Inside The 10 Best XC And Track And Field Moments Of 2019

10. Sneaky Good: Josh Methner Doesn't Tell A Soul He's Going For The Illinois State Record For 3-Miles, Then Shockingly Accomplishes It, Surprises Record Holder

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There's a ritual that takes place every so often in Illinois as the cross country season comes to a close at Detweiller Park. 

Craig Virgin, the record holder at the famed state course since 1972, hops on to the lead vehicle to see which new high school star will take aim at his almost unbeatable 3-mile record of 13:50.60. 

More than a handful of athletes had tried to surpass it in the four-plus decades to follow -- athletes such as Chris Derrick and Lukas Verzbicas -- though at times, quite honestly, it seemed impossible. 

Controversies would emerge over the years as to whether Virgin's mark was shorter -- the starting line had changed positions by the time Derrick and Verzbicas took aim at it -- and so course re-measurements took place. But in the end, the record stood.

Just six athletes had ever broken 14 minutes on the course. 

Then 2019 came. 

By November, no new athlete had broken 14 minutes, so Virgin -- seemingly comfortable with his mark -- decided not to go in the truck. 

Then Josh Methner decided to shock onlookers. 

He was out at 4:28 at the first mile -- a blazing first mile which set him up.

He was at 9:12 (4:44) by the two-mile mark -- holding on strong for a whirlwind finish. 

And then he won in 13:49.90 (4:37), surpassing Virgin's mark by less than a second. The crowd roared as he came through the line. 

"Just give it all I got in the last mile," Methner said afterward. "I was really just waiting for a 1K to go to really make my move." 

Methner said he didn't hear the crowd until he was 20 meters from the finish. By then, however, he had one thought in his mind. 

"Just take it down," Methner said of the record. 

* Josh Methner describes his Foot Locker Nationals championship

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Of course, the record was just a host of accolades on the season for Methner, who would go on to win NXR Midwest and Foot Locker Midwest titles, then a Foot Locker Nationals championship and a runner-up finish at NXN. 

But when Methner, a Notre Dame recruit, looks back on this season, and his career ...his title in Illinois should go down as the best moment of his high school career, and no doubt one of the best stories of 2019. 

 - Cory Mull, MileSplit USA