As we find ourselves at the end of another fantastic season, my mind has turned once again to the long and storied history of cross country in California. At this time of year I always wonder whether any of the performances I've witnessed in the past 4 months are worthy of consideration among the all-time greats. When you're comparing athletes and teams from completely different eras, there is always a LOT of room for subjective interpretation. Which criteria do we use to fairly judge runners that did not race against each other, and may not have raced on the same courses? How do we weight the different criteria, like state championships (and do all divisions count the same?), section championships, Foot Locker Nationals appearances and titles? How do we compare NXN titles to Foot Locker Titles? There are too many variables, and consequently there is no way to objectively determine a winner. That makes the topic difficult, but it also makes the conversation interesting.
Last fall, we ran a poll tournament to help us determine the best female runner in California history. The winner was Jordan Hasay, and she certainly has the credentials to hold the title (although it's far from a sure thing). This year, we want to see if we can find Claudia Lane's place among the all-time greats. Clearly the Malibu junior has the potential to be the best ever, but is she already there? As before, we want your voice, both in the voting that will follow this weekend and in the comments if you have thoughts on the subject!