Time for me to rank the unrankable as I compare past and present generations to see who were the best Foot Locker athletes in the 37 year history of the defacto high school cross country national championship.
Ranking 35+ years of high school cross country can be daunting so I set up some guidelines/criteria to help generate the 14 best Foot Locker runners of all-time.
1) If he didnÂ’t win a Foot Locker title you arenÂ’t in the top 14.
2) What he did in college or as a pro doesnÂ’t matter.
This is the best Foot Locker athlete, not the best career athlete.
3) What he did in high school track doesnÂ’t matter.
This is the best Foot Locker athlete not the best high school athlete.
4) What he did at NXN doesnÂ’t matter.
5) Winning more than once helps his case.
Two is better than one after all.
6) Qualifying as an underclassmen helps his case.
Growing up fast is hard.
7) Beating an eventual Foot Locker Champ helps his case.
You got to beat the best to be the best.
8) Winning during a deep year helps his case.
Same as #7.
BOYS RANKINGS | GIRLS RANKINGS
#14 Matthew Withrow (Tinley Park, IL)
He beat Galen Rupp in 2003.
#13 Abdul Alzindani (Dearborn, MI)
Qualified twice with wins over Jorge Torres (Â’98 Champ) and Sharif Karie (2x Runner-Up).
#12 Eric Reynolds (Somis, CA)
Third as a junior, first as a senior with the second-fastest winning time ever (14:35).
#11 Robert Kennedy (Westerville, OH)
Third as a junior, first as a senior.
#10 Chris Solinsky (Stevens Point, WI)
Third as a junior, first as a senior winning by over 20 seconds.
#9 Louie Quintana (Nipomo, CA)
Qualified three times, was third as a junior, first as a senior, and beat Corey Ihmels (Â’91 Champ).
#8 Adam Goucher (Colorado Springs, CO)
Three top 15 finishes with wins over Matt Downin (Â’94 Champ) and Meb Keflezighi his senior year.
#7 Bryan Dameworth (Calabasas, CA)
Qualified as a freshman, fourth as a junior, first as a senior, and beat Louie Quintana (Â’90 Champ).
#6 Jorge Torres (Wheeling, IL)
Only man to qualify all four years, 13th as a freshman, fifth as a sophomore, second as a junior, and first as a senior. Ran during the toughest era with Abdul Alzindani (Â’95 Champ), Abdirizak Mohamud (Â’96/Â’97 Champ), and Dathan Ritzenhein (Â’99/Â’00 Champ).
#5 Lukas Verzbicas (Orland Hills, IL)
Undefeated (2 for 2) with wins over Futsum Zienasellassie (2x Runner-Up) and Matt McElroy.
#4 Edward Cheserek (Newark, NJ)
Undefeated (2 for 2) with wins over Futsum Zienasellassie (2x Runner-Up) and Sean McGorty.
#3 Grant Fisher (Grand Blanc, MI)
Undefeated (2 for 2) with wins over John Dressel, Olin Hacker and 2015 Foot Locker favorite, Drew Hunter.
#2 Abdirizak Mohamed (Boston, MA)
Undefeated (2 for 2) with wins over Jorge Torres (Â’98 Champ) twice, Dathan Ritzenhein (Â’99/Â’00 Champ), and Sharif Karie (2x Runner-Up).
#1 Dathan Ritzenhein (Rockford, MI)
Only 2x champ to qualify as a sophomore and won the legendary 2000 race over Alan Webb and Ryan Hall by 20 seconds!