Cross Country High School All Americans

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History:   Before 1957 there was no West Regional Meet or National Meet for cross country. 

NATIONAL POSTALS:   However, from 1957 through the 1970‘s at the end of the cross country season Track & Field News and the United States Track & Field Federation jointly held a nationwide competition.  At first teams would run 2 miles on the track and mail the results in (hence the name “National Postals”), but then in 1969 when the 3 miles was added, regional races were held, all of which are known as the “National Postal” races.  Since cross country courses varied and since there was not going to be a single national meet, the times from the regional races were taken for ranking the competitors nationally.  To make the races fair in comparing times, the races were run on the track, but in a cross country type race.  Teams of 5 runners were entered as well as individual entries.  High school runners ran a 2 mile cross country event in those years.  The 2 mile races for the National Postals were done from 1957 through 1982; and the 3 mile races for the National Postals were done from 1969 through 1978 (as in 1979 and after, the Kinney  and Footlocker National High School Cross Country Championships were instituted for the 3 mile races).  What constituted a High School All American is difficult to say, as for example in the 1969 inaugural 3 mile race all runners were listed nationally that broke 16 minutes in order of ranking, which constituted 148 runners listed. 

KINNEY & FOOTLOCKER:  In 1979 the Kinney Shoe Company began regional and national championships known as the Kinney Cross Country Championship.  This regional and national competition was done to determine the best individual high school cross country runners for 3 miles.  The regionals don’t require qualification but one must be seeded to run in the qualifying seeded race, and the nationals limit the runners who qualify from the regional races.  In 1993 to the present Footlocker took over for Kinney, and now the individual championship regionally and nationally is called the Footlocker Cross Country Championship.   The race is a 5K (3.1 miles).  From 1979 to 1980 there were 5 regionals with the top 7 from each regional making the nationals for a total of 35 runners.  Then from 1981 through 2004 there were 4 regionals with the top 8 runners from each regional making the nationals for a total of 32 runners.  Then from 2005 to the present there are 4 regionals with the top 10 from each regional making the nationals for a total of 40 runners.  The West Regional is held at Mount San Antonio College (MT SAC).  The nationals are held at Balboa Park, San Diego.

NIKE CROSS NATIONALS OR NXN:  Then in 2004 Nike decided to add to the Footlocker races, by putting on a separate high school “team” competition with regionals and nationals, known originally as the Nike Team Nationals, but now known as the Nike Cross Nationals or NXN.   It is an invitational that is the unofficial team regional and team nationals.  High schools run in this forum as a team, but under a fictitious name as opposed to the high school name.  So for example, if Beverly were to run a team in the Nike team races they could enter as the Norman Harriers or Beverly Normans.  To make the team nationals the top 2 teams in each of 9 regionals, plus 4 at large team bids by a selection committee, and the top 5 individuals in each region not on a qualifying or selected team qualify for the nationals. The California State Meet constitutes a Nike regional.  Some individual runners opt out of Nike for the Footlocker regional race instead, so the next runners to finish are invited until 5 individuals are selected. This results with the purported top 22 teams in the nation with an additional selection of 45 individual runners making a total of 199 runners at the nationals.  The nationals are held at Portland, Oregon at the Portland Meadows thoroughbred racing track of a 3 loop man made course which is usually muddy.  As such, since 2004 we have a divided Nationals between Footlocker and Nike.

Summary:  The top 15 finishers in the Foot Locker Nationals are considered All Americans (even though one would think with the top 40 runners making the race that they would all be considered All Americans--and before 2005 the runners making the nationals was 32 or 35 runners only).  The top 21 finishers at the NXN are considered All Americans as well.  Between the two national races that is 36 places for All American status.  There is some overlap but not much.  ESPN/Dyestat went along with that method to a certain extent, but also had a top 25 individual ranking, individual elite 100 times for 5K and 3 miles, and FAB 50 which ranks the top 50 teams in the nation for the year.  ESPN/Dyestat closed down after the 2011 season, but was picked up by RunnersSpace in 2013. Up until 2010 “The Harrier” high school cross country magazine since 1974 ranked the top 50 individual cross country runners in high school, which were listed in the Harrier’s High School Cross Country Yearbook, which also listed the top 25 teams for the year.  The “Harrier” shut down in and around 2009.  Then MileSplit has its own top 25 individual list and lists runners by time as well.  XCNation now also has it’s top 25 list.  None of the lists are the same.  So without consensus the status of being a High School All American for cross country is a debatable issue.  Is it the 36 places from NXN and Foot Locker or top 25 rankings from Dyestat or MileSplit or XCNation or the past top 50 from The Harrier rankings? At Beverly we look to the top 50 pre-2004.  Post 2004 we look at the top 15 at Footlocker, top 21 at Nike/NXN, and top 25 of Dyestat, Harrier, MileSplit and XCNation.  That is a lot of ways to be a High School All American, but difficult none the same.

Beverly Cross Country Runners

As stated above, before 1957 there was no state, regional or national competitions.  However, one could surmise that the pre-1957 cross country star at Beverly, Sterry Fagan who in the 1942-1943 season finished 2nd in the CIF Southern Section cross country finals and was an All American in track for the 880 yard run may have had the caliber to have ranked in the regional and/or national level.  However, it is all speculation.

In 1969 Simon Langer who finished 8th in the CIF Southern Section cross country finals and held 14 school cross country records, 10 of which were course records, and who was a High School All American in track for the 880 yard run and 3 miles was the first runner at Beverly to be ranked nationally in Cross Country.  With no State meet, he competed in the National Postal nationwide competition held by Track & Field News and the United States Track & Field Federation for the 3 miles.  In the West Regional he took 15th place and in the Nationwide ranking he was 26th.  As such, he is the only High School All American in cross-country at Beverly.

On the girls side, Sydney Segal holds a number of school records and course records in cross country.  In 2011 she was 2nd in the CIF Southern Section Girls Div. 3 Finals and 6th in the State Girls Div. 3 Finals, and took 7th place In the Footlocker West Region and 32nd place in the Footlocker Nationals, becoming Beverly’s first nationally ranked girl cross country runner.  In 2012 she was Beverly’s first CIF SS Champion and State Champion (Division 3), was a top 5 selection in the California Region for the NIKE Nationals, where she took 35th place. Her 16:18 time at the CIF SS Finals was the 7th fastest time in the 3 miles in the U.S. for 3 mile XC courses. The only 2 time U.S. ranked Cross Country runner at Beverly.

WEST REGIONAL (3 miles/3.1 miles)

1969     SIMON LANGER  15th   15:06  (BOYS) (National Postals - West Regional - 3 miles)

2011     SYDNEY SEGAL   7th    18:32 (GIRLS) (Foot Locker West Regional - 3.1 miles)

2012     SYDNEY SEGAL  Top 5 selection 17:40 (GIRLS) (NIKE CA Region - 3.1 miles)

NATIONALS (3 Miles/3.1 Miles)

1969     SIMON LANGER    26th     15:06 (BOYS) (National Postals - 3 miles)

2011     SYDNEY SEGAL    32nd    18:21 (GIRLS) (Foot Locker Nationals - 3.1 miles)

2012     SYDNEY SEGAL    35th      20:31 (GIRLS) (NIKE Nationals - 3.1 miles)

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