At the beginning of this season, we wanted to identify the top XC program in California history. We narrowed the field down to 16 teams, and then you chose the winner through a bracket-style series of polls.
This week, we want you to help us decide the top individual runners ever from our state! We're going to use a similar format, but we have more candidates so we're separating the girls and boys in two different "tournaments." There are so many potential candidates, in fact, that we needed some outside perspectives to assist us in narrowing down the lists. We contacted several long-time California coaches, most notably Ken Reeves, currently at Foothill Tech and the former architecht of the very successful Nordhoff program (one of the teams in our earlier tournament). Most of the comments below are his, but some are mine (which are aided by the input of Walt Lange, Hal Harkness, Peter Brewer, Bill Leung, Jeremy Mattern, John Pelster, and Charles Alexander).
Here is the raw list of top runners in state history that we generated, in no particular order. They will be seeded, and we will begin voting tomorrow!
VOTING IS OPEN!
The #1 Seeds
Bryan Dameworth, Agoura:
1989 CIF SS 2A Champion and 1987, 1988 and 1989 California State Champion. Bryan still holds the Southern Section mark at Woodward Park at 14:39 and he blazed to a 14:36 at Mt. Sac. A three time Kinney National qualifier, Bryan is the only male ever to qualify for Kinney as a freshman. He finished 19th as a freshman, 4th as a junior and won the National Championship as a senior. Knocked down during Kinney West Regional as a sophomore, preventing him from becoming the only 4-time qualifier.
Eric Hulst, Laguna Beach:
1976 World Junior XC champion in high school. Although he was not undefeated in XC his senior year, having lost to Thom Hunt at Mt. SAC, Hulst later defeated Hunt on an international-style course (with barriers) at USA Juniors (and was also 7th in the US Senior race a week later), then got the biggest honor of all at World Juniors with a 23:54 for an 8k course which included numerous steeplechase barriers, with Hunt in 2nd and Alberto Salazar in 5th. Hulst went on to run 8:44 in the two mile and 28:55 for 10,000 (US #2 all-time) on the track as a high school senior. He passed away in 1992 after a battle with brain cancer.
Thomas Hunt, Patrick Henry:
Won the World Junior CC title in 1976 and was runner up in 1976. Also held the indoor high school mile record of 4:02 until Alan Webb broke it in 2001.
Rich Kimball, De La Salle:
Won the 1974 World Junior XC Championships in high school. Eventual 2-time World XC champ (and 1984 Olympic marathon silver medallist) John Treacy of Ireland was 3rd in that Junior race. Kimball ran a 4:02 mile and an 8:46 2 mile in track.
The #2 Seeds
Eric Reynolds, Camarillo:
3rd in Kinney in 1981 and champ in 1982: Still #3 all time mark at Woodward Park. Former course record holder at Woodward Park. Undefeated as a senior in 1982, setting or approaching course records at most races. His season culminated with a crushing 14-second win in the Kinney national finals with a then-course record of 14:35 on the Orlando course (broken by Ritzenhein's 14:29 in 1999). Ran 8:44 for the 2 mile.
Louie Quintana, Arroyo Grande:
1990 Kinney National Champion, 3 time National qualifier. 4 time top 10 at state. 1990 D1 State champ, and 2nd to national champ Dameworth in 1989. Also state champ in 1600. Best high school race I ever saw was his 57 on the 3rd lap of the 1990 state 16, trying to break Coley Candaele. #9 All time Woodward Park.
Jay Marden, Mission San Jose:
1980 Footlocker National champ, 6th the year before. 14:40 at Woodward Park, course record at the time, North Coast Section record, still #5 all time on the course.
Marc Davis, San Diego High:
Kinney National Champion in 1986, 8th in 1985. 14:38 at Woodpark Park for then course record, breaking Eric Reynolds' course record. CIF SDS champ 1986. Still the #2 all time mark for Woodward Park.
The #3 Seeds
Matt Giusto, San Mateo:
1983 National Champion, also CCS Champ that year. #8 all-time at Crystal Springs.
AJ Acosta, El Camino:
2005 Foot Locker National Champion. 2005 D1 champ, 2nd in 2004.
Chad Hall, Big Bear:
The 2006 Foot Locker National Champion and a 2006 CIF state champion.
Jeff Nelson, Burbank:
Long time Mt. Sac course record holder, 4th at the World Juniors, former national record holder in the 3200. 2-time state champ in 3200.
The #4 Seeds
German Fernandez, Riverbank:
Course record holder at Woodward Park, national record holder 3200. State meet record holder in 32 and 16. 2-time state champion (2005 as a soph, 2007 as a senior) and 2nd to national champion Chad Hall in 2006. 3rd at 2007 Foot Locker Nationals.
Terry Williams, Lompoc:
Star of possibly the best ever CC team in at least SS history (scored 28 points in large schools division, lowest team score ever to this day). Two-time CIF Southern Section champion (and 3rd as a sophomore). Ran 8:54.8 for a full 2 Miles.
Jon Butler-Edison, Huntington Beach:
2nd in 1980 Kinney, 8th in 1979, state champ 3200 8:46. #14 time at WWP 14:52.
Bruce Bess, La Habra:
Top individual to come out of the powerhouse program in the late 50's and early 60's. Went on to set USC school record in the mile, at 4:02.
The #5 Seeds
Phillip Rocha, Arcadia:
2014 & 2015 D1 State Champion (5th in 2013, 10th in 2012). 2nd in 2015 Foot Locker Nationals. Tied for #1 time ever at CIF State Meet at Woodward Park, tied for #6 all-time at Woodward Park, tied for #2 all-time at Mt. SAC.
Ammar Moussa, Arcadia:
Two-time CIF D1 state champion, 4th at NXN in both 2009 and 2010. USATF JO Champion in 2010. Tied for top time ever at CIF State Meet, #6 all-time at Woodward Park, tied for #1 all-time at Mt. SAC.
Meb Keflezighi, San Diego High:
2nd in Foot Locker 1993. D1 state champ that same year (3rd in 1992). Went on to a tremendous college and professional career.
Austin Tamagno, Brea Olinda:
CIF D3 State Champion in 2014 & 2015 (plus 3rd in 2013). 5th at Foot Locker Nationals in 2014 as a junior. Best time ever for D3 runner at CIF state meet, 5th-best from all divisions. #9 all-time at Woodward Park, #1 All-Time at Mt. SAC. 8:54 for 3200, 4:01 for full mile.
Ryan Hall, Big Bear:
3rd in the 2000 Footlocker, a 2 time state champ (1999 and 2000, plus 4th in 1998), and is #12 All time Woodward Park.
Mark Dani, Valhalla:
3rd in Kinney in 1985. Played basketball at Valhalla. School didn't have a gym so he ran the 7 miles to Grossmont College for practice. 2nd in state in 3200 as a senior. SDS CC champ 1985
Mitch Kingery, San Carlos:
Holds course record at Crystal Springs, set in 1973. National HS record in marathon, set during sophomore year (2:23).