High school sports dynasties: No. 5 boys, York cross country

  • A photo of York boys cross country coach Joe Newton is displayed during a memorial service in his honor at the high school in 2018.

    A photo of York boys cross country coach Joe Newton is displayed during a memorial service in his honor at the high school in 2018. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 5/18/2020 4:34 PM

Editor's note: The Daily Herald is counting down the Top 10 boys and girls high school sports dynasties over the past 20 years, two at a time. We continue today at No. 5 with York boys cross country and Montini girls basketball.

York's "Long Green Line" held firm in the 2000s.

 

Over the final third of Joe Newton's legendary 61-year career coaching York boys cross country, the Dukes won eight state championships from 2000-12, including six between 2000-06.

After Newton passed in December 2017 former assistant Charlie Kern picked up the reins for the nationally-renowned program.

In the past 20 seasons York has placed in the Top 10 in its classification 19 times, earning two second-place finishes and two third-place trophies on top of those eight titles.

The Dukes bulked up their title count to 28, or 20 more than state runner-up Elmwood.

"The reason that happened, first and foremost, was a believe that they could be the best, and a work ethic that was the best," Kern said.

In 2019 the Dukes placed third in Class 3A, their highest Detweiller Park finish since winning the 3A title in 2012.

That fall, Scott Milling placed sixth overall, one of 39 all-state finishes York runners achieved since 2000.

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In 2004, Sean McNamara won the Class AA race followed by teammates Matt Dettman and his twin brother, Eric.

While McNamara is York's sole state champion since 2000, Matt Dettman, Tom Achtien (2007), Steve Sulkin (2008), Andrew Smith (2009), Jack Driggs (2010) and Charlie Kern (2015), the coach's son, all placed second.

The Dukes' five straight titles between 2002-06 tied for the second longest streak in Illinois history -- tied with York from 1980-84, and behind York from 1989-94.

That is a dynasty.

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