14 Boys Who Could Have A Breakout XC Season

Caleb Lopez (3907) will be the top man at Dripping Springs this season

Here is a list of runners who have already established themselves as very good distance runners in the state. 

This cross country season could see some of them really have a breakout season as some of them had good 2018 cross country seasons, some had very good track seasons, and some of them even had both.

Check out the list to see which guys could catapult themselves to the top of the individual cross country rankings this season.

Caleb Lopez - Dripping Springs - 2021

Lopez will be the man at Dripping Springs this upcoming season. The last several years, he was the number two behind All-State distance star and current Texas A&M freshman Bobby Holt.

Lopez will assume the leadership roles in this, his junior season and he appears ready to do. He finished the 2018 cross country season with two outstanding times (15:43.90 and 15:53.96) from Old Settlers Park at state and McNeil. That showed improvement from a 16:34.81 at the state meet when he was a freshman.

His top 5K of the season was a 16:09 and that could see big improvement if his track season is any indication. Lopez improved to 4:28.74 (1600m) and 9:46.09 (3200m) which were lowered from his freshman year (4:34.24 and 10:05.47).

River Hill (5844) will enter XC season after running USATF this summer

River Hill - Rockwall - 2021

Hill finished 97th overall last year at the UIL 6A state cross country meet with a 16:05.12. That was a huge improvement from his freshman year where he was good but his season finished at regionals.

This past track season is where Hill really took off. He lowered his outstanding freshman PRs from 4:40.15 and 9:53.40 down to 4:20.92 and 9:45.43 as a sophomore. I expect to see Hill really drop down to the mid 15s this season.

Jacob Ricks is primed for a breakout season after a good 2018

Jacob Ricks - Flower Mound - 2021

Ricks could be yet another Flower Mound runner to take an elite year to year jump. He is also just one of two FM Jaguars on this list.

Ricks' 2019 track season is an indication that this cross country season will be a good one for him. He got down to 4:32.94 in the 1600m and 9:35.06 in the 3200m this past spring. Those times are down from his 4:44.80 and 9:57.49 in 2018 and shows his progression.

Last cross country season, he went 16:06.58 and then 15:47.28 at state, but those times could seem like nothing for him when this season is complete. Ricks will have quite the training group at Flower Mound this season and team goal to win the state meet as well as get back to NXN. I believe those team goals will ensure Ricks challenges for the front pack in each race this year.

Dylan Sequeira is a rising junior and qualified for state in both track and XC last year

Dylan Sequeira - Magnolia - 2021

Sequeira had an above average freshman season, but his sophomore year was even better. That gives a very positive outlook for what his upcoming junior year can bring.

The Magnolia distance runner produced a sophomore season where he saw his 1600m (4:26.44) and 3200m (9:38.54) track times improve by over 16 and 32 seconds from his freshman year.

That continued the momentum from cross country where Sequeira got down to 16:22.90 in the 5K at the Region 3 championships. He also had strong showings at Old Settlers with his 16:05.79 at the McNeil Inv. and 15:47.32 for a 22nd place finish at state. He could end up blowing those stats out of the water this season.

Gavin Saacke (4487) will be a stud this season 

Gavin Saacke - Katy Tompkins - 2021

I'm almost certain you had not heard of Saacke prior to last cross country season. But, the sophomore cross country season he ended up having was a pretty darn good one and should made you aware of him. After having a 17:54.20 PR heading into last season, he saw his times drop to the 16:20s right off the bat at the beginning of the season.

By the end of cross, Saacke had racked up great PRs at Old Settlers with a 15:44.53 at the McNeil Inv and a 15:36.83 for 34th place at state. He also added a 15:47.22 at his district meet on a true 5K course. With that, he ran his way all of the way up to the number two spot on his state ranked Katy Tompkins team.

His track season saw more big time races and times. He went 4:20.06 in the 1600m and 9:20.43 in the 3200m. But, that's not it. Perhaps the biggest indicators of what kind of cross country season he could have are his 6:21.26 PR in the 2,000m steeple chase and a 15:17.71 in the 5K at the Texas Distance Festival (TDF). I expect Saacke to be one of the top runners in the Houston area by the end of the season and he'll definitely have a good shot at a top 10 individual finish by time the state meet rolls around.

Thomas Romanow could be the next FM runner to take the flight to elite status

Thomas Romanow - Flower Mound - 2020

Thomas Romanow is another Flower Mound runner to grace this list. Romanow played a big part in the 2018 Flower Mound cross country season. This year, he should have an even bigger role on the team and a big impact individually, on the entire state.

Romanow finished last year going 15:58 in the 5K and 89th place at the state meet. He should blow those accomplishments out of the water this season.

Track season is where he began to take a step to the next level. He entered the season with PRs of 4:44.18 and 9:53.27. He quickly demolished those marks by going 4:20.86 in the 1600m and 9:17.32. If that doesn't convince you, then consider this -- Romanow dropped a 15:04.98 in the 5K at TDF.

Yes, Alex Maier graduated, but don't be surprised to see another Flower Mound top notch duo or trio with Jarrett Kirt, Ricks, and Romanow. I expect Romanow to be one of the top individual runners in the state all season long.

Evan Caswell is the next elite runner in the Coppell camp

Evan Caswell - Coppell - 2021

Evan Caswell went from running mid 17s in the 5K as a freshman to dropping 16 lows and 15 highs as a sophomore. He even got down to 15:49.31 (McNeil Inv.) and 15:31.92 (state - 27th place) at Old Settlers.

That improvement didn't just stay in cross, it followed him onto the track. Caswell had PRs of 4:53.81 and 9:53.62 as a freshman and lowered those down to 4:29.00 and 9:33.46 this season. He also dropped a 15:43.05 5K at TDF.

Going from not even being on varsity one year to 27th in the state the next is major. His track season showed he is continuing his success and this cross country season could see him breaking out in a major way. I believe the Coppell momentum and the outstanding runners in that program could help propel Cawell to the next level.

Wyatt Wingard could make this a very fun season for Reedy runners

Wyatt Wingard - Frisco Reedy - 2020

Wyatt Wingard has been good for years, but this could be the one for him. He's been to the state cross country meet twice and both situations ended in good fashion.

However, the last track season showed what Wingard is made of and it showed what could be coming from him this cross season.

He dropped 4:28.01 and 9:27.75, but his season was more than that. After entering the season with a best of 9:51.70, he went on to average 9:37 for the season throughout his six 3200m races. On top of that, he went 6:16.15 in the 2,000m steeple chase for third place at Texas Relays.

Nicklaus Brawner (2671) will try to lead his College Park team back to the state meet 

Nicklaus Brawner - The Woodlands College Park - 2020 

College Park's Nicklaus Brawner is another senior who has been good over the years. The same goes for him as with everyone on this list that this could be a special year.

He ended a very good junior year when he dropped 15:29.70 for 22nd place at the UIL state cross country meet. Track season was just as good for him as he dropped some major PRs. Brawner went 3:58.81 (1500m) 4:16.41 (1600m), 8:39.33 (3,000m), and 9:13.00 (3200m) in the spring.

Each year, it seems like one of the College Park runners have a break out season. With guys like Bryce Quigley, Bradley Pease, and Steven Hulett and what they've accomplished in their senior seasons, I expect Brawner to continue that streak.

Jacob Ye will look to use his speed to take El Paso over and maybe the entire state

Jacob Ye - El Paso Americas - 2020

Ye might actually be a true miler, but don't let that fool you. Yes, the kid has lowered his 1600m time year after year and even getting down as low as 4:19.40 this year, but we are only talking about 5,000m for cross country.

Ye had a very good cross season in 2018 as he was one of the leaders all season long on his outstanding Americas team. He represented well at both of his races at Old Settlers going 15:39.67 at McNeil and then 15:47.33 at the state meet. Not only were his times good, but he competed finishing with places of 30th and 49th. That's not it, as he turned in a 22nd place performance at the ever-so-tough Region 1-6A race.

With this, he has proven to not just be a track guy, but to also be a cross guy too. However, his track experiences will help him this fall. He was able to get down to a 1:55.97 in the 800m in the spring and that could help him this fall. Ye is the type of runner I expect to flourish this year with the type of competition that is out there in El Paso and his Americas team's expectations this year.

Nicholas Gonzalez (1953) competes at the Region of Doom, he looks to return to Round Rock

The El Paso Coronado kids can flat out fly and that is exactly what Gonzalez did last year. Last year, was a breakout season for him during cross and track and it will have been just a prequel to this season.

He PRed in just about every event including the three mile (15:12.10) and the 5K (15:29.16) during the cross season. He finished eighth at the Region 1-6A cross country meet and then 21st at the UIL 6A state meet.

Track season was just as good for Gonzalez and why this cross season looks so promising. He went 2:01.48, 4:27.14, and 9:37.19 showing his improvement is still point up and his ability could be through the roof this fall. Now that teammate Liam Walsh graduated, the heavy lifting this year for the Coronado program.

Patrick Estes will be one of the DFW's top distance runners again this season

Unlike Gonzalez from El Paso Coronado, Estes still has an elite teammate on his team with Whit Dennis. That means, he'll have training partner to continue his upswing.

Last year, Estes went from dropping mid 16s from sophomore year to high 15s as a junior. He finished 12th at the Region 1-6A meet to qualify individually for state and then finished 41st overall with a 15:42.62.

On the track, the improvement continued. He dropped over 10 seconds off his PRs in the 1600m (4:27.56) and 3200m (9:35.80). I expect a runner like Estes to benefit from another year with Dennis in practice and in meets and he should be in the 15s all season long and who knows how low he can go by season's end.

Trevor Champman will look to continue the Keller tradition in Texas cross country

Trevor Chapman - Keller - 2020

The Keller boys qualified back to the state meet as a team last year and Chapman had a big part to play in that.

He started off the 2018 cross country season off hot as he PRed in his first 5K of the year with his 15:56 at Marcus I and then lowered that to 15:42 at his district meet. 

Track season was even better for Chapman. He PRed in just about every event by going 2:02.30 in the 800m, 4:21.80 in the 1600m, 9:35.35 for 3200m, and then 15:20.33 in the 5K at TDF.

I expect to see Chapman start off this season fast again and in the end we will see him in Round Rock again, either with his team or individually.

Ben Shearer will be the next TAPPS distance star to be one of Texas' leaders

A lot of UIL athletes were probably caught off guard after they crossed the lined and had been handled by Ben Shearer.

He has been putting in work for two years at The Woodlands....Christian. The TAPPS distance runner has been medaling and making a name for himself in the TAPPS league, but he has now grown beyond those parameters.

As a sophomore last year, his cross country season was good as he got down to a 16:21.10 and placed fourth at the TAPPS 6A State Cross Country meet. But, during track season, the dude straight up went OFF!

Shearer PRed in every event and was one of the top 10th graders all season long. He went 1:58.36 in the 800m, 4:25.41 in the 1600m (In February), 9:14.22 in the 3200m as he clocked three races 9:22 or better.

If you get a chance to watch Shearer run, enjoy it. He may be in TAPPS, but he will be one of the best distance runners in the entire state, but then we should already be used to that, right.