Boys No. 1: St. Charles East (IL)
- - -
Club Name: Saints XC Club
Region: NXR Midwest
Place at Regional: 3rd, 154 points -- 26 point difference from 2nd
The Skinny: This one is easy. While St. Charles East had a disastrous performance at NXR Midwest, finishing third, it was nearly perfect elsewhere, winning every single major meet it performed in throughout 2019. That included wins at the Richard Spring Invitational on Sept. 21, the Peoria Invitational on Oct. 5, the Dukane Conference Championships on Oct. 19, two more at regionals and sectionals, and another at Illinois' Class 3A Championships on Nov. 9. The Illinois-squad is the most deserving of the at-large candidates.
Boys No. 2: Dakota Ridge (CO)
- - -
Club Name: Hogback XC
Region: NXR Southwest
Place at Regional: 3rd, 173 points -- 42 point difference from 2nd
The Skinny: There was an unmistakable strength to the final weeks of the Eagles' season, with wins at their Jefferson County League Championship, their CHSAA Class 5A-2 Region Championship, and, most of all, a state title in the Class 5A classification, where Dakota Ridge put down a resounding win over NXR Southwest runner-up Mountain Vista. That strength-of-schedule was one reason why Dakota Ridge was among the at-large selections. And if history is of any note, Dakota Ridge was third overall at NXN in 2018, too.
Boys No. 3: El Paso Eastwood (TX)
- - -
Club Name: Eastwood RC
Region: NXR South
Place at Regional: 3rd, 137 points -- 11 point difference from 2nd
The Skinny: This is a clear case of end-of-season results. While El Paso Eastwood very clearly struggled at both the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic (6th) and the Desert Twilight Invitational (7th), there was no denying how well this team ran at the UIL Class 5A Championships, scoring a dominating win over Grapevine by nearly 60 points (51-110) and winning the overall Texas state merge. Beyond that performance, Eastwood was just 11 points back from two of Texas' top teams of the season, Southlake Carroll and The Woodlands, at NXR South.
Boys No. 4: Dana Hills
- - -
Club Name: Dana Hills XC
Region: California (CIF)
Place at Regional: 3rd in merge
The Skinny: The squad beat a 'B' squad Great Oak at its own Dana Hills Invitational in September, added two more wins at the Carmel and Riverside Invitationals, and then swept its South Coast League Finals and finished second to Newbury Park at the CIF State Cross Country Championships, scoring 88 points.
- - -