1. Stanford Cardinal
- DJ Principe (1:53 / 2:27 / 4:00 / 8:14 / 8:47 / 14:32)
- Callum Bolger (1:54 / 4:05 / 8:22 / 8:45 / 14:54)
- Connor Lane (4:08 / 8:24 / 8:47 / 14:17)
-Michael Vernau (4:09 / 8:23 / 8:49 / 14:47)
- Brandon McGorty (48 / 1:48 / 2:24 / 4:08)
I believe that the word "dynasty" is used much too often in sports. Just because a team wins two championships or makes multiple post-season appearances, doesn't mean that they are a "dynasty".
The 2002 - 2005 New England Patriots were a dynasty after they won three Super Bowl titles in four years. The Chicago Blackhawks were a dynasty from 2010 to 2015 after they secured three Stanley Cups in four seasons. Even the Colorado men are in the dynasty argument after winning NCAA cross country team titles in 2001, 2004, and 2006. Personally, I need to see at least three titles in six years or less, with very little drop off in the "non-title" seasons before I can declare any team a dynasty.
So please understand that when I say Stanford could potentially be a dynasty, the expectations I have for them are above and beyond many others.
The incoming Cardinal freshmen listed above may be the greatest American recruiting class ever assembled. All five of these recruits have 1600/mile PR's under 4:10. Four of the recruits have 3200/2 mile PR's under 8:50 all while also boasting 5k PR's under 14:55. There are multiple Power Five programs that can't even develop that kind of talent on their entire team, much less one recruiting class.
Listing the accomplishments for all five of these athletes would be near impossible. The accolades they have achieved during their four years of high school is difficult to truly appreciate. Collectively, between cross country and track, this group had 202 total career wins and 26 state titles. Those 202 wins don't even include the 10 wins that McGorty accumulated in the field events (high jump, long jump, and shot put).
With a recruiting class of this caliber, the questions change from "if" to "when" in regards to Stanford's future. When will Stanford win an NCAA cross country title? How many can they get before this class graduates? How many DMR titles are possible? Could they become the next Oregon and win the outdoor title with almost nothing but distance runners?
These are fair questions, but they aren't that easy to answer. Sean McGorty no longer has eligibility in cross country and a key scorer in Garrett Sweatt has now graduated. It is also unclear as to whether or not Sam Wharton and Jack Keelan will return to Palo Alto to finish out their eligibility. They have been vital to the success of the Cardinal for years now.
Despite an aging roster, underclassmen like Grant Fisher, Thomas Ratcliffe, and Alex Ostberg have begun to lay the foundation for a successful future. With the addition of this superstar recruiting class, the pressure will be on Coach Milt to produce a NCAA XC title after a 13-year drought. Luckily, Stanford isn't too far off from getting there. In the past three years, the Cardinal has been runner-up twice at the NCAA XC championships. Adding, four high school cross country All-Americans and the NXN Northeast course record holder (Principe) puts Stanford way ahead of it's competition.
The future is bright for Stanford. They have the low-sticks, the depth, and plenty of time to develop what NBA fans would call a "super team". Whether they win a national title or not, one thing is for sure. Stanford will be one of the most exciting teams to watch for years to come.