place finish at the Class 1A State Meet. She showed consistency throughout the season with her times and has proven to be a reliable runner.
No. 6 -- Bradie Eppinette
Next up at number six is Bradie Eppinette of St. Fredrick. She actually got beat by, previously mentioned, Madison Morris at the 1A State Meet, but she has had faster and more consistent times throughout the season. Eppinette finished 6th at the state meet and recorded her best time just a week prior to that with a time of 19:22.
No. 5 -- Caroline James
At number five we have another runner from Cedar Creek making the list with Caroline James. James and Eppinette have had a pair of close finishes between them, so there is good reason to why they are placed so closely together. Her best time this season comes in at 19:21, in addition to her 3rd place finish at the Class 1A State Meet.
No. 4 -- Devyn McManus
Finishing ahead of Caroline James in both ranking on this list and finishing position at the Class 1A State Meet is Devyn McManus of St. Martin's Episcopal. She is a 7th-grader and she holds a personal best of 19:18, which she ran just one week prior to the state meet. McManus made her first varsity appearance this season and she capped it off with a 2nd place finish at the state meet.
No. 3 -- Anna Kurz
Coming in at third on our list is Anna Kurz of Episcopal. This 7th-grader impressed this past season with consistent sub-20 minute performances and just narrowly missed the sub-19 minute barrier with her personal best of 19:08. On top of that stellar time, she claimed 3rd at the Class 2A State Meet. For her first cross country season ever, she didn't pull any punches and could be yet another Episcopal star in the future.
No. 2 -- Stella Junius
In second place, we have Stella Junius of Mt. Carmel. Junius has the best performance at the state meet in terms of time with her performance and personal best of 18:55. She claimed 5th place in that race out of the entire 5A field. She has been incredibly consistent all season and there is no surprise that she performed as well as she did at the state meet.
No. 1 -- Lucy Cramer
Coming out on top out of the entire field is Lucy Cramer of Episcopal. Yet another 7th-grader from Episcopal makes an appearance in the top three of this list, but it is surely earned. Cramer has recorded two races that were well below 19-minutes and claimed 2nd place at the Class 2A State Meet. She led her team to a state championship in her very first year of competition. Much like Kurz, Cramer could be the next Episcopal legacy in the making.