1A Boys 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, Nicholas Wheeler is the top returner from last season's state meet but will face a challenge from Peyton Jones who ran 1A's fastest 5k in 2023, while the team championship is wide open.

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



Nicholas Wheeler (Founders Classical) finishes 3rd at the 1A State Championship last fall

Isaac Pohlmeier won last season's 1A state title in dominating fashion, beating second place by 58 seconds and leading Ozark Catholic to their 3rd straight state championship.

But with Pohlmeier and Ozark Catholic headed to Class 2A, the division is back up for grabs.

Nicholas Wheeler is the top returner from last year's state meet, where he finished 2nd, and owns the second-fastest returning 5k time in 1A (17:08.67).

The star from Founders Classical Academy finished second in all three distance events at the state track meet this spring as well. Entering his senior season, Wheeler will be looking to step into Pohlmeier's role as the next 'King of 1A'.

Peyton Jones clocked the fastest returning time in 1A last season, running a 16:58.50 at the Little Johns Invitational.

Jones finished 4th at the state meet a year ago and looks to rebound after a pair of 5th place finishes at the track state championships in the 800m and 1,600m.

Kaleb Fleming and Grant Hanberg are two more names to keep an eye on entering the fall.

This spring, the pair of teammates both had impressive showings at the 1A state meet. Fleming 3rd in the 1,600m and 4th in the 3,200m while Hanberg finished 3rd in the 3,200m and is the 4th ranked returner in 1A.

Fleming has never competed in cross country, but the rising senior could help form one of the best Big 3's not only in 1A, but the entire state, and could be the missing piece for Founders Classical in their quest for a state championship.

Tucker Henry could be another name that makes noise in Class 1A this fall.

Henry is the 3rd ranked returner in Class 1A on the grass and is the division's ultimate wild card after not racing at this spring's state meet.

Teams to Watch:

Kingston finished 2nd to Ozark Catholic at last year's state meet, but Founders Classical Academy looks like the team to beat in 1A this fall.

Wheeler, Fleming, and Hanberg would make the best 1-2-3 punch 1A has seen in quite some time to go along with Dashell Hanberg, who ran under 20-minutes twice his freshman year.

Kingston finished second last season and return four runners from their top 5. However, the Yellow Jackets will need some of their depth pieces to step as they have just one runner from last season's top 32 returning in 2024.

Thaden School finished one point off the podium in 2023 and will be looking to climb further this fall, while other teams such as Rural Special and Timbo remain on the outside looking in.