Poll: Greatest CIF-State Boys XC Champion

First-round poll survivors included two-time champions Cooper Teare (left) and Austin Tamagno (right) and three-time winner Anthony Grover (center). (Photos by Ben Crawford, Pat Rhames and DeAnna Turner)

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The Greatest Boys CIF-State Cross Country Champions poll tournament includes (from left) Nico Young, Ammar Moussa and Luis Grijalva. (Photos:  DeAnna Turner, Eric Paul Zamara, Ben Crawford)

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The objective is simply for you to determine the greatest CIF-State boys cross country champion. We have gone through the 32-year history of the State Meet, pulled out the greatest 32 champions, seeded them generally by accomplishment, and placed them in a tournament-style bracket. Your votes have so far cut the field in half, eliminating two top seeds in the process. Who will advance to the Elite Eight?

While these are all great California cross country champions, there will be only one Greatest CIF-State Boys Cross Country Champion winner from 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 Division V was added for the 1996 championships.The meet always has been held on the 5,000-meter course at Woodward Park in Fresno.


How did we narrow down the initial list to the "greatest" 32 State Meet champions?

First off, remember this poll only includes former CIF-State Meet cross country champions. Runners--up were not considered, regardless of their time.

  • There are four three-time champions and 23 two-time champions, all of whom were automatically entered.
  • There are eight boys who have run sub-14:50 and another nine who have State Meet-winning times between 14:50 and 14:59. Any of those who were not multiple-year champions also are included.
  • There are three boys whose State-winning time was 15 minutes flat and another three at 15:01. The three at 15 flat were added but those at 15:01 pushed us to 33 qualifiers, one over the total.
  • Of those who ran 15:01, one was a three-time champion (auto-qualifier) and the other two were single-year winners. Of those two, we looked at ranking in the merge of that year's meet to decide the final spot in the 32-runner bracket.
  • There was one year where 15:01 was fastest in the merge and one where that time was only the third-fastest. Being the fastest at the State Meet while running a time that ranks among the top 23 all-time among champions, warranted a spot in the tournament.


The 32 selected boys champions were grouped in tiers of four generally based on accomplishment, and listed alphabetically within each tier. Athletes were then placed in brackets based on tier matchups: Tier 1 runners versus Tier 8 runners matched up 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3.