Runner of the Decade - Sam Wharton
Rationale: Wharton took the 2012 NXN win in a true demonstration of strength and endurance-based running. Excessive mud and water filled the course on race day yet he persevered against the nation's best under those extremely challenging conditions. Wharton then turned it around a week later and produced a 6th place finish at Foot Locker to further prove his elite status, while navigating much more negotiable terrain in sunny San Diego. His performances at the national meets, particularly NXN, are what gave the former Tippecanoe product the 'Runner of the Decade' nod.
Runner of the Decade - Taylor Ewert
Rationale: Ewert is a two-time state champion, but it's her performances on the national stage that sets her apart from the rest of the contenders. Her four top 6 finishes over the past two years at NXN and Foot Locker are beyond impressive. Ewert's runner-up effort at the latest installment of NXN, where she was less than 1 second out of the first place position, punctuated what should go down as one of Ohio's greatest high school cross country careers by a female or a male, for that matter.
Men's Program of the Decade - Woodridge
Rationale: The Bulldogs hoisted the Division 2 state winner's trophy 5 times during the decade with their latest triumph arguably being the most impressive. Woodridge posted just 37 points en route to the 2019 team title, which was the lowest total recorded on the boy's side (in any class or division) since Caldwell all the way back in 1987.
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order) -
Women's Program of the Decade - Lexington
Rationale: Over the 10 year stretch from 2010 - 2019, Lexington secured four Division 2 state titles (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019) and the runner-up recognition an additional four times (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016). Taking home hardware in 8 of 10 trips to the end-of-season showcase is what put them over the edge. A tough decision, for sure, with so many decorated programs to choose from, but our call is the Minutemen.