It really didn't take a 32-team poll tournament to confirm that Nico Young is the greatest CIF-State Cross Country Champion of all time.
While a couple of former champions certainly have a case to take the debate into the future, for the purposes of the latest MileSplitCA poll tournament, your votes have spoken loud and clear:
Nico Young is indeed The GOAT!!
Young, a 2020 graduate of Newbury Park High and a two-time CIF-State Division II champion, was a runaway winner over former Arcadia High two-time State winner Ammar Moussa in poll championship voting that concluded Friday night.
Young received 105 more votes than Moussa to claim the title of Greatest CIF-State Cross Country Champion.
Young, now a freshman at Northern Arizona University, was never challenged throughout the five rounds of the tournament, defeating Austin Fritzke (Mt. Shasta/NS) by 69 votes in the first round, Caleb Webb (Big Bear/SS) by 55 votes in the second round, German Fernandez (Riverbank/SJ) by 40 votes in the quarterfinal round, Cooper Teare (St. Joseph Notre Dame/NC) by 85 votes in the semifinal, and now Moussa by 105 votes in the championship.
As a junior, Young won the D-II title in 15 minutes flat on the 5K Woodward Park course in Fresno that has been used all 33 years of the CIF-State Championships. As a senior, Young was otherworldly, running two of the three fastest times ever at Woodward Park, including a jaw-dropping 14:29 last November to defend his State D-II title. That is the second-fastest time ever by a CIF-State champion, behind only the 14:24 by Fernandez to win the D-IV title in 2007.
Young is one of only eight boys to ever win a state title running sub-14:50. He and Fernandez are the only two to win a title running sub-14:30.
Moussa (pictured), won D-I titles in 2009 and 2010, running 14:59 and 14:43 respectively. Moussa and Young join two-time champion Phillip Rocha (Arcadia/SS) and three-time winner Elias Gedyon (Loyola/SS) as the only boys to ever win titles while running sub-15:01.
Rocha won titles in 2014 (14:58) and 2015 (14:43). Of Gedyon's three titles, two went sub-15:01 and the third just missed: 2008 (15:01), 2009 (15:00), 2010 (14:52).
Moussa and Rocha are the only two boys to win two titles while running sub-15:00.
Moussa reached the poll finale by defeating Daniel Milechman (Tamalpias/NC) by 36 votes in the first round, Scott Hempel (Walnut/SS) by 36 votes in the second round, Anthony Grover (JSerra/SS) by 27 votes in the quarterfinal round, and Ryan Hall(Big Bear/SS) by 55 votes in the semifinals.