1984 Highland National XC Champions

1984 Highland Rams Crowned National XC Champions


Recently the Milesplit XC legacy series pronounced Highland High School the 1984 cross country National Champions. We released an in-depth article accounting the tremendous season. It would seem, this has become the talk of Pocatello, Idaho and the closing chapter for Idaho coachign Legend Bob Conley. Posted today, a stroy by the Idaho State Journal that is some good reading.

Revist the '84 XC Legacy Story


Read the Article Link

Bob Conley knew that his 1984 Highland boys' cross country squad was a talented team. It proved that with an undefeated season and an Idaho state title, one of nine in a span of 10 years for Conley. In 1984, that was everything a high school team could do.

But 25 years later, that team had another honor to receive. The Rams were retroactively named the 1984 national champions by Milesplit, a national running Web site that ranks both runners and teams. This was an honor that Conley never thought possible because there were no national rankings at the time.
"It's somewhat of a surprise," Conley said. "When this initially started, that surprised me that they could go back to the 1980s and do this ranking. We were in the running for the top three or four spots from 1982 to 1984. It's really an honor and a pleasant surprise."

The Web site reached the conclusion that Highland had the best team by analyzing the runners' times and the conditions they faced. The site determined that the hills and snow of Idaho gave the Highland runners a disadvantage compared to states with less elevation and warmer weather. According to the site, without those disadvantages, the Rams would have had the best times.
For Conley, it's a point of pride to see the kids he coached receive such high praise.

"I had such close association with those kids, and we really got to know each other well," he said. "They worked hard, they ran and they competed well. It made our program look good, the way we did things. I loved to see them progress like that."
In the early 1980s, the Rams managed to continue to progress even though the previous year's team had done everything it possibly could. The 1982 team and 1983 team were also state title winners, and respectively finished sixth and third nationally in their seasons. But Conley didn't hesitate in calling the 1984 team the best he had ever coached.

"They were the best, and I've always thought they were the best," he said. "Some of the same guys were running both (1983 and 1984). But I thought according to the times we had and the experience over the 1983 team, I thought we were better (in 1984)."
One of those guys who ran both years was Marty Stroschein, Highland's top runner that season. Stroschein, who would later win the Pac-10 steeplechase title at Washington State, was joined by future Brigham Young runner Rob Rene, giving the Rams an unbeatable combination that rubbed off on the rest of the squad.

"Marty Stroschein and Rob Rene led the group, and they were top-notch, blue-chip college recruits," Conley said. "Our next three or four guys ran right along with them a lot. They helped us bring it together. They were outstanding. It turned out that our first five almost every week were grouped pretty well."
Current Highland coach Chris Belcher was also thrilled about the honor for the 1984 squad. Belcher has had the task of trying to rebuild the Highland cross country program back to the success it enjoyed under Conley and hopes this will give his athletes even more to aim for.

"I think it's amazing," he said. "One of the first things I did was put it up on Facebook so the athletes can see it. When we meet again on Monday for practice, I think that's going to be the talk of the practice among all of the kids.
"It'll definitely spark a lot more interest, and I think those kids who are questioning whether or not they should run or whether they want to try it, it's going to help them say, 'I want to be part of some great legacy.'"

By Dan Angell