XC Legacy: 1988 Girls National XC Rankings

1987<<<    >>>1989


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 since to the emergence of Nike Cross Nationals three decades later, The Harrier Magazine!


In 1974 Marc Bloom released comprehensive coverage for the national cross country scene for the first time ever. Releasing detailed summaries of every state the network for prep cross country on a national scale was implemented and developed. 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 Accomplishment

1. Palos Verdes, California

Undefeated National Champions

2. Mountain View, Utah

State Champions

3. Carmel, Indiana

State Champions

4. Sunset, Oregon

State Champions

5. Mead, Washington

State Champions

6. Eisenhower, Washington

State Runner-up

7. Auburn, New York

State Champions

8. Altoona, Pennsylvania

State Champions

9. Lassiter, Georgia

State Champions

10. Lake Braddock, Virginia

State Champions

11. Beaverton, Oregon

State Runner-up

12. Lynwood, Washington

State Champions

13. Bend, Oregon

State 3rd Place

14. Agoura, California

State Runner-up

15. Tuscon Sahuaro, Arizona

State Champions




1.     Palos Verdes, California: 3-peat National Champions


Palos Verdes News Release 1/10/10


Few teams in California cross country lore carry as much historic impact as the teams from Palos Verdes in the 1980’s. For decades some of the greatest prep stars in the nation have come from the sunshine state. A state, up until 1987 did not have a unified state championship race. But it was in that inagural year that everything changed and the future became the present as teams from the CIF Nothern Championships and the CIF Southern Sectionals squared off head to head to determine a true CIF State Champion.


"1988 promised more success, and Laurie Lucas, a transfer from Colorado, increased everyone's effort. Unfortunately she was injured for the state meet, but her presence (and in a way, the absence of it in the final race) made us tougher. Three underclassmen bought into the tradition, our four-year stud Ashley Black combined with frosh Maya Muneno, and we were on our way. I can't begin to relate how spirited the competition among these girls was, and everyone dedicated themselves to contribute. With two of our girls still fighting injury, three others ran far better than their talent predicted. This truly was a gritty bunch of girls, pulling off another championship with two stars sidelined and one licking wounds." ~Joe Kelly, Head Coach


For the second season in a row Palos Verdes would go undefeated and claim the CIF State Championship in epic fashion repeating as National Champions. No team was as dominant, as well coached and won as much as the Sea Kings. Led by legendary cross country Coach Joe Kelly the Palos Verdes team was so dominant the varsity scorers would place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the prestigious Mt. Sac Invitational Team Sweepstakes. At Mt Sac, Palos Verdes ran a 94:03 total team time which was superior to their 1987 National Championship teams 94:12 total team time. So dominant they would claim the Clovis Invitational team championship with a meet record low 25 points. So commanding were the Sea Kings that they perfect scored each of their seven league teams and scored a meet record low 19 points in the Bay League Finals, their 11th in a row. It is safe to assume Palos Verdes was the class of California asserting themselves as the most preeminent team in the nation for the second season in a row. Coach Joe Kelly would go on to be awarded the California Coaches Association 1988 XC Coach of the Year award.


The Palos Verdes team website, pvcrosscountry.com carries indepth information on teams dating back into the 1960’s. Containing valuable information this website has served as a resource on the foundations of greatness for one of the elite programs of the 80’s. As published on the site for the epic 1988 season; “Once again the girls cross country teams had undefeated seasons. The varsity team won their 4th consecutive CIF title and second consecutive state championship. Captain and MVP Ashley Black said, “Being on the CIF Championship team for all four years was a memorable experience.” Captain Traci Goodrich was also a member of the varsity team all four years. Joanna Della Gatta received the most improved award, while Captain Dana Sublett won most inspirational. Sharon Sekiguchi was JV MVP and Margaret Alley and Yoko Senga both won the JV Frosh-Soph MVP award.” (pvcrosscountry.com) 


 "It always seemed like the hallmark of our program was runners exceeding in competition what they were penciled in to do on paper, people who were determined to buoy their teammates rather than to let them down. Over the years I coached, I saw this phenomenon time and time again, and I was always lifted by what these people did. Frankly, although some teams over the years gained more attention and received more accolades than others, they were all special in their own way and all left a stamp on my life as a coach." ~ Joe Kelly, Head Coach 


(Photo courtesy pvcrosscountry.com)

Palos Verdes Team Season Results


Santa Monica

1st with 15 points


1st with 15 points


1st with 15 points

Beverly Hills

1st with 15 points


1st with 15 points


1st with 15 points

Rolling Hills

1st with 15 points

Mt Sac Invitational

1st with 22 points

Clovis Invitational

1st with 25 points

Bay League Finals

1st with 19 points

CIF Finals

1st with 32 points

California State

1st with 65 points

Bay League 7-0

Overall 14-0


8.     Altoona, Pennsylvania: State Champions


Courtesy of Steve Rhodes, Altoona Area Junior HS Athletic Director

* The girls were coached by Gordon White. He retired after the 1993 cross country season and was replaced by Gary Isenberg (93-98). Gary was replaced in 1999 by current coach Tabitha (Nicolini) Quinn, a member of the 1988 US#8 squad.

* The team was undefeated PIAA District 6 champions which included a dual meet win over State College.


* The top runners of the 1988 team were:
Tracee Mills, Sr. : Ran at the University of South Florida
Tabitha Nicolini, Sr. : Ran at California University of PA for one year then St. Francis University for three.
Heather Guyer, JR. : Ran at Ashland College one year
Kim Harrity, Soph. : Later walked on and ran at Penn State for four years.