2020 High School Girls Top Performers Team

All-around jump talent Morgan Smalls was No. 1 on the TJ list, No. 2 in the HJ and =No. 4 in the LJ. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

FOR 43 YEARS, beginning with the ’78 season, T&FN chose a Girls HS All-America team. The picks were 3-deep, and that was the norm all the way through the ’94 campaign. In ’95 they expanded to 5-per-event in the standard disciplines.

2020 finds us doing something completely different, celebrating the top performers but not creating an All-America team as such.

Due to what the pandemic did—cutting the indoor season short and almost completely eliminating the outdoor one—it was obvious that we had no choice but to alter our format.

When the season wrapped up on August 31 (or earlier, for seniors who began their collegiate careers earlier in August) a look at what people had been able to accomplish under the difficult circumstances showed wide variance from event to event. A few events had enough depth to pick multiple performers for A-A status. But some had nobody of true A-A caliber compared to years in the recent past.

So rather than choose a set number from each event, we’ve put people into 7 logical event groupings: Sprints, Middle Distances, Distances, Hurdles, Relays, Jumps & Throws. From there we chose a top performer from each group and also named some Honorable Mentions, in alphabetical order.

2020’s top preps, as chosen by HS Girls Editor Mike Kennedy:

Top Sprinter — Aaliyah Butler (Piper, Sunrise, Florida)

The speedy soph’s indoor 53.03 stood up as the overall yearly leader. She was also =No. 8 in the 200 with her undercover 23.93.

Sprints — Honorable Mention
The century’s fastest was junior Kenondra Davis (Trimble Tech, Ft. Worth, Texas) who backed up her list-leading 11.64 with the =No. 2 time, 11.69.

Top Middle Distance Runner — Sophia Gorriaran (Brown, Providence, Rhode Island)

Prominent in the middle distances was Juliette Whittaker at No. 2 on the 800 list and No. 3 in both the 1500 and mile. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

The precocious Gorriaran became the third fastest frosh ever—trailing only Robin Campbell and Mary Decker—with her list-leading 2:02.90, which also moved her to No. 11 on the all-time list. She backed that up nicely with the year’s second-fastest time, 2:02.97, and had 2 other sub-2:05 performances

Middle Distance — Honorable Mentions
Another who was restricted to only indoor competition, soph Juliette Whittaker (Mt de Sales, Catonsville, Maryland)
moved to No. 14 on the all-time absolute 800 list at 2:03.01. She was also No. 3 on the year’s 1500 (4:24.71) and mile (4:43.89) compilations.

No outdoor competition for Marlee Starliper (Northern, Dillsburg, Pennsylvania), but she topped the absolute lists in both the 1500 (4:19.40) and mile (4:37.76). The mile mark moved her to No. 10 all-time. Not only did she get HM here, she was also tops overall in the Distances selections.

Top Distance Runner — Marlee Starliper (Northern, Dillsburg, Pa)

The only athlete to be recognized in two categories, Starliper moved to No. 5 on the all-time 3000 list with her year-leading 9:07.14. Her best 2M checked in at 10:27.21.

Distances — Honorable Mentions
A junior, Brynn Brown (Guyer, Denton, Texas) was prominent in the 2M both indoors (where she led the legal-track list at 10:18.11) and out (where she produced the No. 2 time of 10:02.06+).

Versatile Taylor Ewert (Beavercreek, Ohio) earned the year’s No. 8 position in the 2M (10:18.94i), but more notably broke her own absolute HSR in the 3000 walk at 13:00.56.

A 16:09.56 moved Katelynne Hart (Glenbard West, Glen Ellyn, Illinois) to No. 4 on the all-time indoor 5000 list and No. 11 absolute. She also miled 4:47.50.

In a unique happenstance, Jenna Hutchins (Science Hill, Johnson City, Tennessee) made our yearly lists as both a soph (in the 1500) and a junior (in the 2M), as her school year flipped over in mid-August. Her list-leading 9:53.26 (a converted 9:49.83 for 3200m) moved her to No. 6 on the all-time list.

Top Hurdler — Markalah Hart (Northwestern, Miami, Florida)

Undefeated over the sticks at both distances, Hart led the yearly lists at 13.55 (plus a 13.44w) and 41.84.

Hurdles — Honorable Mention
Junior Lucheyona Weaver (Dunbar, Ft. Myers, Florida) lost only to Hart, as she produced yearly performances 2, 3 & 5, topped by a 13.60. For good measure, she also had a windy 13.48.

Top Relay School — DeSoto, Texas

Lone Star State powerhouse DeSoto once again had plenty of speed, leading the 4×1 (45.16) and 4×2 (1:36.91) lists and tacking on No. 5 in the 4×4 (3:49.58) to boot.

Relays — Honorable Mention
Despite being limited to indoor competition, Bullis (Potomac, Maryland) topped the overall 4×4 list with its 3:44.15 and ended up No. 3 in the 4×2 at 1:37.19.

Top Jumper — Leah Pasqualetti (Orchard Park, New York)

The year’s MVP dominated the vault both indoors (14-3) and out (14-8¼), going undefeated against prep competition. Her list leader rated as the highest outdoor vault ever, just three-quarters of an inch below the absolute standard.

Jumps — Honorable Mentions
Alyssa Jones (Southridge, Miami, Florida) scored a rare list combination when she turned in yearly leaders in both the high jump (6-¾) and long jump (20-9¼). The versatile soph also made the season’s top 10 in the 200 (23.90).

Also making a trio of top 10s was Morgan Smalls (Panther Creek, Cary, North Carolina), at No. 2 in the HJ (6-0), =No. 4 in the LJ (20-2½) and No. 1 (42-10) in the TJ.

Golden State junior Paige Sommers (Westlake, Westlake Village, California) moved to No. 4 on the all-time list with her 14-6 in her second meet of the season, but was bumped down a notch when MVP Pasqualetti beat her in June.

Top Thrower — Maria Deaviz (Area, Souderton, Pennsylvania)

Undefeated in the shot, Deaviz had the year’s 5 longest throws, topping out at 53-¼, which moved her to No. 14 on the all-time list. She also reached 150-7 with the disc.

Throws — Honorable Mentions
Cheyenne Figueroa (Classical, Providence, Rhode Island) had a busy summer, producing 5 of the 9 farthest hammer throws of the year, topped by a 187-5.

There weren’t a lot of javelins flying around this year, but junior Sydney Juszczyk (Trinity, St. Louis, Missouri) was clearly the class of the event, her 164-8 having a margin of more than 20ft over the year’s second-best performer. □