Today we are on to our third edition of athletes to watch for the 2021 track season, and are going to take a look at the 1600m and 3200m races. For these articles I am be taking into account any marks recorded in 2019 or 2020, and will do my best to predict what class athletes will compete in.
Heading into 2021, the 2019 Class 3 state champion, Kylie Goldfarb (John Burroughs) has the fastest returning time with a mark of 5:08. However, she'll be making the jump to Class 5 under the new format but still be in the hunt for the title come May. Olivia Littleton (Smithville) owns the second fastest returning time with a 5:12, and was third in Class 4 back in 2019.
To go along with the returners, both the 1600m and 3200m are likely to be heavily effected by newcomers who have been dominate in cross country for the past two years. The biggest name will be 2019 XC state champion Carolyn Ford (Rock Bridge) who time trialed a 4:57 last year as a freshman. Other athletes to watch include 2020 XC state champion Ally Kruger (Liberty - Wentzville), Grace Tyson (Lafayette - Wildwood), Julia Ray (MICDS), Riley Arnold (Blue Eye), Delaney Straus (Marion County), Alex Sharp (Brookfield), Macy Schelp (Lutheran South), Marisa Jacknewitz (Nerinx Hall), Alicen Ashley (Nixa), and Savannah Lesher (Eureka).
The 3200m will feature a lot of the same people from the 1600m, with 2019 Class 4 state champion Olivia Littleton (Smithville) holding the fastest returning time with an 11:20. Just behind her in 2019 was the eventual 2020 Class 5 cross country state champion Ally Kruger (Liberty - Wentzville) who owns a personal best of 11:21. Other athletes to look for include Carolyn Ford (Rock Bridge), Grace Tyson (Lafayette-Wildwood), Julia Ray (MICDS), Riley Arnold (Blue Eye), Delaney Straus (Marion County), and Alex Sharp (Brookfield), Kayley Russell (Holt), and Lilian Jackson (St. Charles West).
On the boys side of things in the 1600m, Micah Bruggeman (Joplin) has the fastest returning time with a 4:18. Bruggeman was also the sixth place finisher at the Class 5 state meet in 2019 as well, and will be a favorite to win it heading into the spring. Cale Littrell (Hickman) has the second fastest returning time with a 4:23, and is closely followed by fellow Columbian and 2020 XC state champ Matthew Hauser (Rock Bridge) at 4:24. Other athletes to watch include Ethan Lee (Liberty North), Luis Perezruiz (Liberty North), Joseph Dawson (Webb City), Riley Simpson (West Plains), and Daelen Ackley (El Dorado Springs).
The boys 3200m will feature a lot of similar names to the 1600m. 2020 Class 5 XC state champ Matthew Hauser (Rock Bridge) has the top returning time with a 9:38 heading into the season. He's followed by Thomas Andersen (Parkway West) and Nick Cimmarusti (Francis Howell) who are both at 9:43 respectively. Other athletes to watch include Brock Wooderson (Blue Springs), Daelen Ackley (El Dorado Springs), Cullen Krieg (Festus), Riley Simpson (West Plains), Tyler Harris (Kickapoo), Ian Kemey (Rock Bridge), and Trevor Peimann (Timberland).