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Eye on POY: Illinois boys cross country

The cross country season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runners of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated. These state meet winners made a case in their respective classifications, but did they do enough on and off the course this past season to capture the prestigious statewide honor?

Leland Later

Senior, New Trier High (Winnetka, IL)

2011 Team postseason standing: 11th (Class 3A)

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—14:17

2011 Foot Locker regional (Place—time): 17th—15:34

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional (Place—time): 10th—16:11.70

Michael Clevenger

Senior, MacArthur High (Decatur, IL)

2011 Team postseason standing: Did not qualify in Class 2A

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—14:26

2011 Foot Locker regional (Place—time): 3rd—15:11

2011 Foot Locker nationals (Place—time): 25th—15:50

2011 Nike Cross Nationals regional (Place—time): 2nd—15:56.8

2011 Nike Cross Nationals Finals (Place—time): 87th—16:21.47

Steve Schroeder

Senior, Monticello High (Monticello, IL)

2011 Team postseason standing: 3rd (Class 1A)

2011 State meet finish (Place—time): 1st—14:28

Winning the state meet isn't a prerequisite for Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year, so here are some more of many other harriers whose performances this past season vaulted them into the conversation during this 2011 campaign.

Malachy Schrobilgen: Senior, Oak Park-River Forest (Oak Park, IL)

Grant Nykaza: Junior, Beecher High (Beecher, IL)

Tyler Yunk: Junior, Belvidere North High (Belvidere, IL)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Runner of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com or Twitter @ESPNHS_Awards.