Cross Country Runner of the Year Watch List

The 2020 season is rapidly approaching. 2019 produced a senior class across the Northeast Georgia area unlike any we’ve probably ever seen. Boys and girls overall had about the most success as a senior bunch as there has been in many years, from state champions Zoe Sanchez (Union), Griffin Stephens (Banks), and other greats like Ben McGinnis and Collin Kilgore (Dawson), Demarco Hernandez (Commerce), and Riley Thornton (Jefferson) to name a few. That means this year is wide open, as Sanchez and Stephens both took Runner of the Year honors last season.

This list is compiled after reaching out to all the local coaches to see who their top runners will likely be this season.

The Front-Runners for the Boys

  • Westley Adams (Lumpkin)
  • Jensen Brown (Towns SR)
  • Wiley Dennis (Dawson)
  • Camden Dover (Lumpkin)
  • Will Edwards (Lumpkin)
  • Luke Gambrell (Union SR)
  • Sam Gooch (Lumpkin)
  • Luke Hamby (Dawson)
  • Hunter Hartzog (Union JR)
  • Sam Hulsey (Dawson)
  • Liam King (Towns SR)
  • Buck Ledford (Banks JR)
  • Brandon Martin (Commerce SR)
  • Eamonn O’Bryant (White SR)
  • Evan Prince (Tallulah Falls JR)
  • Grady Sanders (Stephens SO)
  • Matthew Schroeder (Jefferson JR)
  • Ethan Smith (Dawson)
  • Brendan Swafford (Dawson)


While Griffin Stephens vacates the top spot for someone else to lay claim, right now on the surface the legitimate threats are Evan Prince of TFS, Luke Gambrell of Union, Eamonn O’Bryant of White, Matthew Schroeder of Jefferson, Buck Ledford of Banks, and Brandon Martin of Commerce. Of those handful of next-level runners, we really like all of them to place high at state in 2020.

The Front-Runners for the Girls

  • Lucy Alexander (Tallulah Falls JR)
  • Paden Bell (Commerce SO)
  • Nealeigh Broadwell (White SO)
  • Campbell Chambers (Union)
  • Hana Gregory (Union)
  • Abbie Hilchie (Lumpkin JR)
  • Katerine Law (Jefferson JR)
  • Anna LeCave (Dawson)
  • Alison Markham (Towns JR)
  • Sydnee Nix (White SR)
  • Alessandra Olivares (Banks JR)
  • Caroline Rairigh (Lumpkin JR)
  • Jenna Reeves (Banks SR)
  • Ella Reynolds (Habersham Central JR)
  • Celine Sapp (Dawson)
  • Caitlin Schroeder (Jefferson SR)
  • Molly Jo Wright (Rabun SO)


Just like the guys, the award is now wide open with Zoe Sanchez gone. However, it is CROWDED on the girls side. Of all the front-runners listed, we really like the chances of Paden Bell of Commerce, Katherine Law or Caitlin Schroeder of Jefferson, and Nealeigh Broadwell of White. Those girls stand the biggest chance to battle for region supremacy and a podium finish at the state meet.

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