2017 XC D3 Top 25 Teams: #1 - #10

You can find the rest of the Top 25 D3 Teams below...

Honorable Mentions

#11 - #25

10. MIT Engineers

2016 Nationals Finish: 7

Significant Departures: Matt Deyo, Rory Beyer,

Returners: Dennis Maloney, Ben Freed, Alex Knoedler, Nicholas Waltman, Daniel Weiss

MIT had a killer top three last year and was competitive with the top teams in the nation throughout the 2016 season. However, their four and five scorers held them back from being on the podium at Nationals. Losing Matthew Deyo and Rory Beyer will hurt, but they should still be a competitive team, even if they can’t finish exactly what they did this past year. Stud sophomore Dennis Maloney should be a top 10 finisher and they have some experienced guys who should help make up for what was lost.

9. RPI Engineers

2016 Nationals Finish: 13

Significant Departures: Ben Fazio, Garret Davis

Returners: Grant O’Connor, Sean O’Connor, Matthew Stewart

RPI loses some seniors this year including five-time All-American Ben Fazio, but they return the fantastic duo in Grant and Sean O’Connor (who are actually not related). Grant was 25th as just a sophomore and Sean ran 9:17 in the steeplechase. These two should be able to easily lead their team back to Nationals, but the real question is if they have enough depth to better their performance from 2016.

8. Williams Ephs

2016 Nationals Finish: 9

Significant Departures: Noah Williams, Peter Hale

Returners: Ben Decker, Austin Anderson, Liam Simpson, Griffin Colaizzi, Zeke Cohen,

Williams has consistently been in the hunt for a podium finish for the past few years and this year won’t be any different. They return most of their runners and they have a huge roster that can fill their missing scoring spot at number five. Last year they tied MIT at the New England Regional meet, but they didn’t quite have the low-stick necessary to be a top five team at Nationals as it appears 5000 National Champion Peter Hale was injured. If Ben Decker can make a jump, a podium finish is a definite possibility for the Ephs.

7. Christopher Newport Captains

2016 Nationals Finish: 11

Significant Departures: Andrew Benfer

Returners: Grayson Reid, John LaPointe Jeffrey Dover, Samuel Murch, Daniel Reade, Jason Putnam

Returning their top four (and six of their top seven), Christopher Newport should be a top 10 team this year. They are going to have a lot of senior leadership and experience from last year that could make them an outside threat for a podium finish.

CNU’s top two returners, Grayson Reid and Jason LaPointe, have the potential to be All-Americans with a very strong pack following that up. Watch out for the Captains team in 2017.

6. Loras Duhawks

2016 Nationals Finish: 10

Significant Departures: Ben Hedges

Returners: Mason tope, Justin Adams, Biren Nugent, Timothy Sevcik, Jack Caroll

Loras was in last place coming through 2k last year and then had an incredible surge over the second half of the race to put themselves into the top 10; their top runner Mason Tope finished 33rd after starting out in 220th.

A strategy like that is great if you want to be a top 10 team, but it becomes less effective if you want a podium finish due to the sheer size of the field at NCAA’s. Loras will need at least two All-Americans if they want to compete for a podium finish and that might require a rethinking of their strategy.

5. SUNY Geneseo Knights

2016 Nationals Finish: 2

Significant Departures: Alex Kramer, Travis Briggs, Alfredo Mazzuca,

Returners: Isaac Garcia-Cassani, Alex Burks, Connor Pulvidente, Matt Jorgensen

Isaac Garcia-Cassani was the top team finisher at NCAAs and forth overall, which is always a nice trait for a low-stick to have. IGC’s performance isn’t in question for this season (he might win the entire race), but the rest of his team is uncertain.

Geneseo didn’t lose any All-Americans, but they no longer have three consistent runners who all finished within 13 seconds of each other. Geneseo is a deep team and should have guys who can replace those that they’ve lost, but I don’t think they will be able to challenge North Central this year.

4. Washington University St. Louis Bears

2016 Nationals Finish: 2

Significant Departures: Ryan Becker, Dillon Wiliams

Returners: David O’Gara, Nick Matteucci, Peter Johnsrud, Kyle Cepeda, Kirby Simon

The Midwest Region is insane this year; it’s possible for Wash U to come in fourth in their region and fourth in the country. They are a time that always knows how to peak at the right time and this past year was no different, Ryan Becker was able to come in 16th after missing most of the season with an injury. Even though they lose him, they still return David O’Gara who was 20th last year and stud sophomore Nick Matteucci who was 5th in the 1500 last spring as just a freshman. They will need someone to step up to replace Becker, but you should still expect Wash U. to threaten as a top five team.

3. Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds

2016 Nationals Finish: 3

Significant Departures: Nick Peterson, Matt Cyra,

Returners: Darin Lau, Patrick Treacy, Riley Huffman, Sam Kuhlmann

Returning two All-Americans including national champion contender Darin Lau puts Wisconsin Eau Claire right back in the podium hunt. They will have three guys who can score under 100 points and if Sam Kuhlmann can move up a few places, then this team should be able to cover it’s losses from last year pretty easily. A small concern is Patrick Treacy, he was 34th last year but appears to have been injured for most of the track season running just five races total during Indoor and Outdoor, he will need to be healthy for this team to contend.

2. Wisconsin-Lacrosse Eagles

2016 Nationals Finish: 6

Significant Departures: Mike Glasser

Returners: Thomas Schultz, Ian Ewers(?), Austin Zajkowski, Sam Hinz, Josh Schrader, Jonah Weisse

When a top six team only loses their seventh man, they have to be considered as a title contender. Wisconsin Lacrosse was the highest finishing team without an All-American last year. They are going to need their top guys to place 40th or better to so, but if steeplechase champion Ian Ewers returns (their roster says he is) then they should have no problem doing that.

1. North Central Cardinals

2016 Nationals Finish: 1

Significant Departures: Zach Plank, Ethan Adlfinger, Omar Gomez

Returns: Al Baldanado, Dhruvil Patel, Zach Hird, Dan O’Keefe

Normally, when a team loses two top 20 finishers, I would say that your team isn’t going to be able to repeat what they did the year before. Still, North Central has a disturbing amount of depth.

The Cardinals return three top 25 finishers and they also have Nationals 5000 qualifier Nolan McKenna, who wasn’t even on their top seven last year. While they might not score 60 points again, they remain the favorites to win NCAA’s.

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