Top 25 Illinois Teams Ever


UIC coach Jim Knoedel has published his list of the Top 25 Illinois boys teams on DyestatIL. Check it out at 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).



We will be publishing the list sometime today :slight_smile:

See you next Saturday…did it happen yet? E-mail me!



With degree of difficulty, Eureka (and likely SJO) should be ranked higher.

Getting those times out of a 12 man team is insane.


'08 Naperville North>'09 Neuqua IMO if we are talking scoring 5

Obviously biased there. But team time was 44 secs better (weather probably affected both races, the cold in 08 and heat in 09) and 3 all staters including 2 in the top 10. Although if the 6 and 7 runners are factored in Neuqua is obviously better there so it becomes closer. Neuqua’s 6/7 weren’t exceptional, NN was just a 5 man team that year.


Naperville North and York’s battle for first in the 2008 state meet created some great performances. I believe those teams are both definitely top 25 all time material in Illinois, but it’s hard to compare that to a 1A team with 30 guys running some great times at the state meet in the 80s. It’s just too hard to compare year to year unless you’ve been alive for the last 50 years and have attended every single state meet. Only then I think you would truly know who had the best teams because you’d be their to watch them run.


As a Class A guy I agree.

It’s hard for a lot of these 3A people to understand just how good that 1999 Eureka team was for a school of about 500 kids.


i was a teammate of one of those eureka guys in college and he says they would have comfortably beaten any other team in the state that year except york.


For you girls fans I will have theirs ready sometime this weekend. I’m doing some minor edits on it. Palatine and Naperville North tear up the list. You will see how great former and legendary Palatine coach Steve Currins was


Agree 2:D


BN ranked 7th alltime is somewhat puzzling to me,they got 6th at NXN MW losing to 4 3a teams: york, nequa, palatine, and oprf.


I think it’s pretty clear from the article that he’s ranking the teams and performances based on times ran by the teams at the state meet only. Even for York 2004 and Neuqua 2007, he doesn’t mention anything about them winning NXN-MW (for Neuqua 2007 at least, as York 2004 went to NXN by selection) or NXN except that they both were US #1 at the time of the state meet. He even mentions that #7 all-time Belvidere North would have beaten 3A state champ York based on combined times.

And in any case, if you throw in NXN-MW or NXN, then that’s a whole 'nother wrinkle to the mess, because for example, in 2008, Naperville North won 3A by one point, then York went on to win NXN-MW over North. And York won NXN-MW that year by a decent margin. The two teams then proceeded to finish 2-3 at NXN, And they damn near went 1-2 at NXN that year. They would have if North Central WA hadn’t passed a bazillion guys in the last kilo.

But, for what it’s worth, Zeman was not on top of his game at NXN-MW last fall, which doomed BN at Terre Haute. I mean, he finished 144th at NXN-MW, scoring 92 points by himself, which is more than 3x the points BN scored at state as a team! Bruyn Yunk wasn’t that great either. But at state, they had five in the top sixteen, and their entire top five ran 15:00 or better. Even more astounding is the fact that three of those five were sophomores. 28 points- the second lowest score ever at a state meet. That’s top ten, easily. Not bad for a school that only opened in 2007.

I’d think that if Zeman were on top of his game at NXN-MW, Belvidere North is at the very least one of the at-large possibilities for NXN. Let’s say Zeman runs about 15 seconds slower than Tyler Yunk, which is about what he did at the state meet. Instead of 16:31, that becomes 15:57, which drops off 65 points. So 244 points drops to 179, which would have been #3, just ahead of Neuqua Valley who ended up going to NXN.

All in all, I think #7 all time for 2010 BN is about right.

While I’m at it, I was just curious about this: Eureka 1999 – were they ranked nationally at all? Because in the article, it’s mentioned that 1991 St. Joseph Odgen was US #13 out of Class 1A. I’d have to think Eureka 1999 would certainly have to be, if the Fab 50 had existed then, at least in that Fab 50.

And I do agree that Eureka 1999 and SJO 1991 should be ranked a bit higher as the others said, getting those times out of such a small team is insane.


Did they even have 400 kids? I thought it was a fairly small school back then.

If you plug in times, they would have got 2nd in Class AA. Keep in mind, that was a year that York also had an amazing team.


He was very well aware of the rest of the teams that year, but they felt that way from the beginning of the season.

  1. O’Fallon.

nuff said


This is a list of the best teams ever, school size should not be factored in. The best teams. Period.


While saying BN would have beaten York is completely viable (as they would have), I don’t think you should say “They were really good because they only scored 28 points!”. It would have been completely different in the 3A race. So if you say that they would have won 3A, it would have been nice for him to also say “This is how they would have scored, individually, in 3A”.


Interestingly there are no teams from between 1981 to 1998 in the top 39 on Mike Newman’s list. I realize that distance running in general was in a funk during this time period in the state and in the country, but there was one constant during the whole era and that was Joe Newton and his teams before and after are found many times in the top 25. I am surprised that none of those York teams comes in until #49.


It is pretty unreal how deep the trough was and how long it lasted. Newton’s teams had to be incredibly countercultural (at least in the running sense) during that period. I know some of those years were marred by the type of weather we haven’t seen in the last 10 years, but the dearth of great team and individual performances relative to what came before and what is happening now is striking. The same can generally be said for the national scene in high school, college, and the pro ranks. It would have been nearly unheard of for American freshmen to be mixing it up with the top NCAA foreigners during the 1980s (as Puskedra, Derrick, Withrow and others have done recently).

In my mind the resurgence has so much to do with the Internet and the ability of coaches to educate themselves about effective aerobic training. I know when I was running for Moline, we simply had no idea what anyone else was doing. Now you can read workouts all over the Internet. After watching Galen Rupp finish 7th in the 10K this morning, I hope we can only continue to improve going forward.