FOR 47 YEARS, beginning with the ’74 season, T&FN chose a Boys HS All-America team. In ’74 & ’75, the selections were restricted to just a No. 1 in each event. Starting in ’76 the picks went to 3-deep, and that was the norm all the way through the ’94 campaign. In ’95 they expanded (in the “standard” events) to 5-per-event.
2020 finds us doing something completely different, celebrating the top performers but not creating an All-America team as such.
Due to what the pandemic did—cutting the indoor season short and almost completely eliminating the outdoor one—it was obvious that we had no choice but to alter our format.
When the season wrapped up on August 31 (or earlier, for seniors who began their collegiate careers at some point in August) a look at what people had been able to accomplish under the difficult circumstances showed wide variance from event to event. A few events had enough depth to pick multiple performers for A-A status. But some had nobody of true A-A caliber compared to years in the recent past.
So rather than choose a set number from each event, we’ve put people into 7 logical event groupings: Sprints, Middle Distances, Distances, Hurdles, Relays, Jumps & Throws. From there we chose a top performer from each group and also named several Honorable Mentions, in alphabetical order.
2020’s top preps, as chosen by HS Boys Editor Jack Shepard:
Top Sprinter—Justin Robinson (West, Hazelwood, Missouri)
Arizona State’s prize recruit had only a single outdoor race all year, but as the No. 3 HS 400 time ever his 44.91 was a doozy. It rates not only as the best prep lap of the year, it also heads the lists at both the U.S. and world (yes, world) levels.
Sprints — Honorable Mentions
With times of 10.33 and 20.75/20.55w Da’marcus Fleming (Northwestern, Miami, Florida) was No. 2 on the yearly 100 list and No. 3 in the 200.
Making the top 10 lists in all three dashes, Robert Gregory (Wheatley, Houston, Texas) was No. 3 in the 100 (10.43), No. 2 in the 200 (20.65) and No. 9 in the 400 (47.59).
200 leader Erriyon Knighton (Hillsborough, Tampa, Florida) set new soph-class and national age-16 records with his 20.33, moving to =No. 10 on the all-time HS list. He was also the national 100 leader (10.29) and No. 8 in the 400 (47.55).
Top Middle-Distance Runner — Leo Daschbach (Highland, Gilbert, Arizona)
In a year where meaningful head-to-head clashes were rare in any event, Daschbach met some tough competition at the Quarantine Clasico and came away with membership in prepdom’s elite sub-4:00 club, moving to No. 9 on the all-time list with his 3:59.54 win.
Middle Distances — Honorable Mentions
The top indoor miler, Cruz Culpepper (Niwot, Colorado) was almost a sub-4:00 member, churning out a 4:00.10 clocking on an oversized track in Seattle. He backed that up with a 4:01.66 OT mark and outdoors ended up No. 2 on the yearly 800 list at 1:48.50.
Soph Reinhardt Harrison (Nease, Ponte Vedra, Florida) had a trio of sub-4:10 miles, topped by marks of 4:01.34 and 4:02.61 against pros.
The best 2-lapper was John Lester (Amador Valley, Pleasanton, California), who as a junior led the list at 1:48.26. He was also the No. 8 miler at 4:06.97.
Top Distance Runner — Nico Young (Newbury Park, California)
Young earned our Indoor AOY honors after his national record 7:56.97 in the 3000; that mark also rates as the absolute record, being superior to any outdoor marks ever. He was an outdoor standout as well, his national age-17 record 13:50.55 moving him to No. 4 on the all-time 5000 list.
Distances — Honorable Mention
Young’s Newbury Park teammate Jace Aschbrenner produced the year’s fastest 8-lapper, an 8:44.93 (worth 8:47.98 for 2M).
Top Hurdler — Leonard Mustari (Dunbar, Ft. Myers, Florida)
The only junior to head an event grouping, Mustari had the year’s fastest high hurdle clockings, twice running 13.84 and adding a 13.91 for good measure.
Hurdles — Honorable Mention
Lamont Wright (Southridge, Miami, Florida) paced the way in the long hurdles, running 36.00 to win the Burley Invitational against tough competition. For good measure he also ran a windy 13.94 in the highs.
Top Relay School — Klein Forest, Houston, Texas
Klein proved to be a sprint powerhouse, putting up the year’s two fastest times in both the 4×2 (1:24.52 & 1:24.56) and 4×4 (3:14.81 & 3:15.96). And its 41.09 put them at No. 8 in the 4×1.
Relays — Honorable Mention
Yearly 4×1 leader Marshall (Missouri City, Texas) had 4 of the year’s 7 fastest times, topped by a 40.40. The Buffaloes were second-fastest in both the 4×2 (1:24.91) and 4×4 (3:15.73).
Top Jumper — Sean Dixon-Bodie (Bloomfield, Connecticut)
Outdoors he was limited to a pair of 49-footers, but Dixon-Bodie’s indoor 52-1¾ topped the yearly overall triple jump list by more than 2-feet. In a year when nobody else broke 50 he also had meets of 51-6½ and 50-9¼.
Jumpers — Honorable Mentions
Texans Gabe Gillfillan (Corsicana) and Anthony Meacham (Woodsboro) were the best of the vaulters. Gillfillan was the overall list leader with his indoor 17-5, while soph Meacham had the best outdoor mark, 17-2¾. In a year where 17-footers were rare, Meacham had 4 and Gillfillan 2. Nobody else had more than 1.
The best high jumper was junior Tyus Wilson (Sterling, Kansas), who topped the yearly lists with his 7-1. He was the only one to claim a 7-footer both indoors and out.
Top Thrower — Trey Knight (Ridgefield, Washington)
Knight’s season was so good that not only was he the top thrower, he was also chosen as our overall MVP. He dominated the hammer for the third year in a row, capping off his senior season with a national record 261-7. Overall, he had the year’s 5 farthest throws. He also topped the list with the international hammer, reaching 207-4.
Throwers — Honorable Mention
The best of the rest of the throwers was junior Evan Niedrowski (Area, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania), who headed up the javelin list at 211-3. □