MileSplit's Top 21 Boys XC Athletes Of The Past Decade


(Listed Alphabetically)

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Casey Clinger (American Fork, UT)

Career Timeline: 2013-2016

Highlights: Casey Clinger was a back-to-back Nike Cross Nationals champion. He's the only athlete to win the meet twice. In 2014, his first year attending NXN, Clinger was an All-American, finishing eighth. In 2015 and 2016, when he was the eventual national champion, he was also the Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Regional Champion. In the state of Utah, he won two Class 5A state cross country championship in 2015 and 2016 while placing runner up in 2014 and 15th in 2013.

Rationale: He's the only male athlete to ever win two Nike Cross National titles.  

    Drew Hunter (Loudoun Valley, VA) 

    Career Timeline2012-2015

    Highlights: He was the 2015 Foot Locker National Champion and had the third-fastest time of the decade (14:55.70). The year before he finished fourth in 15:14.00. In both 2014 and 2015, he was the Foot Locker South Regional champion. In the state of Virginia, he won three individual state titles. 

    Rationale: National champion who ran one of the fastest times of the decade on the Balboa Park Course. 

      Edward Cheserek (St. Benedict's Prep, NJ)

      Career Timeline2009-2012

      Highlights: Cheserek only qualified for Nike Cross Nationals once over his high school career, but he made the most of it by placing second behind Sandburg High School's (IL) Lukas Verzbicas in 2010. That same year he was the runner up at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional. He qualified for Foot Locker Nationals in both 2011 and 2012, winning the Foot Locker Nationals Northeast Region meet each time. He then went on to win the national meet in both years he attended (2011 -2012). He is also the Manhattan HS Invitational 4K Course Record Holder with his 11:55.39 performance from 2011. 

      RationaleEdward Cheserek not only qualified for both nationals meets but won Foot Locker twice and placed runner up at Nike Cross Nationals the year he raced. 

      Futsum Zienasellassie (North Central High School (Indianapolis), IN)

      Career Timeline: 2008-2011

      HighlightsFutsum Zienasellassie qualified for Foot Locker Nationals three years in a row and finished as an All-American all three years (2nd in 2011, 2nd in 2010, 7th in 2008). He only qualified for Nike Cross Nationals once in 2011, but was the NXN champion that same year. Zienasellassie is also a three-time Indiana State Cross Country Champion.

      Rationale: He has two runner-up Foot Locker finishes and an NXN win. 

        Grant Fisher (Grand Blanc, MI) 

        Career Timeline2011-2014

        Highlights: Fisher was undefeated on grass for two of his four high school seasons. That includes wins at the Foot Locker Midwest in 2013 and 2014. He was also the Foot Locker National Champion those same years. He has the seventh-fastest time of the decade on the Balboa Park course with his 15:03.00 from his 2014 victory. 

          Lukas Verzbicas (Sandburg High School, IL)

          Career Timeline2008-2011

          HighlightsLukas Verzbicas is the only male athlete to win both NXN and Foot Locker in the same year (2010). He was undefeated on grass his senior year. He also won Foot Locker the year before in 2009. He won the Foot Locker Midwest Region in 2009 and 2010 and the Nike Midwest Region in 2001. He was a two-time Illinois state champion. 

          Rationale: The only athlete to win both NXN and Foot Locker in the same year. 

          Nico Young (Newbury Park, CA) 

          Career Timeline: 2016-2019

          Highlights: Nico Young had an outstanding senior season, setting course records on almost every course he ran, including his 13:39.70 at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, which is the fastest ever high school boys 3-mile cross country time. He was a two-time Nike Cross Nationals All-American (4th 2018), including his win in 2019 when he set a course record in 14:52.30. He was also a two-time CIF State Cross Country Championships (2018-2019).

          Rationale: The number of course records and fast times throughout his senior year, as well as his win at NXN, should speak to his resume. 


          Why: This was a close battle between several of the top teams, including Great Oak (CA), Arcadia (CA), and Loudoun Valley (VA). Ultimately, the decision came down to the Hornets because of their constant appearance at Nike Cross Nationals.

          When looking at Great Oak and Arcadia, both programs have been competing on the national level for half of the decade -- Arcadia in the first half and Great Oak in the second half. Loudoun Valley has only been to nationals three times, though in two of their three trips they won national titles both by the lowest scores ever at NXN. 

          But when looking at FM, its the program over the whole decade which stands out. The Hornets have been to nationals all 10 years and finished in the top five in five meets over the decade, including a win in 2014 and two runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2017.  Take a look at their finishes for each of the past ten years below. 

          2019: 11

          2018: 5

          2017: 2

          2016: 19

          2015: 21

          2014: 1

          2013: 4

          2012: 16

          2011: 12

          2010: 2


          Why: He's the only guy to win Foot Locker and NXN in the same year.