These lists are hard.
Let's start with that disclaimer.
There's a case to be made for a lot of runners on or off this list for some kind of "All-Decade Team."
I took my best shot at narrowing the huge list of great runners down to 14. Plus some honorable mentions, too.
Everybody has different criteria for things like this. I put emphasis on performances at state championships, regional championships and national championships. Runners who sustained success over a long period of time, making four or even five all-state teams, were given nods as well.
It's hard to compare times on different courses with different conditions on different days. But I did my best.
All in an effort to continue growing cross country in Tennessee and giving it the exposure and coverage it deserves.
So...here's what I came up with.
First Team All-Decade
Jenna Hutchins (Science Hill) -- Jenna may have had the most decorated freshman season in Tennessee history in 2018-19. She broke a state record in the mile. She won three state championships. And in her sophomore season this past fall, she ran the fastest time of the decade with a 16:38 on a fast course out in Arizona. She's a no-brainer for this list, even though her high school and college careers are far from being over.
Rebecca Story (Christian Academy of Knoxville) -- Rebecca didn't lose a state meet. Like...ever. She won 12 individual state championships between track and cross country. And that's not even including relays. Her career-best of 16:57 at Jesse Owens is the second-fastest time from the 2010s run by a Tennessee girl. Her career is far from over as well at Stanford. She has a lot of great racing ahead of her.
Sasha Neglia (Dobyns Bennett) -- Hasn't East Tennessee been loaded for the past few years? Sasha was oh so close to breaking 17 minutes when she won Nike Southeast this past fall. She won the thing in 17:02 after winning the state meet with a blazing 17:22 on Steeplechase earlier in the month. She's an easy choice for first team honors, and we're excited to see what's next for her in the ACC as a North Carolina Tarheel.
Niki Narayani (Webb School of Knoxville) -- It's not everyday you can finish all-state more than once. Niki Narayani did it five times. In cross country alone. And she was the second place finisher four years in a row before winning a state championship as a senior. She posted six wins to her name her senior year in 2018, including at Wingfoot and Great Louisville in Georgia and Kentucky respectively. More East Tennessee pride.
Taylor Cuneo (Central Magnet) -- Taylor won a pair of state championships as an underclassman in 2014 and 2015. Her career-best of 17:05 is also a top five time in the past 10 years for girls from the state of Tennessee. She also competed at a pair of Nike Cross National Championships, including a eighth place finish in 2014.
Niamh Schumacher (King's Academy) -- Niamh won two state championships in cross country and placed in the top five in another year. After finishing third with a 17:24 at Foot Locker South in 2016, she went on to place 15th at Foot Locker Nationals with a 17:57 time out in San Diego.
Second Team All-Decade
Landri Wilcox (Cookeville) -- Her career-best came at Foot Locker South, when she ran 17:26 to punch her ticket to San Diego with a seventh place finish. She's finished second in the AAA state meet twice and was fourth this past fall.
Barbara Lee Ball (Lipscomb Academy) -- Five-time all-state in cross country. Won three-straight state championships from 2010-2012 in DII-A. Went on to continue her career at Lipscomb University, where she scored points at A-Sun track and cross country meets for the Bisons.
Claire Cheeseman (Brentwood Academy) -- Career-best of 17:52 on a challenging course at Nike Regionals in 2015. Five-time all-state competitor in cross country. Won the 2015 DII-AA state cross country meet.