Poll: Greatest CIF-State Girls XC Champion - Finals

Claudia Lane (left) and Haley Herberg (right) have been voted into the final match-up of the Greatest CIF-State Cross Country Girls Champion poll tournament. Lane, in Division IV, and Herberg in Division II, each won a title in 2017 while running a couple of the fastest times in State Meet history. Lane also won in 2016. Read more below, check out the links to additional content, and be sure to VOTE! (Photos: Pat Rhames)

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We have reached the final match-up of the Greatest CIF-State Cross Country Girls Champion poll tournament. We started with 32 of the greatest champions in the 32-year history o the CIF-State Meet and your votes have brought us to these amazing two finalists.

Claudia Lane from Malibu (SS) is a two-time champion with the fastest time ever clocked on the Woodward Park 5,000-meter course at the State Finals. Lane's second Division IV title came in 2017 when she crushed the Fresno course in a jaw-dropping 16:30. That same year, 2017, Herberg put down an amazing year-over-year drop to capture the Division II title in a rarified 17-flat!

To get here, Herberg was the top vote-getter in match-ups with Carrie Verdon, Christine Babcock, Julia Stamps and Fiona O'Keeffe. Herberg reached the championship by seven votes over O'Keeffe, a two-time champion from Davis (SJ). 

Lane's road to the championship required victories over Kristen Gordon, Carlie Dorostkar, Sara Bei (Hall), and Jordan Hasay. The semifinal match between Lane and Hasay was the closest of the tournament and perhaps of any tournament we have produced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Lane advanced to the championship by one vote over Hasay, a four-time champion from Mission College Prep (CS). In tracking the votes at the end, Lane received nine of the final 12 votes to get her over the top. 

So here we go, voters take to your keyboards and mobile devices, and tell us WHO YA GOT? 

More about your finalists:

  • Haley Herberg (Capistrano Valley/SS) -- She won the Division II title in 2017 in 17:00, the second fastest time in D-II history behind Sarah Baxter's 16:43, and the 12th fastest by a champion in meet history. She is one of just 11 girls in State Meet history to win while running 17:05 or faster. In winning the title as a senior, Herberg improved on her 21st-place finish as a junior with a jaw-dropping year-over-year drop of 1:12.60 in defeating Mariah Castillo (Saugus/SS) by 15.70 seconds. ... Herberg is a junior at the University of Washington.

  • Claudia Lane (Malibu/SS) -- 2X Division IV champion in 2016-17. Her 16:30 to win as a junior in 2017 is the fastest ever run at the CIF-State Championship, regardless of division, and her 16:45 to win as a sophomore is No. 2 on the D-IV list and equal to the fifth-fastest ever. Lane is one of only six girls to ever run sub-17 to win a state title and one of only four to do it more than once. In both victories, she left Mari Friedman (Santa Cruz/CC) will back in second: in 2016 by 56.90 seconds and in 2017 the gap was 1:19.30. ... Lane is a sophomore at Dartmouth College.


(Voting closes Monday, Sept. 21 at noon)

Background on this poll tournament


The CIF-State Cross Country Championships were held for the first time in 1987 with three divisions. Division IV was first contested at the State Meet in 1990 and D-V was added for the 1996 championships.

The meet has always been held on the 5,000-meter course at Woodward Park in Fresno.


In the history of the CIF-State XC Championships, only six girls have run the course to win a title in less than 17 minutes. Those six girls combined to run sub-17 to victory 11 times. Two of those girls, plus nine others, have won CIF-State XC titles in fast times between 17 minutes and 17:10. One of those, plus 11 others, have winning times between 17:11 and 17:19.

We also have three girls that have won division titles all four years and another five girls who have won the state title three times.

Anyone with three or more multiple titles and/or winning times of sub-17:20 automatically was included among the original 32 girls in this tournament.

We identified 29 girls who met that criteria. The final three were selected from a pool of 14 two-time champions who did not meet the criteria. They were added based on their combined winning times.

The Final 32

We originally ranked all 32 athletes in tiers of four and listed them alphabetically within each tier for bracketing purposes.

(To see earlier postings of this tournament and to read bios on all 32 finalists click the "More Articles In This Series" link at the bottom of this article.)

For example, an athlete in Tier 1 with a last name beginning with the letter A would then be bracketed against the athlete in Tier 8 with a last name beginning with the letter Z.

The tiers are no longer applicable once bracketing was completed. 


Please encourage friends and teammates, current and past, to support your favorite champion.

Thank you for your continued participation and support of MileSplitCA!

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Source of athlete bio information: CIF-State 2019 Cross Country Championships Program