Foot Locker Cross Country
Nov 25 - Dec 9, 2006
a DyeStat featured meet
2006 Foot Locker Favorites
National Boys - Pre-Season
We have a Big Four -- Tebo, Jager, Cybulski, and Forys
National Top 30 - Bios
|Matt Tebo NM
|Evan Jager IL
|Michael Cybulski CA
|Craig Forys NJ
by Steve (steveu) Underwood
Call them the big four if you want to, or don’t, but the performances of the leaders of the Class of 2007 on the track this season has made the 2006 Cross-Country season perhaps the most-anticipated since 2000. That was the fall when Dathan Ritzenhein, Alan Webb, and Ryan Hall were making the headlines.
The top harriers of 2006 may not have quite those type of credentials, but they’re not far off – and it’s a deep group.
Eldorado NM sr. Matt Tebo is the No. 3 returnee from last fall’s Foot Locker National Finals, but with his runner-up finishes at the NON 2M and Arcadia 3200, including an 8:47.29y in the former, he is given the top spot starting the harrier campaign. After taking 3rd in the mass finish at FL West, Tebo was 16th in San Diego in 2005, ranking behind fellow non-seniors Evan Jager (9th) and De’Sean Turner (15th).
But he made significant strides early in the spring to take 2nd at Arcadia with a 8:52.23 3200 to AJ Acosta’s 8:51.30, beating the likes of Ben Sitler, the Mercados, and many more. That held up as the #2 time in the nation going into NON, and he confirmed his status by finishing runner-up behind AJ again. This time, though, the time was another eight seconds faster (taking in conversion), an 8:47.29 is the fifth-best ever by a junior, trailing only Ritz, Eric Hulst, Chris Solinsky, and Brent Steiner.
Supporters of Jager, an Algonquin Jacobs IL sr, will argue for his spot atop the pre-season list, and their argument is sound. Jager’s 9th at FL Midwest was a mild surprise; he was certainly a solid contender to make it. But his 9th-place finish in San Diego was revelatory, as he defeated seven of the eight who were ahead of him in Kenosha.
Then Jager spent the spring confirming that he was one of the country’s best runners and one with fine range. From indoor on, he was consistently in the low 4:10s, then eventually hitting 4:08.15y at the Midwest Distance Gala. He hit low 1:50s relay legs for what eventually became a 7:40.02 Jacobs squad, but also soloed an 8:57.73 3200 mid-season.
Finally, he was in the NON 2-mile with Acosta, Tebo, and the rest and Tebo’s sneaky quick finishing kick got him in the last 200. Jager still crushed his PR with an 8:50.42 in third. As if already looking ahead to future battles and bragging rights, Jager made sure he got the measure of his new rival the next day in the NON mile, even though it was the second-to-fastest heat for two tired runners.
Analyzing a potential Tebo-Jager showdown in San Diego, one can clearly define key strengths each runner has shown to date. His build and recent 30:09 10k would suggest that Tebo has the greater endurance of the two. Jager, on the other hand, clearly is the faster miler and 800 runner. But if it comes down to a kick in the final 100? Tebo’s sprint at the end has served him well in every major track race this year.
But those two are only half of the fearsome foursome who arguably lead the nation this fall. Injuries off and on helped thwart Royal CA sr Michael Cybulski from perhaps reaching the heights which he was capable of last fall. He was healthier in the spring and produced a dazzling series of sub-9 deuces – the best such series, depth-wise, in the country – including his triumphant defense of his CIF title in the 3200.
Cybulski’s fastest race, unfortunately, was also his most disappointing – the 8:53y that put him behind Acosta, Tebo, Jager and two others at NON. But there’s no doubt the senior belongs in the short list at the very top.
That he’ll be as fresh on the line San Diego as his rivals is unlikely, however. His Royal squad is excepted to lead the Golden State this fall, and that would mean an NTN bid and a race in Portland the previous week. If he can overcome the likely slop, he will win and get a bid, but as many can attest, it’s a tough double.
Then there’s the talented Craig Forys. No top harrier contender right now has turned a 1600 as fast as the Colts Neck NJ sr., even if his best results were 4:05 indoor relay carries. He also had a 4:09.77y in a race with elites indoors and the runner-up spot in the NIN deuce.
Outdoors was a mixed bag for Forys – like the loss in the Penn 3k and the 6th in the NON mile. But there was also the 8:56.14 at NJ MOC, when he looked like he could have beaten almost anyone in the country. The story was similar last fall, with mostly good races, but then the 28th at FL NE. Forys at his best can win it all, but will we see him at his best when it really counts?
After that group, is there anyone else who could win it all in San Diego? It’s hard to imagine someone else besides that big four carrying the day, but the most talented of the rest of the runners is probably last fall’s FL Northeast runner-up, Sintayehu Taye. The world really noticed Sinta when he ran 4:09/9:01 in the Maine state meet as a freshman. Then came a transfer to Cushing Academy MA and a light fall schedule, at least in terms of prep competition. But then older brother Ayalew and Sinta went 1-2 in FL Northeast and looked like potential top-5 candidates in San Diego.
But in the California heat, they were just 17th and 23rd. Both were solid, then, indoors, with Ayalew winning the NIN mile, but then Sinta was injured and missed outdoor. Given his results in the last year, except for FL NE, it’s hard to rank him in the top ten. Plus, he has a way to go before he’s at the top of his form again. There’s no question, though, that if the junior returns to top form he could beat almost any current prep on a given day.
What you have left, then, are six runners ranked between Forys and Taye that are what they are – very solid top ten performers. But it’s hard to imagine any of them beating ALL of the guys ranked ahead of them. They include:
- McEachern GA sr Ben Hubers continued to progress this past spring with 4:08/8:57 and 3rd at NON. Although he had a few losses early on, he hit the big numbers later in his campaign. At NON, he mowed down some bigger names in getting the bronze. Still, he’s a few steps back of the ultra elite.
- Fayetteville-Manlius NY sr Tommy Greuenwald was a big cog last fall for the tough NTN team, but hardly dominant. Once he hit that 9:06 indoors, though, things started to shift. While his best efforts were on relays, in and out, he still ran 8:59 and 9:01 outdoors. FM should still be an NTN contender, but it’s far from the near-lock it was last year. TG could be fresh in San Diego, and if he continues to progress from track, look out.
- Warren Central IN sr De’Sean Turner lets his feet do the talking for him. The quiet leader took his squad to Portland last fall, then returned with a very solid showing at Foot Locker. Few have done the double better. His track season was kind of quiet in terms of 4:10/9:00 fireworks … that is until his state meet where he lost a tough battle to Andy Weatherford but still hit 4:08.78. Like Hubers, he’s a step away from the very best.
- Xaverian MA sr Mark Amirault is a case of someone who last fall was a very solid (and victorious) runner in-state, but hardly mentioned among FL NE contenders. Then he started running a few mid-, then low-4:10s indoors, then followed it up with a 9:01y late in the outdoor season. That earned him an NON bid, and indeed he proved he was for real with his 8:59. Not quite good for the very top group, but it would be scary if he could make another improvement this fall.
- Guilderland NY sr Brian Rhodes-Devey is hard to peg and has had his struggles with illness and injury. His cross season in 2005 was very strong, but seemed to peak with the 2A State race, but he still got into San Diego well, even if he didn’t set the world on fire there. Then all winter and spring, he had his ups and downs. The latter included just a 4:15 at NON, but the former included a stunning 4:08 relay carry at Penn. No question BRD has talent and better 800 speed than any major XC contender. If it all comes together, he could be right there, too.
- The first junior is Southlake TX jr Colby Lowe, the only soph to make it to San Diego last fall. There, he bolted into the lead early, but got swallowed up by almost ¾ of the field. Still, he was respectable and he undoubtedly is maturing, as his 5A State meet 3200 win in 9:05 attested to. Right now, Lowe arguably heads the Class of 2008.
- First, however, the Class of 2007 has a lot to say.
Foot Locker Favorites - National Boys Top 30 - Pre-Season
|Last Year: Finals/Reg.
1. Matt Tebo, 2007, Eldorado HS, NM
||Two of best 2M/32s ever for jr., plus kick, make him the favorite.
|2. Evan Jager, 2007, Algonquin Jacobs HS, IL
||Could be "#1A"; has strong 800/mile speed and intense desire to win.
|3. Michael Cybulski, 2007, Royal HS, CA
||Might have NTN date again; had more quality deuces in 06 than anyone
|4. Craig Forys, 2007, Colts Neck HS, NJ
||Probably best miler and as talented as anyone; Should have made it last year;
|5. Ben Hubers, 2007, McEachern HS, GA
||Steady, consisent runner with good combo speed and endurance
|6. Tommy Greuenwald, 2007, Fayetteville-Manlius, NY
More likely to compete here (fresh) this year; Hasn't really shown talent in CC yet
|7. De'Sean Turner, 2007, Warren Central HS, IN
||Did NTN/FL double last year and well; Solid, stoic, great team leader
|8. Mark Amirault, 2007, Xaverian HS, MA
||Really improved during track to post 9:01y and 8:59y and climb the list
|9. Brian Rhodes-Devey, 2007, Guilderland HS, NY
||"BRD" has best 800 speed in top 10; must stay healthy and consistent
|10. Colby Lowe, 2008, Southlake Carroll HS, TX
||1st Jr. on list; Learning to rein in cannonshot start; definite endurance runner
|11. Sintayehu Taye, 2008, Cushing Acad., MA
||Has talent to win it all, but must heal from injury and learn to run in heat
|12. Chad Hall, 2007, Big Bear HS, CA
||Making his own name; lots of fast track times; needs big race success
|13. Paul Springer, 2007, Unionville HS, PA
||Another of the spring's real revelations, ran 9:01 in bad conditions
|14. Duncan Phillips, 2007, A&M Consolidated HS, TX
||Best as a miler - 4:10 as soph, back problems this spring; if healthy, watch out
|15. Mikel Thomas, 2007, Clovis HS, CA
||10th in FL West as soph, just 31st last year, but then 8:59 in spring
|16. Matt Centrowitz, 2007, Broadneck HS, MD
||Big breakthrough was 8:20 win at Penn for son of all-time great US star
|17. Steve Murdock, 2007, Shenendehowa HS, NY
||THE transfer story now; Super talent injured mostly in spring, but 9:10i
|18. Rob Finnerty, 2008, Burnsville HS, MN
||9:06 stunner as frosh; injury-plagued fall 05, but back in 9:07y form in spring
|19. Dan Jackson, 2007, Dexter HS, MI
||Has quietly worked way up in super program; has some big race experience now
|20. Kevin Havel, 2008, Hersey HS, IL
||With 06 Class gone, should be able to carry Illifornia banner with Jager
|21. Joey Bywater, 2008, Lake Stevens HS, WA
||Rocked the NW with 9:03 at state as a soph; needs big meet XC experience
|22. Andy Weatherford, 2007, Greencastle HS, IN
||One of better milers in XC, beat Turner in state thriller in 4;08
|23. Spencer Knight, 2007, La Sierra HS, CA
||Another fast miler with lots of good track marks and good XC experience
|24. Richard Medina, 2007, Grand Junction HS, CO
||Got some big meet experience with a respectable showing at GWI 3200
|25. Steven Weeks, 2007, Arvada HS, CO
||Good combo of strength (15:23 5k at USATF JOs), speed (4:20 1600)
|26. Matt Frerker, 2007, Skyline HS, WA
||Has made jump from youth star to prep elite with 9:05 3200 last spring
|27. Jay Heller, 2007, Walton HS, GA
||Has beaten Hubers, so he knows what the big time is like; getting close
|28. Kevin Schwab, 2007, Mustang HS, OK
||Big times on suspect courses as soph; 15:00 at NON shows he's arrived.
|29. Elliott Heath, 2007, Winona HS, MN
||Younger bro of FL finalist Garrett; won 2A state last fall, only 71st at FL MW, but came back this spring for 9:05
|30. Dylan Knight , 2007, La Sierra HS, CA
||Missed a lot of 05 XC with injury, came back with great times last spring with twin bro Spencer
1. Matthew Tebo, 2007, Eldorado HS, Albuquerque NM
2006 Track: 2nd NON 8:47.29y, 2nd Arcadia 8:52.23, 4:17.95 17th NON (7th Sect. 2), 1st GSW 1500 4:01.33(A), 5A State(A) 9:07.38-1st/4.18.29-1st, 3rd NIN 9:10.02y
2005 CC: 16th FL Finals 15:32, 3rd FL West 15:42, 15:40(A) 1st 5A State, 15:21(A) 1st Albu. City, 15:37(A) 1st Albu. Acad.
2005 Track: 4th GWI 9:04.93
2004 CC: 16th FLW 16:21
2. Evan Jager, 2007, Jacobs HS, Algonquin IL
2006 Track: 3rd NON 8:50.42y, 4:08.15y 1st MW Dist Gala, 8:57.73 1st Lisle Inv, 4:11.22 1st 2A State, 9th NON 4:13.29y (2nd in heat), 4:14.83i 1st IPTT Classic
2005 CC: 9th FL Finals 15:18, 9th FL Midwest 15:16, 3rd State 14:23 (3M)
2005 Track: 3rd 2A State 9:19.32
2004 CC: 66th FLMW 16:38
3. Michael Cybulski, 2007, Royal HS, CA
2006 Track: 6th NON 8:53.85y, 1st CIF 8:53.77, 8:52.24 1st SouSectMasters, 8:55.35 1st SouSectD1, 4:10.47 1st Marmonte League, 7th Arcadia 4:16.88y
2005 CC: 41st NTN 17:27, DNC FLW, 3rd D1 State 15:22, 4th MtSAC D1 SS 14:53 (3M), 1st Clovis 15:20, 5th Stanford (3rd American) 15:31
2005 Track: 1st CIF 9:02.57, 2nd Arcadia (seeded) 9:13.44y
2004 CC: DNC FLW
4. Craig Forys, 2007, Colts Neck HS, NJ
2006 Track: 6th NON 4:11.30y, 8:56.14 1st NJ MOC, 2nd Penn 3k 8:21.82, 2nd NIN 8:59.98yi, two indoor 4:05 relay legs, Grp3 9:14.85-1st/4:15.58-1st, 4:09.77i NJ Arm Inv-O, 9:15.11i 1st NJ MOC
2005 CC: 28th FL Northeast 16:09, 1st NJ MOC 15:34, 1st Grp3 15:55, 2nd Manhattan ‘B’ (7th overall) 12:48 (2.5M)
2005 Track: 9:07.38y 10th NON, 4:11.27 1st NJ MOC, 9:11.49 1st NJ Group
2004 CC: DNC FLNE
5. Ben Hubers, 2007, McEachern HS, Marietta GA
2006 Track: 3rd NON 4:09.76y, 8:57.33 1st Music City, 5A State 9:05.89-1st/4:12.97-1st, 4:08.65 1st Region, 3rd Taco Bell 4:17.82y
2005 CC: 18th FL Finals 15:34, 4th FL South 14:55, 1st 5A State 15:29, 1st Jesse Owens 15:20, 1st Tenn. Classic 14:57 (3M)
2005 Track: 1st 5A State 9:21.21, 1st Cobb Champs 4:18.55
2004 CC: 22nd FLS 15:32
6. Tommy Gruenewald, 2007, Fayetteville-Manlius, NY
2006 Track: 9:01.75 1st State, 8:59.32 1st New Hartford, 8th NIN 9:18.10yi, 9:13.56 1st Section, 9:06.27i 1st Section, (two relay legs of 4:12)
2005 CC: 4th NTN 16:48, DNC FL NE, 5th Feds 16:20, 7th AA State 15:39, 6th Manhattan ‘C’ 12:56
2004 CC: 36th FL Finals 16:33, 9th NTN 16:17, 6th Feds 16:10
7. De’Sean Turner, 2007, Warren Central HS, Indianapolis IN
2006 Track: 4:08.78 2nd State, 4:15.97 Region, 11th USATF Jr. 1500 3:59.00
2005 CC: 15th FL Finals 15:29, 6th NTN 16:54, 10th FL Midwest 15:18, 2nd State 15:26, 2nd Semi-state 15:07, 1st Culver 15:27, 1st Region 15:13
2005 Track: 6th State 4:17.23, 9th State 9:24.21 (PR 9:23.32)
2004 CC: DNC FLMW
8. Mark Amirault, 2007, Xaverian HS, Westwood, MA
2006 Track: 9th NON 8:59.82y, 9:01.64y 1st Hartford Inv, 1st State 9:14.07y, 4:11.64 1st MIAA State, 4:15.68i 2nd Dartmouth
2005 CC: DNC FL NE, 1st MIAA State 15:59, 1st MIAA East D1 16:10
9. Brian Rhodes-Devey, 2007, Guilderland HS, Slingerlands, NY
2006 Track: 15th NON 4:15.73y (8th Sect. 3), 4:10.66 1st Sub. Council, 4:11.40 2nd State, 4:13.22y 1st Eddy Meet, 4:16.14 1st Section, 8:31.41i 3k 1st Yale, 6th Millrose 4:19.45y, 1st Hispanic Games 4:13.19y.
2005 CC: 25th FL Finals 15:44, 6th FL Northeast 15:36, 1st Feds 15:57, 1st AA State 15:26, 1st Manhattan ‘A’ (5th overall) 12:44 (2.5M), 1st Burnt Hills 15:13, 3rd McQuaid (seeded Lg.) 15:08, 2nd Sub. Council 14:54 (3M)
2005 Track: 1st Eddy 4:13.49y, 3rd State 1:52.25, 1st Ballston Spa 9:16.93
2004 CC: DNC FLNE
10. Colby Lowe, 2008, Southlake Carroll HS, Southlake, TX
2006 Track: 5A State 9:05.17-1st/4:15.32-3rd, 4:13.72 1st District, Region 9:19.39-1st/4:16.13-1st, 9:10.62 1st Jesuit-Sheaner Relays
2005 CC: 29th FL Finals 15:52, 9th FL South 15:07, 2nd 5A State 15:22, 1st Texas A&M 14:38 (3M), 1st Marcus Inv 15:17, 1st Azle Inv. 14:27 (3M)
2005 Track: 1st District 9:31.36, 3rd District 4:23.61
2004 CC: 65th FLS 15:58, 30th NTN 16:45
11. Sintayehu Taye, 2008, Cushing Academy, Ashburnham, MA
2006 Track: (injured outdoors) 2:29.60 1000m BU Inv., 8:44.85i 3k USATF NE
2005 CC: 23rd FL Finals 15:43, 2nd FL Northeast 15:29, 1st NEPSTA II 15:29, 2nd Canterbury 15:56, 2nd Pingree 15:32
2005 Track: 2nd NE Ch. 9:01.68, 9th NON 9:06.68y, 1st ME ‘A’ State 4:09.69
2004 CC: 24th FLNE 16:10
12. Chad Hall, 2007, Big Bear HS, Big Bear, CA
2006 Track: 8:58.42 1st SouSectD4 Pre, 1st Golden West 4:11.67y, 8th NON 4:13.18y (7th Sect. 3), 12th State 9:23.71, 4:10.78 1st SouSectMasters, 4:11.19 1st SouSectD4, 9:08.77 1st SouSectD4, 9:10.49 7th SouSectMasters, 4:12.27 1st SouSectD4 Pre, 4:15.91y 1st Mt SAC
2005 CC: DNC FL West, 2nd D4 State 15:51
13. Paul Springer, 2007, Unionville HS, PA
2006 Track: 9:01.72 1st 3A State, 9:03.58 1st District, 5th Penn 3k 8:28.65, 4:13.33 Baldwin Inv, 4:14.99y 13th NON (5th Sect. 2),
14. Duncan Phillips, 2007, A&M Consolidated HS, College Station TX
2006 Track: 4:13.41 1st 5A State, 4:13.49 1st Klein Relays, 2nd Region 4:17.90, 1:52.61 1st Kingwood TrueTeam, 9th Boston In 4:13.19yi
2005 CC: 37th FL Finals 16:18, 5th FL South 14:59, 1st 5A State 15:20, 1st Humble Inv. 15:13, 1st Region 15:29, 4th A&M Inv. 15:07 (3M)
2005 Track: 2nd 5A State 4:10.96, 7th Texas Relays 9:21.47
2004 CC: DNC FLS
15. Mikel Thomas, 2007, Clovis HS, CA
2006 Track: 8:59.81 8th Arcadia Inv, 4th CIF 9:04.56, 9:08.66 1st Sacramento MOC, Central Section 9:14.25-1st/4:16.39-1st,
2005 CC: 31st FL West 16:27, 2nd D2 State 15:29, 2nd Clovis 15:22
2005 Track: 11th CIF 9:21.64, 9th Arcadia (seeded) 9:20.99y
2004 CC: 10th FLW 16:07
16. Matt Centrowitz, 2007, Broadneck HS, Annapolis, MD
2006 Track: 16th NON 9:16.18 (13th Sect. 2), 1st Penn 3k 8:20.09, 9:13.68 1st 4A State, 11th NIN 9:20.38yi
2005 CC: 41st FL Northeast 16:15, 1st 4A State 16:01
17. Steve Murdock 2007, Shenendehowa HS, NY
2006 Track: (injured most of outdoor), 9:10.33i 1st State Ind, 17th NIN 9:32.73iy, 9:11.54 1st Section, 4:16.83yi 5th Hispanic Games, 4:17.20yi 3rd Yale Inv
2005 CC: 16th NTN 17:08, 2nd Feds 16:10, 2nd AA State 15:26, 4th Great American ROC 15:28, 1st Sub. Council 14:42 (3M), 2nd Section 15:13, 1st Manhattan ‘E’ (22nd overall) 13:01 (2.5M)
2004 CC: 26th FLNE
18. Rob Finnerty, 2008, Burnsville HS, MN
2006 Track: 9:07.99y 12th NON (1st Sect. 1), 2A State 9:07.99-2nd/4:13.73-2nd, 4:13.52y 10th NON (2nd Sect. 2)
2005 CC: DNC FL Midwest
2005 Track: 1st 2A State 9:06.80
2005 CC: 11th FL MW
19. Dan Jackson, 2007, Dexter MI
2006 Track: 9:10.72y 14th NON (2nd Sect. 1), 9:09.93 2nd 2A State
2005 CC: 17th FL Midwest 15:34,
20. Kevin Havel, 2008, Hersey, Arlington Heights, IL
2006 Track: 9:10.20 4th Prospect Inv, 9:13.2 2nd Sectional, 4:18.7 1st Davis Inv,
2005 CC: 14th FL Midwest 15:30, 4th 2A State 14:26 (3M)
21. Joey Bywater, 2008, Lake Stevens HS, WA
2006 Track: 9:03.97 1st 4A State, 4:16.58 2nd District
2005 CC: 21st 4A State 16:16
22. Andy Weatherford, 2007, Greencastle, IN
2006 Track: 4:08.71 1st State, 32nd NON 4:31.69
2005 CC: 18th FL Midwest 15:34
23. Spencer Knight, 2007, La Sierra, CA
2006 Track: State 4:09.58-3rd/9:20.37-11th, 9:07.09 4th SouSectMasters, 9:12.97 3rd SouSectD1, 4:11.09 2nd SouSectD1, 6th SouSectMasters 4:16.14
2005 CC: 21st FL West 16:21, 14th D1 State 15:45, 5th MtSAC Ind. SS 15:05 (3M)
24. Steven Weeks, 2007, Arvada HS, CO
2006 Track: 1st USATF JO 5k 15:23.38, 5A State 9:23.71-2nd/4:20.51-2nd
2005 CC: 23rd FL Midwest 15:38, 1st 5A State 15:43
25. Richard Medina, 2007, Grand Junction, CO
2006 Track: 5A State 9:13.90-1st/4:21.18-4th, 4th Golden West 9:15.79
2005 CC: 28th FL Midwest 15:40, 2nd 5A State 15:58
26. Matt Frerker, 2007, Skyline, WA
2006 Track: 9:05.70 2nd 4A State
2005 CC: 32nd FL West 16:27
27. Jay Heller, 2007, Walton HS, Marietta, GA
2006 Track: 9:11.41 1st Cobb Co., 5A State 4:13.10-2nd/9:15.99-2nd
2005 CC: 13th FL South 15:19
28. Kevin Schwab, 2007, Mustang, OK
2006 Track: 2nd NON 5k 15:00.56, 3rd GSW 9:31.93(A)
2005 CC: 20th FL South 15:28
29. Elliott Heath, 2007, Winona H.S., Winona MN
2006 Track: 2A State 4:14.73-3rd/9:05.92-1st
2005 CC: 71st FL Midwest 16:06, 1st 2A State 15:36, 1st Ev Berg 15:56, 1st Lakeville 15:29
2005 Track: 4:17.57 3rd State
2004 CC: 44th FLMW 16:25
30. Dylan Knight, 2007, La Sierra, CA
2006 Track: 4:09.88 1st SouSectD1, 4th State 4:12.26, 5th SouSect 4:15.29, 9th Arcadia 4:27.66y