UIC coach Jim Knoedel has published his list of the Top 25 Illinois boys teams on DyestatIL. Check it out at http://rise.espn.go.com/track-and-xc/illinois/2011-XC/Illinois-Top-25-Boys-XC-Teams.aspx?pursuit=TrackAndXC. This should be good for some debate as we wait for the season to start. I loved the inclusion of some of my favorite non-York teams, especially Bill Eschman’s 1995 CLC team. Watching those four All-State guys come through the zig-zag at 400 meters to go running side by side was one of my biggest spectator thrills ever. One of the greatest team races I’ve ever seen at the state meet.
I’m sure there are a couple more York teams that deserve to be on this list, but my vote for best squad not included: Jim Macnider’s 1988 team which won the state title 70-77 over York. Once again, times were slow due to really cold race conditions, but Mac’s boys placed 6-9-17-23-30-65-77 to narrowly defeat the Dukes. That’s with Kevin Hedenburg, a 4:07 miler the next spring, as #4 man. New Schaumburg boys CC coach Scott Lilley placed ninth as a junior before going on to win the state 3200 title as a senior. I’m also pretty sure that all of the top five ran on Division I scholarships as well. I’ve seen a lot of Ill XC and those guys were as dominant a unit as I’ve ever seen.
It’s funny to think of how many great York teams there really have been. It seems that most of these teams are on the list by virtue of a close win over York. That means that all those Duke runners-up had to be pretty spectacular too. I know Mike Newman has a list he just sent me of all the top teams organized by total time. That’s quite a list as well if Mike wouldn’t mind sharing it (e-mail him).