Baxter, Young lead MileSplitCA All-Decade XC Team


While Newbury Park's Nico Young (left) dominated the boys scene at the end of the decade and Simi Valley's Sarah Baxter (right) owned the girls circuit for her four years, Coach Doug Soles (center) put Great Oak's boys and girls programs on the section, state and national map throughout the 2010-19 window. (File images)


So, what's the criteria for determining an all-decade team?

State Meet titles? Top finishes at State? Fast times? Highest rankings in the merge? Performances at post-State events FLW, FLN and NXN? Leader of a highly successful team? Speed ratings?

Yes. All of the above.

Well ... to a degree.

The CIF-State Meet is the pinnacle of the high school cross country season in California. After considerable debate, we concluded to set that as the foundational criteria from which to build this team and to separate those in the top seven from those who still warranted consideration.

In almost all cases, athletes excelling in the post-State events are already well enough established with their CIF resume that what they do after Thanksgiving weekend is pure gravy. But, in cases where that isn't always true, at least one top finish at State was required to earn a mention here.

This all-decade team is limited to seven team members.

Yep, just seven.

No easy ask for a 10-year window of excellence where an athlete's maximum impact on the XC scene in California is but four years and, in most cases, two years for boys, three for girls. There are exceptions, of course, and those exceptions are more likely to be listed below. 

The variance in longevity at an elite level between boys and girls made decisions more difficult resulting in a difference our final determination between the two teams.

Keep in mind that this is a subjective team. It would have been easier to take the athletes with the top seven times during the decade and make that our foundational criteria. Or take the top seven with the fastest combined 3 mile and 5K times. But that wouldn't have been a subjective team. (There are tools on this website that allow you a look at the top times of the decade.)

We also could have made post-CIF results a foundational criteria. But this is the all-decade team for California. While results at top post-CIF national meets like Foot Locker and NXN are strongly considered, what the athlete did within their small window of time competing within the decade against California runners is what this team is about.

(The MileSplit national page will have a team where competitions against the best of the best across the country is the criteria.)

The objective of the CA team is not to find the fastest runners to put on the line but rather to recognize those with the deepest and most impressive resumes during their time on the course between 2010 and 2019. We use the 'rationale' sub-section of the bios to explain our thinking. With the limitation of just seven runners over a 10-year period in a state with roughly 1,600 schools and 800 miles from southern border to northern boarder, we understand there are no perfect answers. The debate between accomplishments at a large school versus those at a small school forced us to make difficult decisions on both teams. To what degree do we weigh post-CIF accomplishments when they are stronger than in-season CIF accomplishments?

So, yeah, debate. Talking about cross country, a sport we all love, is healthy and inspiring.

With success at the CIF-State Meet the foundational criteria for this team, make note that there were 11 boys during the decade to win at least two division titles at the State Meet. There is only one to have won three. There were fewer multiple winners among the girls, with only eight from 2010-19, with one winning four and two others winning three small school division titles. 

The California MileSplit All-Decade team also includes other athletes whose awesome high school cross country careers also warranted mention. Please continue to click through the pages to read about our overall Program of the Decade as well as Boys and Girls Runners of the Decade.