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Cross Country 1999

National Boys Rankings 9/8

High Mileage Don Sage heads pre-season list

by John Molvar


1999 Footlocker Preseason Preview

Donnie Sage isn’t afraid of mileage. After all he
runs for Joe Newton’s famed York High School program
in Illinois. In his first 3 years of high school he
has logged more than 3 times as many miles as the 6
other runners who have a shot at the Footlocker
National High School Cross Country title. He has done
it for so long that 100 mile weeks are routine for
him. That is more than most of the top US Marathoners
of the 1990s run. It is the type of training that
scares most college runners. It does not scare most
high school runners, for them it is simply

Sage has never run in the Footlocker
meet because Newton forbids his runners from running
in it until their senior year. This is Newton’s last
year as coach and he would love to go out with an
individual national champion. Newton’s XC program has
been winning for so long that most of his opposition
has long given up trying to beat him and resorted to
criticism of his “draconian” methods. Obviously his
pupils think otherwise and he has 50-100 kids go out
for the XC team every year. 

Sage has been in many big
meets because he has had to deal with the Torres
brothers his entire career. Last year at the Illinois
state meet he was second behind George, who went on to
win the Footlocker title and just ahead of Ed who went
on to take fifth in the Footlocker Final. Outdoors he
finished second to Andy Powell in the Golden West mile
in 4:09. While he may be my pick to win, he certainly
is not a clear favorite and there are 6 other runners
who could win the title.

When junior Al Webb’s name is mentioned to an informed
fan of the sport, that fan immediately thinks of the
great Jim Ryun and for good reason. Webb shocked the
high school scene when he smashed Jim Ryun’s sophomore
class mile record by running 4:06. Even more
impressive is the fact that Jim Ryan trained like a
man possessed with both mega mileage and 2 hour
torturous track workouts whereas Webb got there,
according to his coach, with comparatively minimal
effort. Obviously he is one of the favorites. 

Junior Dathan Ritzenhein of Michigan also had a great
sophomore year finishing 7th in the Footlocker Final
and 3rd in the Midwest region. He confirmed those
performances with a 9.02 2 mile outdoors. If he
improves a little this year, he could win. Last year
he had his teammate and fellow Footlocker Finalist
Jason Hartmann to train with but this year he will
have to prove he can do it on his own. 

Josh Rohatinsky of Utah is probably the pick to win by most 
experts.  He is the highest returning placer (4th) from last
year and ran an 8:59 (equivalent) 2 mile outdoors. He
would be my favorite also if not for the spectacular
rates of improvement over the last 10 months or less
by 4 of his 6 chief rivals. 

Brian Turner of Nebraska   has run 4:09, 1:53 
and a 48 relay leg in the quarter.
Of the top 7 only Webb can match his speed. He is
also a proven XC runner having finished 3rd in the
Footlocker Midwest region as a sophomore. Last year
he had one of those dreaded off days that occasionally
happens to runners. He will be looking for redemption
this year. 

Californians Josh Spiker and Augie Escobar
are the 2 remaining runners with a shot at the title.
Spiker was 13th last year and ran a 9:00 equivalent 2
mile outdoors. This year’s darkhorse is Escobar. He
has done nothing significant in XC but exploded on the
scene outdoors with consecutive sub 9 equivalent 2
miles in big meets. Despite his lack of big time XC
experience and credentials, he cannot be overlooked.

Although no sophomores are threatening to be in the
top 20 as in past years there are several to keep an
eye on including Catlett (NY), Lockhardt (VA), Loftin
(KS) and Rolf Steier of Florida.

As far as regions go, the West will be by far the
strongest region and many top runners from the West
won’t make it to the Final. Such is life. The
Midwest will be the next strongest region followed by
the Northeast and the South. California will be the
strongest state by far. Long time powers Washington
and Illinois will be among the strongest, but weaker
than they have been in the past. Massachusetts has
had potential winners for about 5 years in a row, but
will not be as strong this year. It is too bad
because us Mass fans have become spoiled by the great
success of Mohamed, Riley, Powell and Sanchez. We
must lower our expectations keeping in mind that none
of the 4 were born in Mass and before them, Mass HS
distance running was quite weak compared to the rest
of the nation. New Jersey will likely be weaker than
in recent years. New York will be the strongest state
in the Northeast. Several other states however are on
the rise. Oregon, led by Ian Dobson will have its
best XC runners in years and could be stronger than
neighbor Washington for the first time in a long time.
Recent powers Utah and Montana should be strong and
the perennial strength of Ohio should be there also.
Indiana and Georgia are both shaping up to have their
toughest competition in many years. Good luck to all
and have a great XC season.


FF-place in last year’s Footlocker Final
M,NE,S,W-place in last years Footlocker Region
all times have been converted to 800,mile and 2 mile
times plus or minus 1 second
Banned-runs in a state in which they are not allowed
to run in the Footlocker Meets. Note that seniors
from PA probably will run the Footlocker since they
will be banned but since their HS XC career is over
the ban is meaningless.

(List updated 9/14)

1 Donnie Sage, IL (9.06,4.09)
2 *Al Webb, VA (10S,4.06,9.15,1.53)
3 *Dathan Ritzenhein, MI (7FF,3M,9.02,4.16)
4 Josh Rohatinsky, UT (4FF,1W,8.59,4.23,1.57)
5 Brian Turner, NE (28M,4.09,1.53,9.25,48r)
6 Josh Spiker, CA (13FF,3W,9.00,4.13)
7 Augie Escobar, CA (8.59)
8 Ian Dobson, OR (6FF,6W,9.15,4.18)
9 Juan Reyes, AZ (19FF,8W,9.09,4.19)
10 Jake Flynn, MI (26FF,7M,4.26,9.36)
11 Aaron Emery, NY (25FF,3N,9.21,4.26)
12 Golden Harper, UT (25W,9.14,4.26)
13 *Dave Vidal, MT (20W,4.18,9.24,1.59)
14 Justin Willimghan, CA (22W,4.14,9.26,1.55)
15 Fernando Cabada, CA (28W,9.02,4.20)
16 *Erik Heinonen, OR,(24W,9.13,4.20)
17 Jared Scott, CO (10M)
18 Matt McInvale, CA (38W,9.09,4.17)
19 Steve Padgett OH, (14M)
20 Noel Paulson, OR (12W,4.17)
21 Tristan Colangelo, MA (14N,9.17,4.17)
22 *Said Ahmed, MA (19N,1.52,4.18)
23 *J.J. Duke, CA (9.22)
24 *Ossy Pina, CA (9.09)
25 Kevin Clarey, MT (40W,4.18,9.11,1.57)
26 Jason Jabault, NY (4.11,1.55)
27 Dan Coval, PA (Banned,9.14)
28 Matt Tegenkamp, MO (19M,9.17,4.19)
29 John Huber, NY (15N,9.30,4.25)
30 Brett Andrus, UT (26W,9.29)
31 Ricky Brookshire, NC (4.11,9.30,1.58)
32 *Nick Schnieder, MN (44M,4.21,9.27)
33 *Tom Kubler, CA (9.21)
34 Renny Provey, CT (36N,4.19,9.28)
35 **Kevin Catlett, NY (63N)
36 John Hughes, MI (4.12,1.58)
37 Mason Ward, OH (58M,4.13)
38 Kurt George, IN (15M,9.26)
39 Ben Morales, CA (43W,9.16,4.23)
40 *Josh Palazola, MA (27N,9.40,4.29,2.00)
41 Brock Call, UT (4.27,9.26)
42 Jon Severy, CO (16M)
43 *Rob Koborski, TX (9.17)
44 *Aaron Fisher, IN (20M,4.20)
45 Ryan Cole, MI (17M,9.50)
46 Neil Davis, CA (35W,9.26,4.25)
47 Chris Emme, TX (11S, 9.16,4.21)
48 **Bobby Lockhardt, VA (4.22,9.50)
49 *Andy Ice, WA (9.21)
50 Neil McDonagh, CA, (29W,4.20,9.49,1.57)
51 *Sean Jefferson, FL (9.16,4.30)
52 Mosie Joseph, FL (59S,4.15,9.28,1.54)
53 Steve Laurie, CA (9.18,4.23)
54 Pete Furia, WA, (9.22,4.26)
55 Ryan Fennelly ?
56 Scott Munro, PA (Banned,4.18,9.37)
57 *John Jefferson, FL (4.15,9.14)
59 Dave Barrett, NH
60 Austin Smith, VA (24S)
61 Hendrik Gerrits, WY (30W,4.31)
62 Brian McGovern, CT (51N,9.33,4.21)
63 Ryan Wilman, MI (73M,4.18,1.58)
64 Evan Fox, CA (4.13,1.54,9.57)
65 Derrick Wyatt, SC (12S,1.55,4.21,9.58)
66 Hendrick Kok, WA (4.18,1.57)
67 Jerry Claunch, OH (25M,4.17)
68 Jim Doaty, KY (1.50)
69 Justin Neuroth, CA (4.17,1.59)
70 Ryan Bosquette, CA (4.19,9.36)
71 *Joe Kaufman, CA (73W,4.29,4.17,1.59)
72 Ryan Teising, IL (9.34)
73 Dan Mejia, CA (72W,4.19)
74 Justin Rempel, KS (1.54,4.18)
75 Geddy Ege, GA (17S,9.54)
76 Chris Lanese, CA (4.17,9.23)
77 Julio German, NY (30N,9.46 st)
78 Mike Taylor, IN (40M,1.52)
79 Corey Duquette, CA (9.23)
80 Eric Logsdon, OR (34W,9.13,4.21)
81 Justin Schuelke, TX (4.18)
82 Leon Ardell, CA (4.20)
83 Paul Joyce, NY (1.50)
84 *Luis Brodey, TX (9.28)
85 Chris Andrew, CT (31N,9.46)
86 Matt Emond, MA (9.23)
87 John Leroy, WI, (9.24)
88 Dave Alber, OH (27M,9.26)
89 Justin Amason, IL (4.18)
90 *Vance Twitchell, MT (69W,9.56)
91 Joe Iatauro, NY (35N,4.21,9.54)
92 Ian Dickinson, GA (18S,9.50)
93 Andy Carlson, ND (35M,9.34,4.26)
94 Andy Jackman, NH (37N,4.28,1.59)
95 Christian Lyndon ?
96 *Tim Scarpanato, NY (76N)
97 Ben Ortega, NM (39W,9.31,4.28)
98 Navac More, CA (44W)
99 Ryan Hampton, MO (4.18,9.42)
100 *Justin Romaniuk, NY (39N)
101 Jason Gould, TX (22S)
102 Walt Kingsbury, NJ (40N, 9.27,4.24)
103 Nate Peffley, IN 4.18)
104 Brad Barker, NE (4.19,9.39)
105 Carlos Arizon, AK
106 Geoff Atkinson, MA (53N)
107 Pat Beattie, AZ? (51W)
108 Vic Thillet, MO (4.18,9.40)
109 *Arturo Garcia, CA (4.22)
110 Mike Hutsel, MO (1.54)
111 *Bob Dunphy, TX (32S,4.20)
112 Dan Pessing, TX (1.52)
113 *Erik Grumstrup, SD (4.26,9.43)
114 *Eric Gross, AK (4.22,9.50)
115 Josh Barshard, MA (48N,9.37)
116 Colin Ingram, NH (96N, 1.56,9.56)
117 *Nick Cowan, GA, (31S,9.49)
118 **Scott Loftin, KS (4.22,9.39)
119 **Rolf Steier, FL (45S,9.36)
120 Jarrett Van Tine, MD (62N,4.26, 9.38, 2.00)
121 Vic Moreno, IA (4.22)
122 Cory Jeffers, NV (56W,4.24,9.27)
123 Ed Umansky, IL (9.25)
124 Kyle Rabbitt, GA (46S,4.20,1.58)
125 Denny Torrey ?
126 Dale Fox, WA (4.20, 10.02)
127 Ryan Black ?
128 Brendan O’Keefe, ME (46N,4.24)
129 Jessie Hodges, CA (47W,9.36,4.28)
130 *Tony Rakaric, IL
131 *Charlie Koeppen, IN (61M, 9.48)
132 Dave Lanz, ME
133 Ryan Fenton, ME (50N)
134 Jerry Bonner, RI (61N,4.28)
135 Jeff Gaudette, ME (9.44)
136 *Raymon Laboy, CT (9.38)
137 Matt Rodrique, ME (123N)
138 Pete Cioni, IL (4.22,9.26)
139 Andy Caron, ME (9.44)
140 Blake Jorgensen, GA (30S,9.43)
141 Marc Clinard, NE (60M,4.31)
142 Joey Lanzillotti, LA (36S,4.25,9.50)
143 Raleigh Green, TX (39S)
144 Erik Eckstrand, DE (41N,4.30)
145 Darrel Andruski, NY (44N,9.40)
146 Matt Kalish, NH (23N,4.30,9.50)
147 **Justin Corelli, NY (98N)
148 Eric Rasmussen, NE (39M,9.32,4.26)
149 Steve Martella, MA
150 Paul Machado, MA
151 Marc Sylvester, OH (1.51)
152 Joe Halin, NJ (9.33)
153 Sean Ricketts, CA (1.53,4.20)
154 Eugene Roberts, OR (4.17,9.21)
155 Chris Acs, OH (4.17,9.28)
156 Brian Benham, AL
157 Marshall Green, WA
158 Matt Harriman, WA
159 Dave King, UT
160 Devan Lomayoma, CA
161 Steve Sundell, ND
162 Bryan Skelly, NJ
163 *Braxton Collier, DC (4.24,2.00)

John Molvar
[email protected]

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