XC Legacy: 1980 National XC Rankings

1979<<<    >>>1981


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 




Season Accomplishments


Bloomington North, Indiana (Charlie Warthan)

Undefeated National Champions


York, Illinois (Joe Newton)

State AAA Champions


Kent Roosevelt, Ohio

State Champions


Largo, Florida

State 4A Champions


Astronaut, Florida

State 3A Champions


Murray, Utah

State Champions


Carmel, Indiana

State Runner-up


Palatine, Illinois

State AAA Runner-up


Tuba City, Arizona

State AAAA Champions


Ferris, Washington

State AAA Champions


Christian Brothers Academy, New Jersey

New Jersey Meet of Champions


Leto, Florida

State 4A Champions


Costa Mesa, California

Mt. SAC Team Champions


Valhalla, California

Mt. SAC Team Champions


Pocatello, Idaho

State Class A Champions


1. Bloomington North, Indiana: National Champions


The home of U.S. distance legend Rudy Chapa, Indiana hosts the nations longest cross country tradition; hosting a one division state cross country meet. Entering the 1980 season Carmel Indiana had won four (4) straight IHSAA State XC Championships.


This would also be the first year Indiana athletes would race over a legitimate 5000 meter course rather than the 2.5 mile course from years past. Regrouping with a crew of five runners all under 16 minutes for 5000m, Coach Chuck Koeppen had Carmel primed for title number five (5). But what a suprise would lay ahead for Carmel as rival Coach Charlie Warthan prepared his Bloomington North team for an epic showdown.


What Carmel did not know was that Bloomington North was set on a collision course with the defending state champions. After both teams claimed team victories at their respective Sectional, Regional, and Semi-State Championships Carmel and Bloomington North travelled to South Grove Golf Course for the much anticipated State final.


At the state xc championships Bloomington North annihilated the field with an impressive 34-149 point showing over defending state champion Carmel. Whats more impressive was the varsity time spread. Featuring a slew of nationally notable stars including team leader Marty Bassett and Jeff Grove a new era had begun in Indiana. Bassett and Grove, more commonly associated as 1981 Kinney National finalists with Bassett claiming the 1981 individual state crown. But in 1980, the Bloomington North squad was simply phenominal running as one of the first true pack mentallity teams often running a 20 second spread through the season. The Bloomington North team averaged 15:13 over the state 5000 meter course, truly an impressive feat in any year.


Sporting a 10 second spread from the 1-4 runner and a 32 second spread from 1-5 the Bloomington North team featured 6 sub 16 minute 5000 Meter runners. While York High likes to claim the 1980 title based on track times; what is clear is that the team depth and 1-5 spread of Bloomington North over a legitimate 5000 Meter xc course is superior. As a cross country team, Bloomington North simply was the best. Lets meet the 1980 National Championship team.  


1980 Bloomington North Indiana State Results

Athlete Name/place

State Time (5000M)

Marty Bassett - 5th Place


Keith Sharpless - 6th Place


Jeff Grove - 8th Place


David Johnloz - 13th Place


Chris Crewell - 33rd Place


David Weigand


Mark Sharpless


2. York, Elmhurst, Illinois

Its hard to argue against the dominance of the Newton era teams however, there is room for debate. Such as the layout of the Illinois State XC Course which features arguably the fastest 3-mile layout in the nation with downhill and flat features. While the times in Illinois are often fast they do not coorelate to 3-mile courses across the nation. Let alone the Bloomington North's team performance over 5000 meters at the Indiana State Championships. Make no mistake about it, Illinois is a competitive and nationally challenging state with their state meet the most anticipated and prestigious state championship event in Illinois.


York High narrowly defeated a tough Palatine team at the Illinois State XC Championships. On the course that Craig Virgin ran his epic 13:50 (3-miles) in 1972 the men from Elmhurst came through once more for Coach Joe Newton as the long green line raced back to Elmhurst with another state trophy.



1980 York Illinois State Results

Athlete Name/place

State Time (3-miles)

Rich Seyferlich - 6th Place


Rick Shroer - 12th Place


Dale Madsen - 22nd Place


Rex Armstrong - 44th Place


Al Taira - 50th Place


Doug Shroer - 79th Place


Mark Jerger - 165th Place