1A Girls Cross Country State Preview

As the 2024 cross country season nears, Milesplit Arkansas will spend one week previewing one of the six classifications in the state.

In Class 1A, Missy Wilson looks to defend her title against 2A state champion Elizabeth Merrit while Kingston returns 5 of their 6 runners from last year's championship team.

Take a look at the athletes, teams, and storylines to watch for in Class 1A girls this season. 2A and 3A will take place over the next two weeks, while 4A, 5A, and 6A will begin Monday, July 29th.


BOYS1A | 2A | 3A | 4A | 5A | 6A
GIRLS: 1A | 2A | 3A | 4A | 5A | 6A



Missy Wilson (Viola) en route to her first state championship

Missy Wilson won last season's 1A state championship by over 30 seconds, running a 1:18 personal best in the process.

In the spring, Wilson dipped below the 6-minute barrier and finished 4th in the 1,600m at the 1A state meet. The freshman also finished 2nd in the 3,200m - the winner, Clare Pohlmeier, moves to 2A in the fall.

This season, she will face new competition.

Elizabeth Merritt, the 2022 2A state champion, joins Wilson in Class 1A this season as it was announced Magazine will be moving down to 1A in the fall of 2024.

Last fall, Merritt won the 2A Region 4 Championship meet, setting a personal best time of 20:08.90. Later in the season she finished 7th at the 2A state meet.

Merritt is coming off a successful outdoor track season where she won the 2A 3,200m state title. The rising senior also competed in the event at the Arkansas Meet of Champions.

Wilson and Merritt seem to be headed on a collision course later this year, but there will still be a few other girls in 1A who have championship aspirations of their own.

Adelaide Ledbetter finished 6th at last year's state cross country meet and continued her ascension to the top of 1A this spring, racing in all three distance events at the 1A state championship meet.

The junior finished 3rd in the 3,200m, 4th in the 800m, and 5th in the 1,600m. Entering her senior season, Ledbetter is a dark horse to challenge for the individual title in November.

Her teammate Mariana Keiser finished 4th at the state meet a year ago, while also running a 22:05.82 earlier in the season. Along with Ledbetter, the duo from Founders Classical Academy is one of the best in 1A.

Speaking of duos, Kingston, the 1A defending champions, return their top two from last season: Aslyn Cooper and Callie Edgmon, who finished 3rd and 5th respectively at the state meet last year.


Teams to Watch:

Kingston will be searching for their fourth straight state championship this season and look primed to do so.

The Yellow Jackets return 5 from their top 6 that won a season ago. To go along with Cooper and Edgmon, LeeLou Kilbourn, Emma Kivell, and Camberlyne Shrun make up the top 5 members that return in 2024.

Founders Classical finished 2nd at last year's state meet and returned their top 4 runners from that race, including their No. 3 and 4 runners Aurora Pace and Elliot Ledbetter who finished 10th and 11th.

While Founders Classical has the firepower needed in the front to challenge Kingston, the race could come down to who's No. 5 can finish first - which is a race that favors the Yellows Jackets, for now.

West Side Greers Ferry won their last state championship in 2020 and this season returns Lainee Gentry who finished 7th at the state meet last year and hopes to guide the Eagles to a podium finish this November.