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In our 2017 Recruit Rankings, Stanford emerged as the top ranked recruiting class. Not only were they deep, but the amount of star power and elite-level talent was simply better than any other squad. The 2018 rankings may not have Stanford at #1, but this squad will still be very well equipped with these six rising freshmen.
The Cardinal have added some of the best high schoolers in the western US along with one or two others talented individuals in the eastern portion of the nation. Their combination of accolades and impressive times should perfectly match the prestige that Stanford is known for.
Our first recruit is Meikael Beaudoin-Rousseau, a San Jose stud who has been one of the top distance runners throughout the state of California over the past couple of years. His times, although incredibly strong, aren't quite at the same level as other recruits we've talked about like Gabe Fendel, Michael Phillips, Cole Johnson, or Ryan Lockett (to name a few).
However, Beaudoin-Rousseau has earned a phenomenal reputation on the cross country course. His junior year of XC was where he truly broke out after placing 3rd at the California State Championships, 9th at the Footlocker West regional, and 21st at Footlocker Nationals. His senior year was just as successful. Beaudoin-Rousseau would return for a dominating senior campaign where he was undefeated during the regular season, 5th at the California State Championships, and 21st at Footlocker Nationals (he did not run the West regional in 2018).
Beaudoin-Rousseau will be a welcomed addition to the Stanford men. With guys like Keelan and Wharton no longer having eligibility, the Cardinal may need to look for other individuals who are capable of getting involved with the scoring. Beaudoin-Rousseau could potentially have an early impact on Coach Milt's crew.
As we jump to the other side of the country, we get to one of Pennsylvania's top talents: Liam Conway. The Owen J. Roberts star has been a relevant competitor on the PA scene for a few years now. Since he was a sophomore, he has found himself at the top of state and battling some of the best that PA has to offer. However, it wasn't until his senior year that Conway would secure his first state title. In fact, he would secure two titles after doubling in both the mile and 800 during indoors.
Yet, Conway has done more than just win two state titles. He was a Penn Relays mile qualifier (where he finished 5th), a Millrose Games qualifier, a three-time New Balance Nationals qualifier, and a Nike Cross Nationals qualifier.
Conway can do nearly anything. He has top-notch range with times of 1:53, 4:13, and 15:08. He can win two state titles in the mid-distance events, but still qualify for Nationals in cross country. Stanford is a team that often relies on their depth for finding scorers and key contributors. As Conway develops throughout his collegiate career, he will most likely become a very useful piece capable of doing anything that Coach Milt asks of him.
Illinois' Clayton Mendez may be one of better known recruits in our rankings. He has been one of the best talents to ever come out of Chicago and has become a consistent national contender. Yet, maybe one of the oddest facts is that Mendez has never won an Illinois state title. That, however, is not an issue when you look the rest of his resume.
Mendez has been an absolute animal both on the track and on the grass. He was one of the few individuals to qualify for both NXN and Footlocker Nationals this past cross country season. He walked away with an 18th place finish at NXN and a 9th place finish at Footlocker (All-American). He was also selected to represent the US at the Great Edinburgh Challenge in 2016 where he finished 15th overall. When it comes to racing in cross country, Mendez is arguably one of the best additions Stanford could possibly get.
Of course, Mendez accomplished plenty on the track as well. His 14:38 5k at the Texas Distance Festival this past spring got him 3rd behind only Carter Cheeseman and Danny Kilrea. Could a performance like that set up Mendez for a sub 14 performance in his first year at Stanford?
As if that wasn't enough, Mendez also unleashed a HUGE mile PR of 4:05 at the Brooks PR Invite earlier this month to finish 3rd. Oh, and he had two 4th place finish at New Balance Nationals.
There is so much that this guy can do and it's scary to think about his potential at the next level. Much like Beaudoin-Rousseau, he has the opportunity to have an immediate impact on an already deep Stanford squad that is still relatively young.
Colorado native Charlie Perry is an interesting recruit to discuss. It wasn't until his senior year that we truly began to understand how talented this guy is. In cross country, he was undefeated during the regular season, won the Colorado state title, and qualified for Nike Cross Nationals after placing 6th in his region (by running a personal best of 15:01).
His personal bests may not be as mind-blowing as Mendez's, but Perry is a very underrated addition. Training at 5000+ feet of altitude is not easy. You have to wonder how many opportunities he's had to race at a significantly lower altitude. Don't overlook that aspect when you think about Perry's potential. He could be the most dangerous recruit out of these six men.
The final two names both hail from the state of Oregon. Josh Schumacher and Andy Monroe may be the best pair of recruits this year that are from the same state and going to the same school.
For Monroe, he can seemingly do anything. Much like Conway, his range extends all the way from the 800 to the 5000 meters. He was a two-time NXN qualifier who also holds a 4:09 mile PR. He will be a great addition for Stanford who is losing two sub 4 milers in Jack Keelan and Thomas Coyle.
As for Josh Schumacher, you may have heard his name in the running community before. His dad is legendary coach Jerry Schumacher who leads the elite pro group Nike Bowerman Track Club. However, Josh has built his own legacy and his performances speak for himself. His 1500 PR of 3:50 roughly converts to 4:07 for a full mile. Yet, it is the longer distances where Schumacher thrives. He is a two-time Brooks PR invitee and has gone under 9 minutes in both of those appearances (where he secured a PR of 8:53 as a junior). As the distance gets longer, Schumacher gets better. He was 4th at the USATF Junior Championships just a couple of weeks ago where he ran 14:29. Much like Mendez, Schumacher may be able to scare the sub 14 barrier in his first year at Stanford. He was also a qualifier for Footlocker Nationals.
There is so much firepower coming from these six recruits. Three men are at 15 minutes or faster. Two men are under 9 minutes. Three men are under 4:10 (if you count Schumacher's 1500 conversion). Between NXN and Footlocker, all six of these recruits have run in an XC National Championship at least once for a total of nine appearances.
It's tough to comprehend just how good Stanford will be. Not just in the future, but during next year as well. The Cardinal may be losing veteran scorers, but the rebuilding process was already taking place well before they graduated. There are certain individuals who still need to refine their talent, but an NCAA team title is well within their grasp over the next few years.