GIRLS ALL-DECADE FIRST TEAM (TOP 7)
* From top left, clockwise (Efraimson, Tuohy, Rainsberger, Cuffe, Baxter, Lane, Rohrer)
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Aisling Cuffe (Cornwall HS, NY)
Career Timeline: 2007-2010
Highlights: The New Yorker became the first athlete since 1994 to break 17 minutes on Balboa Park's famed course, winning the Foot Locker National Championship in 16:53.00, which was sixth all-time -- this year mark was bested by Zofia Dudek. Her senior year as a whole was incredible. She won Foot Locker Northeast, the New York Federation Championships and scored a win at Great American. She broke 17 minutes twice in 2010 -- only four girls broke that mark just once during the season.
Rationale: While she was finishing her high school career in the first year of the decade, Cuffe's dominance set the stage for much more to come.
Alexa Efraimson (Camas HS, WA)
Career Timeline: 2011-2014
Highlights: Efraimson won the best Nike Cross Nationals race in the event's history, winning that incredible battle in 2013 against Baxter and Elise Cranny at the Portland Meadows course. She was fourth at NXN in 2012 and was a 3-time All-American of the race. She also won NXR Northwest in 2013 and ran 16:35 for 5K in that same year, a US No. 1 time.
Quick thought: It's impressive that Efraimson, a superb track and field athlete, was such a good cross country athlete. Her career was much better than you think -- and there's no doubt she belongs among the best in the decade.
Anna Rohrer (Mishawaka HS, IN)
Career Timeline: 2011-2014
Highlights: She never ventured toward Nike Regional races, instead focusing her efforts on Foot Locker, where she won national titles in 2012 and 2014 -- though injured forced her to miss 2013. Rohrer's career also saw her win two Foot Locker Midwest championships -- arguably the toughest region -- and 2-more Indiana state cross country championships -- in one of the hardest qualifying processes in the country. She ran a PR of 16:52 for 5K and broke 17 minutes 3-times.
Quick thought: Few were as good as Rohrer over her high school career, and she has the national titles to prove it.
Claudia Lane (Malibu HS, CA)
Career Timeline: 2015-2018
Highlights: She's the only girls athlete to win two straight Foot Locker National titles over this decade, doing so from 2016-2017, and the second to earn two titles, following in the footsteps of Rohrer. An injury prevented her from going after a third straight in 2018. Her effort of 17:03.40 was top 10 at Balboa Park until a wild girls championship race in 2019. She set a Woodward Park record at the CIF Cross Country Championships in 2017, posting a time of 16:30.30. She set a Mt. SAC 3-mile record of 15:49.00 in 2017. She was also a 2-time Foot Locker West champion and 2-time CIF state champion.
Quick thought: For a time, Lane's exploits put her right in line with Tuohy, until nagging injuries derailed her senior season. But she'll still go down as one of California's best high school runners all-time.
Katelyn Tuohy (North Rockland, NY)
Career Timeline: 2015-2019
Highlights: She won three Nike Cross Nationals titles between 2017-2019, added three more NXR New York Championships, earned two New York Federation wins, won three straight New York State Class A Championships, was a 3-time winner at the Manhattan Invitational in various divisions and ran the fastest girls cross country 5K of all-time in 2018, posting an effort of 16:06.87. She's the first girls athlete to win three NXN titles and did so consecutively -- a mark that will be hard to beat in the future.
Quick thought: She's the most dominant girls cross country athlete we've ever seen. Feel lucky if you witnessed any part of it.
Katie Rainsberger (Air Academy HS, CO)
Career Timeline: 2012-2015
Highlights: She was the 2015 Nike Cross Nationals winner and was sixth at the event in back-to-back years from 2012-2013. She won two Colorado state championships -- she's fourth all-time on the old Norris Penrose Event Center course and second all-time on the new course. She also qualified for the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships as a junior and ran a 5K best of 16:23.40 -- which was a national all-time best before Tuohy came along and broke it.
Quick thought: While she won just one NXN title, she was a dominant force in Colorado over her career. She may have started a trend of athletes charging to beat records year-over-year.
Sarah Baxter (Simi Valley HS, CA)
Career Timeline: 2010-2013
Highlights: Before Lane, there was Baxter. She began the decade on a tear, winning two Nike Cross Nationals titles in 2011-2012. Arguably NXN's best race ever, in 2013, produced a second-place finish by Baxter in 2013. She was a four-time CIF champion and held the Woodwark Park record before Lane went on to top it, running 16:40.00 in 2012. She broke 17 minutes for 5K a total of four times -- not an easy feat in this early period of the 2010s.
Quick thought: She may in fact be California's GOAT. Four state titles put her on a level no one else has achieved in the state.
Why: You cannot argue this. While the modern Nike Cross Nationals is changing -- the past two years have seen Fayetteville-Manlius post its worst two finishes at the event overall, and other teams are catching up -- there's no doubt the Hornets have been the class of the decade.
F-M won seven titles over that span, dominating the national-title race year-over-year. In total, F-M has 12 national titles, a mark that spurred writer Marc Bloom to write a book about head coach Bill Aris and his program called 'Amazing Racers.' In 2010, the Hornets outscored the second-place team by 77 points. In 2012, by 144. In 2014, by 79. In 2015, by 89 and in 2016, by 140.
Aris' teams adapted to Portland and NXN unlike any in history. And his team's dominance wasn't just a credit to their ability to win on race day -- it was a sign that Aris was a coach in a league of his own. More than national dominance, the Hornets have been the class of New York for years, posting state championship after state championship.
Fayetteville's point totals over the years in the girls national championship race:
KATELYN TUOHY, NORTH ROCKLAND
Why: This decade or otherwise, she's the GOAT.