Poll: Greatest Girls Distance Runner Of The Decade

(From left) Maddy Denner, Olivia O'Keeffe, Destiny Collins and Amanda Gehrich are among the greatest 32 female combined distance runners of the past decade whose accomplishments warrant inclusion in this poll tournament. (Photos: James Leash/Kirby Lee)


What Is This?

This is a poll tournament where your votes determined the greatest distance runner of the past decade. We're starting with the ladies. The launch of a poll tournament for the lads is TBD.

The Setup

We've selected 32 females based on combined distance times, ranked them in groups, placed them in a bracket of head-to-head matchups where your poll votes on the next page will determine who advances. Each round of voting will last about 60 hours.


Athletes included are from the period between 2010 and 2019. This is based only on track times and results without regard to XC. Runners were selected based on top 800/1600, 1600/3200 and 800/3200 combined rankings within the decade, as well as State Meet results. Single-distance-event specialists that do not rank among the top tier of either of the three combined event PR options, were not considered. As a result, all 1600m and 3200m State Meet champions in the decade are included but not all 800m champions. The final cut to 32 was subjective.

How This Works

Athletes are seeded in groups of fours based roughly on combined rankings. Runners are listed alphabetically within their group. In most cases, bracket pairings for this round are based on positioning within the group: 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3. Scan the bios below and then click to the next page to vote.

Runners By Group


Destiny Collins (Great Oak/SS) - Her 3200m time of 9:53.79 to win the State title in 2015 ranks CA No. 5. Her 4:40.34 for 1600m ranks 12th all time. State runner-up for 1600m in 2014 and 2015, and placed third in 2016. State runner-up for 3200m in 2016 and fourth in 2014. Top 8/32 combined time in the decade and third-best among 8/16 combo times.

Bethan Knights (Northwood/SS) - Her 9:50.10 converted 3200m PR from 2014 is best of the decade and No. 2 AT in CA history. Her 4:42.29 PR for 1600m ranks eighth in the decade. State Meet 3200m champion in 2014 (10.00.19).

Anna Maxwell (San Lorenzo Valley/CC) - Both PRs, 4:41.63 and 10:04.81 rank seventh in the decade. State Meet 1600m champion in 2013 (4:47.33). Placed second in the 800m in 2014 (2:08.32 PR), third in the 3200m in 2013 and sixth for the eight-lapper in 2012. Also reached the 1600m final in 2014 (placing 11th). Top 8/16 combo runner in the decade and No. 2 for 8/32.

Fiona O'Keeffe (Davis/SJ) - State 3200m champion in 2016 (10:10.02) and eight-lap runner-up in 2015 (10:01.14). Also qualified for the State 3200m final in 2013. Combined PR times of 4:45.68 and 10.00.85 rank third for 16/32 in the decade. Her 3200m PR ranks fourth in the decade and is the No. 8 performance in CA history.


Mariah Castillo (Saugus/SS) - Ranks third in the decade for combined 8/32 times and eighth on the 8/16 combo list. PRs of 4:39.77c and 10:06.47 rank third and eighth, respectively, in the decade. Her 8/32 combined time ranks third in the decade. 

Maddy Denner (Oak Ridge/SJ) - Her 3200m PR of 10:01.02 ranks fourth in the decade and ninth in CA history. Her 1600m of4:42.77 ranks 12th in the decade. Two time State Meet 1600m champion (4:44.89 in 2017 and 4:442.77 in 2018) and two time State Meet 3200m runner-up (2017-18).

Claudia Lane (Malibu/SS) - She ranks third in the decade on the 16/32 combined list based heavily on her 9:57.52 PR for 3200m. State Meet champion for 3200m in 2017 (10:07.33). Posted 1600m PR of 4:46.06. Her 3200m time ranks No. 3 in the decade and No. 6 in state history.

Olivia O'Keeffe (Davis/SJ) - Her PRs of 4:42.71 for 1600m and 10:11.28 for 3200m rank 11th and 12th, respectively, in the decade. Two-time State Meet runner-up for 1600m (2017-18) and earned a third-place medal at 3200m in 2018.

GROUP 9-12

Sarah Baxter (Simi Valley/SS) - Three-time State Meet champion for 3200m, winning in 2011 (10:13.00), 2012 (10:12.00) and 2013 (10:10.71). PR of 10:06.74 ranks ninth in the decade. Had 1600m PR of 4:49.63 which places her 10th in the 16/32 combo rankings.

Elena Denner (Oak Ridge/SJ) - Ran PRs of 4:45.15 and 10:02.17c. State Meet 3200m champion in 2018 (10:10.32) and placed fourth in 2017. Placed fourth at State in the 1600m in 2018. Ranks ninth in the decade for combined 16/32 time.

Meagen Lowe (Buchanan/CS) - Has PRs of 4:43.61 and 10:12.78. Three-time State Meet finalist including placing second for 1600m and third for 3200m to help lead Buchanan to the 2019 team title. One of only seven girls with 1600m and 3200m PRs that both rank among the top 15 within the decade.

Sarah Robinson (Gunn/CC) - Her PRs of 4:44.07 for 1600m and 10:12.40 for 3200m both rank fourth in Central Coast Section history. Four-time State Meet medalist, including winning the 1600m title in 2014 (4:44.25). Also placed second for 3200m in 2014, third for 1600m in 2013 and fifth for 3200 in 2013. Ranks fourth among 8/32 combo runners and No. 7 for 8/16 time.

GROUP 13-16

Rylee Bowen (Sonoma Academy/NC) - PRs of 4:43.92 for 1600m and 10:13.20 for 3200m both rank among the top 17 for the decade and that combined time ranks 13th. Among only nine girls to have both 1600m and 3200m PRs rank among the top 17 during the decade.

Kristin Fahy (La Costa Canyon/SD) - Three-time State Meet finalist for 3200m including the 2019 champion running her PR of 10:11.38. Placed fourth in 2018 and 10th in 2017. Ran 1600m PR of 4:48.34 and ranks 16th on the 16/32 combo list.

Amanda Gehrich (Tesoro/SS) - Two-time State Meet 1600m champion. Her 4:38.63 ranks fifth all-time for 1600m. State Meet champion for the four-lap race in 2015 (4:49.33) and in 2016 (4:45.51). Placed second in the 1600m in 2014 and 10th in 2013. Also placed sixth in consecutive years for 3200m (2015-16).

Nikki Hiltz (Aptos/CC) - Ran her 1600m PR of 4:42.45 to win the 2012 State title a year after placing third. She placed second for that distance in 2013. Ranks fifth with a sub-6:52 8/16 combo and 11th for 8/32 combo times.

GROUP 17-20

McKenna Brown (La Costa Canyon/SD) - One of only 14 girls with 1600m and 3200m PRs that both rank among the top 22 within the decade. 4:45.46 for 1600m her mile time of 4:47.01 is a San Diego Section record and her 10:15.97 PR for 3200m ranks second between two others on this list, Kristin Fahy and in front of Alli Billmeyer.

Cami Chapus (Harvard Westlake/SS) - Her converted 4:38.02 is the highest-ranked 1600m time in state history from the decade (No. 3 overall). Ran 4:40.88 to win the 1600m title at State in 2011. Placed fifth at State for 1600m in 2012 and ninth for 3200m in 2011. 

Haley Herberg (Capistrano Valley/SS) - Her 10:09.54 PR for 3200m ranks 10th in the decade and top 10 in CA history. 1600m PR of4:49.92 slots her 15th on the 16/32 combined rankings list in the decade. Earned a sixth-place medal for 3200m in 2018. Placed 10th in the State Meet 1600m final in 2017.

Laura Hollander (Marina/SS) - Ranks 14th in the 16/32 combo list for the decade with PRs of 4:48.86 and 10:10.51. Placed third at State for 3200m in 2012. Her 3200m PR ranks 11th in the decade and 19th in state history.

GROUP 21-24

Alli Billmeyer (Torrey Pines/SD) - Her 4:41.54 is a top-six time in the decade for 1600m and 10:18.71 over 3200m ranks 26th for the period. State runner-up for 1600m in both 2010 and 2011. Placed fourth for 3200m in 2011. Ran 800m PR of 2:09.94.

Katherine Delaney (JSerra/SS) - She ranks fifth for 8/16 combo runners which includes a 1600m PR of 4:42.95 and an 800m PR of 2:10.76. Her 1600m PR ranks 13th in the decade. Placed fourth at State for 1600m in 2011.

Haley Dorris (Great Oak/SS) - Her PRs of 4:44.60 and 10:17.63 slots her as one of only 11 girls with 1600m and 3200m PRs that both rank among the top 22 within the decade. Placed fourth at the 2014 State Meet for 1600m and ninth in the 3200m that year.

Jacqueline Duarte (Chino Hills/SS) - Ran her 1600m PR of 4:42.45 as a sophomore to win the State title in 2019. Placed fourth as a freshman in 2018. Her 1600m PR ranks 10th in the decade and 21st in state history.

GROUP 25-28

Erica Schroeder (San Marcos/SS) - Three-time State Meet finalist for 800m, including a title in 2015 (2:07.08 PR). She placed eighth in 2016 and sixth in 2017. She ranks eighth in the decade for combined 800/3200 and ninth on the  8/16 list.

Audrey Suarez (Mayfield/SS) - She has PRs: 2:11.16/4:45.00/10:29.60. In the decade, she ranks top-seven on the 8/32 combo list and top nine in the 8/16 rankings. Currently a junior, who, in two trips to the State 1600m finals, placed fifth and third in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Amy Weissenbach (Harvard Westlake/SS) - Three-time 800m State Meet champion whose 2:02.04 to win in 2011 equalled the national record.  Also won in 2010 (2:07.52) and 2:12 (2:05.70). Combined with her 1600m PR of 4:48.86, she ranks a narrow second on the 8/16 combo list. 

Marissa Williams (Palisades/LA) - Her 4:39.88 PR for 1600m placed second at the 2015 State Meet and ranks fourth in the decade and ninth in CA history. Also that year she placed third at State in the 3200m. Her combo PR time ranks 17th for the decade. 

GROUP 29-32

Mia Barnett (Crescenta Valley/SS) - Now a junior, available times are from Village Christian HS (SS). In two seasons she has two State 1600m medals, placing sixth as a freshman in 2018 and fourth as a sophomore in 2019 (4:46.12 PR). 

Alyssa Brewer (California/NC) - Two-time 800m State champion whose combined 8/16 time ranks top-20 in the decade. PR of 2:06.86 ranks her as the No. 4 performer in the decade. 

Chloe Curtis (Redondo Union/SS) - State Meet champion for 1600m in 2010 running PR of 14:46.63. Has PRs for 8/32 of 2:09.07 and 10:31.24 which ranks sixth in that combined rankings list.

Molly Grabill (Rancho Bernardo/SD) - Four-time State Meet medalist in the 3200m, winning the title in 2010, placing second twice, including 2011. PRs of 10:19.17 and 4:49.64.