As Coach Richard “Lyle” Dorjahn surveyed 2019’s heavily pocked sectional cross country course, he wondered.  The Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond Knights had just finished 6th in their sectional, the school’s highest finish ever for thinclads.  He wondered.  “What do we have to do to compete with perennial powerhouses Monticello and St. Joe Ogden?”  “How do we create a culture of excellence?”

Fast forward to August 2020.  Linda and I  were guests of Coach Dorjahn’s, honored to speak to the Knights.  Led by Senior Layton Hall and Junior Logan Beckmeier (Lyle’s grandson, this tale just keeps getting better!)  The top two runners modeling hard work and excellence to the  youngest members of the team, the Adcock brothers and Jace Green.  These three runners played a critical role in  the Knight’s ascent to statewide respect.

Lyle and I have had weekly (sometimes several times a week) discussions, I’m honored that he calls me his “Long Distance Assistant Coach.”  Providing  insights into high level training, mental strength, leadership, and more.  The pull of my roots, my little hometown of Atwood, has never been stronger.

Mike Newman of DyeStat released his final Illinois State High School rankings yesterday.

“Here are the 2020 final state rankings based on times and performances for the cross-country season ending October 31, 2020 with emphasis on meets towards the end of the season.”


1 Arthur (A.-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond)
2 Stanford (Olympia)
3 Elgin (Harvest Christian Academy)
4 Rockford Christian
5 Monticello
6 St. Joseph-Ogden
7 Chicago (Latin School)
8 Sherrard
9 Elmwood-Brimfield
10 Amboy


This Magic Season.

The Knights return all but senior Layton Hall next year!  Not for the last time, Giddyup!