If you have ever been a part of a state championship team you know the feeling of accomplishment accompanied with victory. Each year there come very special programs across the country that step beyond simply winning and into a realm of total domination. It is in these moments of triumph that the questions of team's "greatness" are raised. Extraordinary accomplishments that warrant recognition and validation to set in stone once and for all, their XC Legacy.
(Recap) In 2004 Nike changed the face of prep cross country with the implementation of Nike Team Nationals. After decades the hopes and dreams of avid cross fans were finally realized. Hosted by Nike, NTN allowed the top XC programs in the nation to compete in one true national championship race at Portland Meadows. Many state associations do not allow prep teams to travel so teams register as clubs in order to compete in this post season event.
The pinnacle event for the prep cross country team is earning a berth to Nike Cross Nationals. The goal of every prep team is to hoist the NXN National Championship Trophy, proclaiming the true national champions. The honor and prestige of traversing the Portland Meadows course as team victor welcomes the winning team into an elite fraternity of champions that stretches back three decades.
Nike Cross Nationals and all that the event represents to the sport of cross country undeniably traces its roots, inception, and excitement to one moment and one man over three decades ago. In 1973 New York Times free-lance reporter Marc Bloom looked across the nation and saw a lack in comprehensive coverage for prep cross country and came up with a revolutionary idea. An idea that would pump new life and energy into high school cross country. The single most profound event prior to the emergence of Nike Cross Nationals three decades later, The Harrier Magazine!
In 1974 Marc Bloom developed and implemented a network for prep cross country on a national scale by releasing detailed summaries of every state. The culminating event for The Harrier magazine was the release of the Harrier Top-50 High School All-Americans.
The winds of change came in 1976 when Harrier released the first national team rankings in US history. A new buzz and excitement spread throughout the nation as top programs sought fervently to be crowned National Champions by The Harrier magazine. Team rankings were again released in 1977, following the 1977 season The Harrier was discontinued until being resurrected by Bloom in 1989. XC Legacy has sought to bridge the gap from that final 1977 season until the 1989 season.
The significance of those four seasons from 74’-77’ in the scope of prep cross country cannot be understated. Without the efforts of Marc Bloom to network and harness the energy that is prep cross country there would have not been a platform for Nike Cross Nationals.
The Harrier 1989 rankings came at the perfect moment and for a decade teams from the four corners of the nation sought the coveted Harrier National Championship. It was this energy, and this excitement that inspired the creation of the Nike Cross Nationals…the nation’s true prep team championship.
Perhaps now a spotlight can rest on those teams who deserve recognition for superior national performances.
XCLegacy BIG-15 National Rankings
by Aron & David Taylor
|1||Carmel, Indiana (Chuck Koeppen)||Undefeated National Champions|
|1||Tuba City, Arizona (Bud Davis)||Undefeated National Champions|
|3||Bernards, New Jersey||State Champions|
|4||Cincinnati Elder, Ohio||State Champions|
|5||Conroe McCullough, Texas||State Champions|
|6||Highland, Idaho||State Champions|
|7||Sunset, Oregon||State Champions|
|8||York, Illinois||State AAA Champions|
|9||Willow Glen, California||CIF NS Champions|
|10||El Modena, California||CIF SS 4A Champions|
|11||Leto, Florida||State 4A Champions|
|12||Largo, Florida||State 4A Runner-up|
|13||Mater Dei, California||CIF SS 4A Runner-up|
|14||Mandan, North Dakota||State Class A Champions|
|15||W.A. Berry, Alabama||State AAAA Champions|
1. Carmel, Indiana: National Champions
On October 23, 2008, the Indy Star of Indianapolis, Indiana titled an article, “Coach Fullfills His Calling.” How fitting it was in regards to Carmel’s legendary coach Chuck Koeppen, this is what it says, “One state championship. That was Chuck Koeppen’s goal. Just one. Koeppen’s inspiration was his Valparaiso High School coach, Ken Pifer. Valparaiso was supposed to win the state cross country title in 1963, and didn’t. Pifer despaired. Soon thereafter, he died. His memory lives. At Carmel, Koeppen has won 21 state championships,more than any coach in Indiana high school history. After his first — in boys cross country in 1975 — he extended Pifer’s legacy. “Because I knew that’s all he ever wanted to do,” Koeppen said. . “Great things happened from there."
The 1982 Carmel cross country team was nothing less than stellar. In usual fashion Carmel breezed through the IHSAA Sectional, Regional, and Semi-State championships. This would mark the ninth straight Sectional, fifth straight Regional, and fourth straight Semi-State Championship. In a state known for national powerhouse programs and a historic state championship format, Chuck Koeppen continues to guide the Greyhounds to victory. Again, we see that it is the great IHSAA Indiana State Cross Country Championships which set the bar as the standard of excellence for the nation. History will record the 1980-1982 Indiana cross country teams as the best in Indiana history and perhaps U.S. history over a legitimate 5000 meter course. The third National Championship for Coach Chuck Koeppen adding to 1978, and 1981. Lets meet the 1982 National Championship team.
Recently, we had the distinct opportunity to speak with this extraordinary man. The passion and love for the sport he coached for over 30 years could be felt in his voice as he shared his experiences about the Carmel cross country program. In regards to his 1981 National Championship team he claimed, “That team was the best team I coached and several people have ranked my ’81 team as the greatest team in Indiana State history.” He then continued, “You know, I always wanted to face Joe Newton’s York teams. I wrote Joe letters, I travelled to Illinois, each time Joe dodged me and would never face my teams. It is my opinion he did not want to face my teams because he knew they were better. While his teams ran on a 2.9 and 3.0 mile courses my runners beat his runners times over 5000 meters…and yet he claimed to be national champion. It is confusing because I always looked up to Joe.”
A true statement considering the first running book Koeppen bought was Newton’s. Upon further inquiry into this subject Koeppen explained how he tried to travel to Illinois to face Newton, “There was this guy Skip Stolley, he organized this meet that was an Illinois/Indiana championship called the Ill-Iana Classic held in Lansing, Illinois. Each year we would travel there and each year York would not show. I always thought that odd that he would never bring his teams to face my teams. I mean, we faced Deerfield in 77'...and who could be better than they were? But I tell you, we blew the Illinois teams out of the water at that meet, I mean, no one was close. You know, in my state we have one race, one championship, at the end of the season we know who the best team in the state is and we always faced the top competition as a result.” What resinates with Chuck Koeppen was that his teams dodged noone. Forged in a state where to be the best you had to beat the best Koeppen was not keen on powerplaying and avoidance.
The Road to State
The 1982 championship run would begin with a training camp time trial on August 16, 1982 at Pokagon State Park. Senior Richie Garing would lead with a 15:41 over 5000 meters. Coach Koeppen finished second in 15:50. 3. Dan Boston 16:14; 4. Leonard Bareford 16:28; 5. Andy Foster 16:41; 6. Fred Newlin (alumni) 16:42; 7. Pete Kalesz 16:52; 8. Tom Bellow 17:18; 9. Jon Beasley 17:20; 10. Skip Nordhoff 17:21. In team scoring alumni Fred Newlin, a member of Koeppen's 1978 National Championship boys program, claimed top honors with 40 points. His Carmel team consisted of Leonard Bareford, Andy Foster, Jon Beasley, Brian Ogle and himself. Coach Koeppen's team finished second with 55 points. The season would begin with a very good off-season training program.
On August 26, 1982 the team assembled at the Carmel high track. In what would become a storied workout under sunny while humid conditions with the temperature at 78 degrees the team ran three by a mile repeats. Richie Garing would average 4:33 (4:32, 4:34, 4:33); Dan Boston would average 4:42 (4:40, 4:42, 4:44); Leonard Bareford would average 4:48.7 (4:43, 4:50, 4:53); Andy Foster would average 4:51 (4:49, 4:50, 4:54), Pete Kalesz would average 4:54.3 (4:51, 4:54, 4:58). With a slew of guys Rodney Watson (5:03 avg.), Tom Bellew (5:04 avg.), Mike Dunlap (5:04 avg.) all averaging near five minutes per mile.
On August 28, 1982 the team assembled at the Carmel high school trails for the annual alumni race. The Alumni would come back and compete against the current Carmel varsity team. The current team would win with 22 points to the Alumni's 35 points.
September 7, 1982: The First meet of the season came in the Pike Hokum Karum. Sunny and 75 degrees the team scored 19 team points to claim five of the top six individual places. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 19; 2. Lafayette 60; 3. Kokomo 76; 4. Western 83. Individual finishers: 1. Richie Garing, 15:04; 3. Dan Boston, 15:25; 4. Leonard Bareford, 15:54; 5. Andy Foster, 15:56; 6. Pete Kalesz, 16:08.
September 11, 1982: The Carmel Invitational would feature eight teams including Indiana State #4 Ranked Bloomington North coached by Charles Warthan. Sunny and warm at 75 degrees Carmel would claim the team victory with a 84:19 total team time to Bloomington North's 88:30. Carmel would claim four of the top five places with all five in the top 11. Individual finishers: 1. Richie Garing 16:05; 2. Dan Boston 16:31; 4. Leonard Bareford 16:59; 5. Andy Foster 17:12; 11. Pete Kalesz 17:32.
September 14, 1982:The 18th Annual ben Davis Invitational over a dozen teams competing. With temperatures reaching the high 80's overcast and humid Carmel would claim the team title with a low 21 points and five int he top eight individual places. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 21; 2. North Central 76; 3. Ben Davis 98; 4. Decatur Central 170; 5. Chatard 178; 6. Park Tudor. Individual finishers: 1. Leonard Bareford 15:36; 2. Dan Boston 15:36; 3. Richie Garing 15:36; 7. Andy Foster 16:14; 8. Pete Kalesz 16:17.
September 16, 1982:Carmel would score a perfect 15 team points in a dual meet with Brebeuf at the Brookshire Golf Course. On a beautiful sunny day with temperatures at 72 degrees the Carmel Greyhounds had a six-way tie for first place all recording 16:33. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 15; 2. Brebeuf 50. Individual finishers: 1. Leonard Bareford, Richie Garing, Dan Boston, Pete Kalesz, Skip Nordhoff, Andy Foster 16:33. The course record was 15:04 set in 1981 by Richie Garing.
September 18, 1982:Travelling to cross-town rival Bloomington North was always a contested battle to ensue. Bloomington North was the only team to defeat Carmel at the State Championships in the past six seasons and were ranked #4 overall in the state. Carmel would score 14 points in a meet where only the top three individuals are recorded. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 14; 2. DeKalb 31; 3. Bloomington South 58; 4. Anderson 58. Individual finishers: 3. Dan Boston 15:46; 4. Leonard Bareford 15:54; 7. Richie Garing 16:13; 15. Pete Kalesz 16:32.
September 21, 1982: Competing in a tiangular meet against Warren Central and Chatard Carmel scored a low 20 team points ot claim victory. Dan Boston set a course record with a 15:03 5000 meter performance. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 20; 2. Warren Central 51; 3. Chatard 58. Individual finishers: 1. Dan Boston 15:03; 2. Leonard Bareford 15:16; 3. Richie Garing 15:25; 6. Andy Foster 15:41; 8. John Beasley 16:14. The total team time of 77:39 was tops for the season and one of the best over 5000 meters distance.
September 24, 1982: Competing in a dual meet against Lawrence North, Carmel would claim the team title with 17 points. Richie Garing, Dan Boston, and Leonard Bareford would tie for first place with each recording a new meet record of 15:52.4.
Septembet 27, 1982:Competing against Pike in a dual meet Carmel would score 17 team points to claim victory. Dan Boston, Leonard Bareford and Andy Foster would tie for first place in 16:27.
October 2, 1982:The 7th Annual Ill-Iana Classic was held at North Creek Meadow in Glenwood, Illinois. Called by Koeppen just a huge meet with mile by mile team rankings and a loud speaker giving play by play as the races were underway the Ill-Iana Classic was the first true Borderwar. Carmel has only lost the meet in 1977 when they faced then two-time National Champions Deerfield. Since 77' Carmel has bested the top teams in Illinois. Claiming the team championship with 52 points over Illinois Portage 119, with over 20 teams competing. Carmel placed there top three in the top four places. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 52; 2. Portage 119; 3. Marist 130; 4. Crown Point 140; 5. Palatine 144; 6. Bloomington North 147. Individual finishers: 2. Richie Garing 15:24; 3. Leonard Bareford 15:40; 4. Dan Boston 15:40; 19. Andy Foster 16:13; 24. Pete Kalesz 16:16.
October 5, 1982: The Olympic Conference Championships would be a breeze as carmel posted 24 points to claim victory. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 24; 2. Muncie North 38; 3. Madison Heights 91; 4. Huntington North 117; 5. Haworth 147; 6. Muncie South 154. Individual finishers: 2. Dan Boston 15:37; 3. Leonard Bareford 15:47; 4. Richie Garing 15:50; 6. Andy Foster 16:19; 9. Pete Kalesz 16:41.
October 9, 1982: Traveling to Kentucky to compete at Creason Park in Louisville, Kentucky Atherton's Highland Fling. Carmel would win the meet with a total team time of 88:27. Franklin Central would finish second with a total team time of 90:56.
October 12, 1982: The Hamilton County Championships would be a clinic as Carmel posted victory with 17 points. Also to note the top four Carmel varsity runners surpassed the previous course record of 16:13 set in 1980 by Widmer and Boston of Carmel. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 17; 2. Southeastern 52; 3. Noblesville 89; 4. Heights 102; 5. Westfield 118. Individual finishers: 1. Dan Boston 15:40*; 2. Richie Garing 15:40*; 3. Leonard Bareford 15:47; 5. Andy Foster 15:54; 6. Skip Nordhoff 16:43.
October 16, 1982:The Pike Sectional Championships would be a true test for Carmel. The top five teams qualify for the state championships. Carmel would claim victory with 25 points. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 25; 2. North Central 55; 3. Pike 78; 4. Ritter 133; 5. Brownsburg 160. Individual finishers: 1. Dan Boston 15:56; 2. Richie Garing 15:56; 3. Andy Foster 16:05; 9. Pete Kalesz 16:32; 10. Tom Bellew 16:37.
October 23, 1982:The Ben Davis Regional Championships would be no contest for Carmel as they once again outpaced the field winning with 38 points. Top four teams qualify for the Semi-State Championships. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 38; 2. North Central 66; 3. Ben Davis 103; 4. Pike 110. Individual finishers: 2. Dan Boston 15:06; 3. Richie Garing 15:37; 4. Andy Foster 15:41; 13. Pete Kalesz 16:17; 18. Skip Nordhoff 16:26.
October 30, 1982:The IHSAA Semi-State Championships were contested under windy, foggy, damp conditions with temperatures hovering around 48 degrees. Carmel would claim victory with 53 points. Team Scores: 1. Carmel 53; 2. North Central 121; 3. Anderson 127; 4. Mt. Vernon 135. Individual finishers: 3. Dan Boston 15:12.1; 5. Richie Garing 15:25.5; 12. Leonard Bareford 15:53.3; 13. Andy Foster 15:54.2; 28. Tom Bellew 16:12.6
Dan Boston: Senior, 17 years of age, 5'11" 148 lbs, Personal Bests: 9:23 3200m, 4:28 mile, 15:03 5000 meters.
"I could not have hoped to have a more successful senior year; accomplishing what you only dream for is always very satisfying...all of this would not have been possible had it not been for the coaching and guidance of my coaches Chuck Koeppen and Dan Shoop, to whom I am greatly indebted" ~Dan Boston, 5th place at the IHSAA State Meet 15:03.1 (5000m).
Richie Garing:Senior, 18 years of age, 5'9" 124 lbs, Personal Best: 9:12 3200m, 4:19 1600m, 1:58 800m, 15:04 5000 meters.
"Running at Carmel has been the best thing to ever happen to me, mainly because I am running under the best coach in the nation, Chuck Koeppen. My favorite workout is doing 10x400 or running a hard 5 miles" ~Richie Garing, 7th place at the IHSAA State Meet 15:09.1 (5000m).
The 1982 Season Schedule
|Dual Meet Record||9-0|
|Ben Davis Invitational||Champions|
|Highland Fling (Louisville, KY)||Champions|
|Olympic Conference Championship||Champions|
|Hamilton County Championships||Champions|
|Pike Sectional Championships||Champions|
|Ben Davis Regional Championships||Champions|
|IHSAA State Meet||CHAMPIONS|
|Carmel Varsity Team||Season Bests||State Time|
|Dan Boston, senior||15:03.1||15:03.1|
|Richie Garing, senior||15:04.0||15:09.1|
|Leonard Bareford, senior||15:16.0||15:51.9|
|Andy Foster, sophomore||15:41.0||15:52.8|
|Tom Bellew, junior||16:04.4||16:04.0|
|Pete Kalesz, senior||16:08.0||16:36.0|
|Skip Nordhoff, sophomore||16:26.0||16:33.0|
1. Tuba City, Arizona: National Champions
Not customarily know as the cross country Mecca of the U.S.; Arizona features several dehabilitating features. To begin, Arizona courses are brutal with rolling hills and most likely the most devastating 5000 meter courses in the country. The second struggle for Arizona teams is altitude! Often ranging between 3500 and 5000 feet, any athlete fortunate enough to compete on an Arizona course knows the pains associated with traversing the ups and downs of the Arizona trails.
In 1982, such a team emerged from Arizona that the likes of the state has never seen. Out of the Navajo Indian Reservation came one of the greatest teams in U.S. history. Not granted the amenities of the courses the young men from Tuba City had numerous obstacles to overcome in their quest for perfection. Tuba City, a place 4,960 ft above sea level offered unique challenges of its own. Growing up on a reservation brings its own demands that few will ever appreciate. Running in Arizona while coming from these circumstances demands a tremendous resiliency and individual determination. Tuba City was just that team.
Tuba City High School has a tradition, they are cross country champions. Cross country is a team sport that rewards the runners who run as a team. Tuba City has won 11 state championships over past 13 seasons, last eight in a row, and nine divisional titles in a row and four times voted the top team in the state regardless of the classification. Rated 3rd in the nation in 1977 and 5th in the nation in 1978. Tuba City was only AA school to win Tempe All-star meet and only team to win it three times. Since 1975 they have had three individual state champions, Joseph Nelson 1975, Herman Snea 1976, Andy Endischee 1982. Tuba’s 11 state championships and 8 in a row were both national records. Tuba City also has lowest score to win a state meet, 20 points in 1975 and tied by 1977 team.
During a 1982 interview with Bill Leverton from Channel 10m in Phoenix interviewed head coach Bud Davis which appeared on the 6’o’clock news. When asked what he attributed the teams dominance too.
Davis commented, “They have natural abilities, you can be the most talented person in the world but if you don’t develop and work at it you won’t amount to anything or anybody. Maybe I have found a way to get through to them and give them something to shoot for; I would go back to pride and a sense of accomplishment something that we can do better than anybody. There is no secret, just hard work. Utilizing the natural abilities the kids have and building upon their pride and tradition which we have allot of here in Tuba.” ~ Head Coach Bud Davis, Channel 10 interview 1982.
For the past 10 years the state championship teams were invited to meet Wayne Newton in Las Vegas. The team was invited to his show and tours ranch and home. Tuba City stormed through Arizona with a perfect season setting course records at every meet. Led by the incomparable Bud Davis and Assistant Charles Carter, Tuba City stormed into the state championships with true team depth. Competing in one of the most difficult states for 5000 meter courses in the U.S. Davis led the Tuba City team to a perfect season. At the state championship took the first three places, Andy Endischee led the team to its 11th state championship in a row.
“I was a part of the 1973-1977 and I felt very fortunate to be part of a great team and it is very flattering to see that this great winning tradition is still intact. I went to Central College for two years and to NAU for two years. I feel that I have learned perseverance and humility from running. Coach Bud Davis is the type of individual that reinforces you with your everyday life to continue on to accept failures and when they come to readjust and come striving back for success again” Tom Hatathaway, 1973-77 state championship member.
“I attended Tuba City from 1975-1978 and was pretty successful. During the three years I was on the team we were state champions. It was good to be a part of and that’s what all high school teams strive for is to be state champions. It took allot of hard work and discipline, we worked together as individuals and teams. The main reason I went to Illinois State was because of Coach Bud Davis. He inspired me for more.” Herman Senayah,1975-78 state championship member.
|Durango Colorado Invitational (Durango, Colorado)||First Place (6,523ft alt.)|
|Peak Invitational (Flagstaff, Arizona)||First Place (6,910ft alt.)|
|Las Vegas Invitational, Nevada||First Place (2,001ft alt.)|
|Costa Mesa Invitational (Costa Mesa, California)||First Place|
|Doug Conley Invitational, Arizona||First Place (1,200ft alt.)|
|Tuscon Invitational @ Puma College||First Place (2,389ft alt.)|
|Grants Invitational, New Mexico||First Place|
|Tuba City Invitational||First Place (4,960ft alt.)|
|Northern Arizona 4A Regional Championship||First Place|
|Arizona State Championships||First Place|
After an undefeated destruction of competition covering four states the Tuba City team entered the state championship with one goal in mind, utter annihilation. As expected Tuba City walked away with an Arizona State Championship record 24 total team points to defeat Nogales High 24-82. Covering one of the most difficult 5000 meter courses in U.S. history Tuba City finished their goal. Perhaps no team in recent history has faced as much adversity, overcome as much trial, and received so little recognition as the men from the 1982 Tuba City State Championship team. This would be the eight consecutive state championship for Bud Davis and the 11th in the previous 13 seasons. The favorite meet of the Warriors season was the Tuba City Invitational where the team scored a meet record 15 points while averaging near 16 minutes on a brutal 5000 meter course. So anticipated the news crew from Phoenix, Arizona came to film the race and interview the team as the top three tied for first place. Had Tuba been afforded the opportunity to compete on a course such as Detweiller Park most likely we would have seen the true potential of this remarkable team.
|Tuba City Varsity Team||State Time (5000 Meters)|
3. Bernards, New Jersey
In 1999, Harrier Magazine published a story featuring the historic Van Cortlandt Park. In that feature Marc Bloom declared “Vanny” America’s cross country Mecca. Over the annuals of Vanny’s history mega stars such as Alberto Salazar, Marty Liquori, and Alan Webb have traversed her trails. Each year tens of thousands of prep competitors seek the challenge of Vanny’s historic 2.5 mile course at the Manhattan Invitational. Looking back to the 1982 season we meet one of the first true dominant Eastern States teams.
Within the State of New Jersey no cross country program has been as dominant as Coach Edward Mather’s Bernards high school. Since 1969 the Mountaineers have amassed an astounding 130 meet win streak, not too shabby for a team with an overall cross country record of 190-3 over the previous nineteen years. Entering the 1982 season Bernards once again sought perfection.
Led by national phenom John Carlotti, Bernards sought a record 15th State Championship in 18 years. Carlotti, most commonly remembered for his victories at the Penn Relay Mile (4:06.3) and Fifth Avenue Mile (4:05.6) the following spring led one of the strongest programs in the history of the Eastern States entering the 1982 season. On October 24, 1982, the Carlotti led team travelled to the historic Van Cortlandt course to compete in the Eastern States Cross Country Championships. Following a dominant season the Mountaineers set their sights on staking claim as one of the top teams in the nation. In what went down as one of the great team performances in Eastern States history, Bernards scored a record low 38 points to claim the team championship. As a true indicator of team strength, Bernards averaged 12:54.42 over the 2.5 mile course with individual standout John Carlotti claiming individual victory in 12:23.6. The total team time ranked as #2 all-time according to the New York Times article on the event. At the time, Carlotti’s individual mark was 4th best all-time behind Dave Sandridge’s 12:20.9, Alberto Salazar’s 12:22.5, and Marty Liquori’s 12:23.2. Even Oregon coaching legend Bill Dellinger exclaimed that Carlotti was one of the best runners he’d seen in years. Carlotti also ran a 15:24.9 over the Van Cortlandt 5000 meter course.
After barnstorming the regular season, Bernards went on to claim the New Jersey Section Championships with a team score of 23 points. At the State Championships held on historic Holmdel County Park, Bernards dominated over the 5000 meter course utterly destroying the competition with an all-time low 19 points claiming their 16th team state championship. Winning a state championship is the goal of every cross country program, scoring less than 20 points in the process is the “holy grail” of a prep championship run. For a team which featured five sub 4:20 milers and a coaching legend, Bernards was at the top of the class of U.S. high school cross country in 1982.
4. Cincinnati Elder, Ohio
Ohio cross country has carried a legacy all its own. The home of legendary Olympian Bob Kennedy, Ohio stands as a beacon for the sport of prep cross country. In 1982 a team from Cincinnati set sail on a remarkable season. Led by Hall of Fame coach Steve Spencer the Panther's almost capped a perfect season.
In what can be called one of the great seasons in Ohio cross country history, Cincinnati Elder set the meet record at every invitational they competed that season. The only hiccup from the "perfect" season came at the Regional Championships where Coach Spencer said his team was "flat and over-confident". In that event, the Panther's suffered their only season defeat to two teams (Fairborn & Fairborn East) they had decimated all season long.
At the Fr. Rudy Invitational, the Panther's home meet, the top team from the south traveled to compete against the top Ohio team. Featuring Berry High out of Alabama, today known as Hoover High, Cincinnati established themselves as one of the top programs in the country. Defeating the South's top team, and eventual Alabama State Championship team, by over a minute in total team time; Cincinnati Elder made a national statement. Upon further reflection, there was a reason US#15 W.A. Berry, Alabama travelled to Ohio, quite possibly because Cincinnati Elder were the #1 team in the nation. However, due to the letdown at the Region Championship that national championship hope faded.
Rebounding from a Region Championship letdown, Spencer redirected the Panther's for state championship redemtion. Cincinnati Elder did not disappoint as the team stormed past all other teams, including Fairborn and Fairborn East to claim the Ohio State Championship. The first contested over 5000 meters. Lets meet the fourth ranked Cincinnati Elder Panther's.
|Cincinnati Elder Varsity Team||State Time (5000 Meters)|
|Colerain Invitational||First Place|
|Elder Invitational||First Place|
|Tiffin Carnival Invitational||First Place|
|Covington Catholic Invitational||First Place|
|Malone College Invitational||First Place|
|Fr. Rudy Invitational||First Place|
|Greater Cincinnati League Championship||First Place|
|Sectional Championship||First Place|
|Region Championship||Third Place|
|State Championship||First Place|