Updated: Jan 13
Note: Keep in mind that what our writers value for the men's rankings varies from the criteria that we use to rank the women.
40. Eduardo Herrera, Junior, Colorado
The Colorado men are coming off of a somewhat surprising 4th place team finish at last year’s NCAA XC Championship, and they will be reloading for another shot at the podium this year. With some legitimate title contenders up front, the Buffs will have a deep squad this year that has the potential to put multiple guys in All-American positions once again.
Eduardo Herrera fits into Colorado’s puzzle very nicely. Last year, he just missed an All-American finish, placing 43rd at NCAA's. Prior to that, Herrera had a very consistent season in which he finished 18th at the Nuttycombe Invitational, 31st at Pre-Nats, 18th at PAC-12's, and 22nd at the Mountain Regional Championships. This sort of consistency is something that will go very far during a long cross country season. The ability to bounce back race after race and put up a strong result is something the Buffs will need from their key scorers this year. With plenty uncertainty at the backend of their lineup, having someone reliable like Herrera becomes increasingly more valuable.
Herrera redshirted the indoor track season and then went on to run 1:52, 3:41, and 14:11 during outdoors. This is some strong range, especially when his 13:57 5k personal best is factored in. It's also been rumored that he's done all of this while managing injuries (although that is not necessarily confirmed).
Eduardo Herrera has experience racing in championship settings as well, and with a handful of talented teammates by his side, he should be able to make some serious noise on the cross country course this season. With teams like NAU and BYU losing integral members of their squads, it is guys like Eduardo Herrera who will be vital in other top teams’ chances at overthrowing what were clearly the best two teams in the country last year.
39. Jonathan Davis, Rs. Junior, Illinois
Jonathan Davis has not run a cross country race since 2017, which puts him slightly under the radar as he will not be on any returner lists from last year’s championship. However, during that 2017 campaign, Davis made a solid name for himself as a top talent on the cross country course.
Davis won the 2017 Midwest Regional Championship after finishing 9th at BIG 10's. He then went on to finish 49th at NCAA's. Davis will return this fall as another solid contender to take the regional title, and will no doubt be searching for a higher national finish. His rank of #39 will give him an All-American honor, but who knows how high he can go.
Davis made some serious noise this past indoor season when he ran 3:58 in the mile and showed off his wheels. When this is combined with his past success in cross country, Davis should have no problem hanging with the top runners around the country and then kicking hard at the end of races. It also doesn't hurt that he owns personal bests of 7:49 for 3k and 13:49 for 5k either.
Davis did not compete during outdoors this past year, so provided that he is healthy, he should have a very strong build up into the cross country season to help him sustain a top position throughout the fall. Don’t count out this member of Illinois’ squad as he will be coming in hungry for a chance to prove himself with the best in the nation.
38. Kyle Mau, Senior, Indiana
Kyle Mau made quite the name for himself this past outdoor season. He finished 8th in the 5k at Outdoor Nationals after winning the East regional meet. Personal bests of 3:57 for the mile, 7:50 for 3k, and 13:44 for 5k are without a doubt times that are competitive at the highest level in the NCAA.
Kyle Mau has backed up these performances in cross country as well. Last year, he finished 24th, 16th, and 7th at Nuttycombe, Pre-Nats (Cardinal), and BIG 10's, respectively. His momentum was then carried into a 4th place finish at the Great Lakes Regional and a 49th place finish at NCAA's. Consistency like that is extremely underrated, especially since Indiana was in need of a low-stick after they decided to redshirt Ben Veatch last fall.
The Hoosiers have been building one of the top distance running programs in recent years and they will certainly be looking to move up from a solid 18th place finish at NCAA's. Veatch is a name that will also come up in All-American discussions, and if Mau and Veatch can put together solid 1-2 performances, then the Hoosiers will be destined for strong postseason finishes this year.
37. Zach Facioni, Sophomore, Wake Forest
Zach Facioni came into Wake Forest as a freshman last year and did not leave any room for discussion as far as what his goals were. He battled Virginia Tech’s Peter Seufer all the way to the line at the ACC Championships in cross country and came up just short to the Virginia Tech veteran. The prowess that Facioni showed in this race proved that while he may be young, he is ready to compete on the big stage.
An 18th place finish in the Pre-Nats White race and a 14th place finish at the Southeast Regional Championships are two strong performances that likely would have been better if he was more experienced. Unfortunately, despite the great season, Facioni did not advance to the 2018 National Championships.
Facioni followed up this impressive cross country season with a 4:04 mile, 8:04 3k, and 13:48 5k. He once again fell short of the win in the ACC 5k during outdoors, but finished in a very strong 2nd place.
With added experience and the fearless to race against the top veterans in the country, Facioni is a very strong All-American candidate with unlimited potential for the upcoming season of competition.
36. Addison DeHaven, Rs. Senior, Iowa State
Addison DeHaven was one of many transfers that took over headlines after the outdoor season concluded this year. The former Boise State Bronco will be joining the star-studded Iowa State Cyclones in search of one final cross country season.
DeHaven had a very nice finish to his cross country season at last year’s National Championships comfortably earning an All-American finish by placing 28th overall. Prior to that, he finished 7th in a stacked West Regional Championship. The Mountain West conference was also a big challenge, but DeHaven still held his own for a 6th place finish in that race.
What many people don't realize about DeHaven is that he is one of the better championship runners in the country. After a very average 2017 regular season, DeHaven had a breakout race at NCAA's where he finished 31st overall. Skepticism about whether or not that race was just a fluke were put to rest last fall.
DeHaven’s transfer could prove to be huge for Iowa State. Edwin Kurgat is the NCAA’s top returner from last year and he will be chasing an individual title. Sometimes all it takes to make it to the next level is to bump up the expectations from those around you, and DeHaven will have quite the teammate to chase. The NCAA is going to be as stacked as ever this season, and DeHaven will have a steep task if he wishes to return to where he finished last year.
35. Danny Kilrea, Sophomore, Notre Dame
Notre Dame sophomore Danny Kilrea made quite the name for himself as a freshman last year. He continually went out hard in big races, and while he never quite came out on top, he definitely showed that he belongs with the top talents in the country.
Kilrea finished only 36th in the Pre-Nats White race, but came back in a big way with a 10th place finish at ACC's, 9th place finish at the Great Lakes Regional Championship, and a huge 33rd place All-American finish at NCAA's. He continually improved as the season went on, peaking at the right time and helping the Fighting Irish secure a 14th place finish at Nationals. If Kilrea can replicate that success throughout this year, he will be in a great spot to repeat his postseason performances.
Kilrea proved that the longer distances are where he flourishes most as he ran 28:55 in the 10k at the Raleigh Relays. This is ridiculously impressive for a true freshman, and he most recently won the USATF U20 Championship in the 10k after failing to qualify for Outdoor Nationals.
The strength that Kilrea has shown over 10k will undoubtedly benefit him in his upcoming cross country campaign as the Fighting Irish will be looking to crack into the top 10 and beyond this fall.
34. George Kusche, Sophomore, Nebraska
Nebraska’s George Kusche had a stellar conference and regional meet last year. He was the only one remotely close to the Wisconsin duo at the BIG 10 Championships where he was rewarded with a 3rd place finish. He later finished 4th at the Midwest Regional Championships before finishing 55th at NCAA's.
While that is certainly an impressive finish, Kusche will be capable of much more this year.
Kusche proved himself to be a strong middle-distance runner on the track as he ran 3:39 for 1500 and 1:49 for 800. It is not super common that a middle distance guy can come tear it up on the cross country course like Kusche did last fall, but he that can compete a national level in nearly any race.
Kusche is now older and more experienced at the national level as he qualified Outdoor Nationals in the 1500 along with some incredibly talented peers. While Kusche’s performance at NCAA's in cross country last year was not truly indicative of his ability, he should be able to use his experience to boost his finish into a solid All-American spot this year.
33. Waleed Suliman, Junior, Ole Miss
The Ole Miss junior may have the best range in the NCAA, running 3:38 over 1500 meters while also just dipping under 30 minutes for 10,000 meters in cross country. The SEC champion in the 1500 finished 36th at last year’s NCAA Cross Country Championships, showcasing how talented he is across the entire spectrum of distances.
Prior to NCAA's, Suliman was 10th at the Battle in Beantown, 26th at Pre-Nats (Cardinal), 4th at SEC's and 6th at the South Regional Championships. Together, those performances make Suliman one of the better cross country athletes in the NCAA despite his focus on the middle distances.
Suliman came out of high school as a stud, and developed quickly into a very solid talent. The longest track race he has run in an Ole Miss uniform is only a mile, but that does not mean that he can’t come back and make some noise on the cross country course like he did last year.
32. Yared Nuguse, Junior, Notre Dame
One of the biggest questions across the NCAA every year is how well can a returning 1500 meter champion can perform in cross country (well, it's a big question for us). Nuguse was 59th at last year’s NCAA XC Championships, which is already an impressive result for a guy who was only a sophomore and who specialized in the middle distances.
Last fall, Nuguse earned a huge pair of 3rd place finishes at both ACC's and the Great Lakes Regional Championships. Those bronze medal performance complemented his 13th place finish in the Pre-Nats White race. In a year where the Irish needed a consistent low-stick, Nuguse gave them one.
Yared Nuguse has never raced longer than 3000 meters on the track, but that should not be a problem for him. His 3:38 for 1500 meters is among the best in the NCAA, so you do not want to find yourself next to Nuguse in the final stretch of a cross country race.
The Notre Dame men will be coming in hot this season as they will be looking to make a statement as one of the best teams in the country alongside the likes of NAU and BYU. Nuguse might not be a conventional cross country runner, but he will be hungry and ready to lead the Fighting Irish this fall.
31. Cooper Teare, Junior, Oregon
Cooper Teare came into Oregon as a freshman with something to prove. After coming so close to cementing himself as a sub-four high school miler, he came to Eugene with lofty expectations being placed on his shoulders. During his freshman year, Teare finished 44th at at NCAA's, just four spots out of Nationals. By all measures, it was a great race for a young, rising star.
Fast forward to his sophomore year and Teare finished 37th at Pre-Nats (Cardinal), 6th at PAC-12's, 18th in a loaded West Regional Championship, and eventually a disappointing 94th place at the 2018 national meet.
On paper, those performances don't indicate that Teare should have the #31 spot in our rankings. The consistency isn't there and the improvement appeared to be stunted. However, his monster 13:32 personal best from this past spring leads us to believe that this is an appropriate ranking. That level of fitness will likely translate extremely well on the grass and dirt over the next months.
With numerous top returners, a key recruit in Cole Hocker, and top transfer in Noah Affolder, Oregon has the potential to make some noise this year. The Ducks will be in search of a return to the podium in cross country, and Teare is now their leader. He is older and more experienced now with some significant championship exposure.
In every race he runs, Cooper Teare is going to be at the front and this earns himself the #31 spot in our Top 50 rankings.