This piece names seven distance runners each to three all-decade Boys teams: runners 1-7 in the 1st, 8-14 in the 2nd and 15-21 in the 3rd (however they are presented in alphabetical order). Only their
accomplishments during their high school careers were considered for comparison on this list.
Preference is given to runners who have multiple state titles, and the quality of the titles and their times
are considered. Their influence on the IL distance running scene is also considered.
Determining the three all-decade teams for boys was incredibly difficult since resumes are so different
from individual to individual, and many great pieces of success that are impossible to compare mark the
careers of each runner. In particular, leaving off a number of deserving runners from the third team was
an impossible decision. The rationale and notables for each runner are listed with his name.
All 1st Team
(Fithian [Oakwood]) (Class of 2016) --
Running in 1A, Davis won three consecutive triple crowns (XC, 3200, 1600) and produced a historic solo
effort to break 14:00 at Detweiller his senior year. Davis also won NXN Midwest and ran at both NXN
and Footlocker national meets. Davis currently competes for Illinois.
Jacobs bounced back from a loss to Danny Kilrea at state to win the Footlocker National Championship. He is a 1600
state champion and participated on Sandburg's state record 4x800 team. Jacobs also ran the sixth-fastest ever Detweiller time with a 13:57.5 at Peoria Central in 2017. Jacobs currently runs for Notre
-- Chicago (Saint Ignatius) (class of 2013)
Keelan ran the first of two triple crowns in the 2010s and ran the 12th fastest state time (14:05) after
not qualifying his junior year. Keelan's state double included an 8:57 3200m, followed by a 4:12 1600m just
45 minutes after the conclusion of the first race. He finished 26th at NXN in 2012 and ran the second-fastest 3200 by an Illinois runner in the 2010s (8:50.74). Keelan attended Stanford.
Kilrea was half of the epic Jacobs/Kilrea rivalry in 2017 and won XC state and the 3200 state title.
Kilrea's 14:08 is tied for 15th fastest in Detweiller history and followed this with a third-place finish at
Footlocker. Kilrea joined forces with Jacobs to compete for Notre Dame.
Knudsen dominated a deep state meet in 2017 to win in 14:02, 10th fastest. This made Soren and father,
Jim (1981), the first-ever father-son duo to win the cross country state in Illinois. Knudsen then went on to
win the 2nd triple crown in the decade in 3A, after Keelan. Knudsen currently runs for the University of
Methner is the all-time Detweiller record holder, a three-time state champ and Footlocker national
champ. His track times are not the most impressive on the list, but he holds the single greatest
performance in IL history as well as a national championship. Methner will run for Notre Dame next
Verzbicas is a 2-time XC state champ 2x Footlocker national champ, NXN national champ, national
record holder in the indoor 2-mile and 5k, and 5th high schooler even to break 4 minutes in the mile. He
is the only male high schooler in history to win both NXN and Footlocker in the same year. Verzbicas was
largely absent from the IL circuit during his career since he held a dual focus on running and triathlon,
and graduated only in three years. However, his greatness is not disputable.
Jack Aho -- Grayslake (Central) -- (class of 2017)
Aho is a 2-time 2A XC state champ and is tied for #20 all-time at Detweiller in 14:12. He qualified for NXN
twice and finished All-American in both NXN and Footlocker in 2016. Aho was runner-up in the 3200 in
3A twice, first to Jared Borowsky and then to Knudsen. Aho runs for Michigan.
Clevenger, running in 2A, was a five-time state champ and won the 2A triple crown in 2011-12.
Clevenger was undefeated during his junior and senior cross seasons in Illinois and qualified individually
for both Nike and Footlocker in 2011. He competed for Notre Dame and did a fifth year at Georgetown.
Driggs is a double state champ and Footlocker All-American. If not for Verzbicas, Driggs would have a
triple crown his senior year. Driggs finished 3rd in state his junior year and then 2nd behind Verzbicas in
2010, in 14:16 which was #20 all-time at the time. Driggs ran for North Carolina and then Illinois.
Nykaza is a 5-time state champ and won the 1A triple crown in 2012-13, and is a 2-time Footlocker
finalist. Nykaza held the 1A state meet record in cross country before Jon Davis broke it. Notable from Nykaza's
career was his individual entry into a 4x800 heat at the Mustang Relays when he ran 9:14.37 on the
track simultaneously with a 4x800 relay race. Nykaza ran for Florida State.
Perrier is a 2-time state champion (XC, 3200) as well as 31st on the all-time Detweiller list. Perrier
qualified for Footlocker twice and ran for Stanford and later Vanderbilt University.
Reiser is the 2014 XC state champ and 2-time 3200 state winner. He holds the fastest 3200 run by an
Illinois runner since 2010 (8:49.40 at the Fox Valley Conference meet). Reiser separated himself in a
rivalry with Zach Dale with these titles and two All-American finishes in cross country in 2014. Reiser runs for the University of Illinois.
-- Oak Park (River Forest) (class of 2012)
Schrobilgen won just one state title (3200 in 2012) but was runner-up in two other races and was an NXN
and a Footlocker qualifier. Schrobilgen ran a 3200 best of 8:57 in a solo effort at the OPRF sectional
meet. Schrobilgen continued on to run for Wisconsin.
All 3rd Team
Kern has the fastest state XC time for a freshman in state history (14:35). He was runner-up as a
sophomore in cross country in 2015, qualified for NXN as an individual that year, and was a six-time all-stater,
despite never winning a state race. Kern now runs for Mizzou.
Later had a dominant 2011-2012 campaign, winning the XC state title and the 1600m title in 4:10. Later
was also the first Illinois athlete (aside from Verzbicas) to break 9:00 in the 3200m in the decade (8:55.61
at Arcadia in 2012). Later competed at Cal-Berkeley.
Pereira is another athlete who never broke through for a state title but was a consistent all-state
presence, even early in his career. He qualified for NXN once and Footlocker twice. Pereira now runs for
Riba was the 2012 NXN Midwest champ and runner-up in the 2011 XC state meet and 2013 3200 final.
Along with Perrier, Riba was half of the greatest 1-2 performance in state meet history (both ran 14:15
in 2012). Riba ran for Texas A&M.
Torpy was the 2016 state champ in the 1600 and the third leg of the all-time 4x800 relay record. Sean
also finished 3rd in the 2015 state meet. Sean and his brother Chris compete for Miami (OH).
Torpy was the 2016 state champ in the 800 and used an epic anchor leg to boost Sandburg to the all-time 4x800 record, despite a sturdy challenge from OPRF. Chris and his brother Sean compete for Miami
John Wold -- Glen Ellyn (Glenbard South) (class of 2014)
Back to back 2A XC state champ in 2012/2013 and 800m state champ in 2014. Despite struggling with
health and personal issues, Wold's three state titles make him one possibly the most underrated talent
of the decade. Despite receiving multiple offers from top programs, Wold did not run in college.
Tommy Brady (Maine South), William Bund (Lake Forest), Christopher Collet (Seneca), Tyler Cushing
(Bolingbrook), Zach Dale (Conant), Brian Griffith (Lake Zurich), Brayden Hamblen (Rock Falls), Clayton Mendez (Chicago Whitney Young), Kevin Salvano (Buffalo Grove), Steve Schroeder (Monticello), Quentin Shaffer