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.
15. CarLee Stimpfel, Sophomore, Saginaw Valley
Stimpfel is a difficult name to gauge. Not because of any poor performances, but simply because he raced very sparingly.
The rising sophomore had a very impactful performance at the 2018 GLIAC XC Championships where he finished 11th overall, thus helping Saginaw Valley secure a runner-up finish to the eventual nation champions Grand Valley State.
It is unclear as to why, but Stimpfel oddly did not race at the Midwest region after his huge performance at the conference meet. However, he did get the opportunity to race at the NCAA Championships after his team earned an automatic bid with a runner-up performance at the Midwest Regional Championships. Stimpfel did not let this opportunity surpass him as he impressively came away with an All-American finish of 26th which helped the Saginaw Valley team secure 6th place in the team standings.
He has a lot to prove, and his lack of performances isn't a great sign, but every time he has toed the line, Stimpfel has secured a strong performance. For that reason, he's made it into our Top 25.
14. Titus Winders, Sophomore, Southern Indiana
Winders failed to win his first ever XC race in the regular season, but I am sure that does not bother him as he got his first win in a much more important race.
Winders, only a freshman during the 2018 XC season, shocked the Midwest region by beating national champion and now professional runner for Hansons-Brooks Zach Panning of Grand Valley State for 1st place. Whether or not Panning was going all-out so that was prepared for Nationals isn't necessarily the important part. The fact of the matter is that Winders stepped up in a big way and proved that he didn't need years of experience to contend with the D2's top talents. That was also evident after he finished 7th in a super deep Lewis Crossover meet.
Winders ended his first collegiate cross country season by claiming an All-American finish of 30th place at Nationals. Despite redshirting outdoor track and missing almost all of the indoor season, his win win at regionals and his All-American performance proves why he should be in our Top 25.
13. Jack Mastandrea, Senior, Charleston (W.V.)
Mastandrea will be the top returner this fall for Charleston after his 35th place All-American finish in 2018. His performance at Nationals was impressive, but regular season is what keeps him at the top of our rankings. Mastandrea finished 4th in the ultra-deep Paul Short Brown race before winning the Concord Invite and placing 6th in the D2 Pre-Nats meet. While most runners would crumble under the pressure of large invite fields, Mastandrea thrives.
The rising senior had an even stronger performance during the outdoor track season. With PR’s in the 5000 and 10,000, Mastandrea found himself qualified in both events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, including a 4th place finish in the 10k, thus giving himself another All-American medal.
On paper, Mastandrea has the potential to be even better than just 35th place at Nationals. Don't sleep on what this established veteran brings to the table.
12. Joseph Humes, Senior, Hillsdale
Humes took a HUGE jump in 2018...and I mean HUGE as he went from 168th place at the national meet in 2017 to 25th place at the NCAA XC championships in 2018.
The Hillsdale veteran kicked off his 2018 cross country campaign by winning three out of five regular season races before he claimed his first All-American performance. During the indoor track season, Humes lowered his PR’s in both the 5000 and 3000.
Although Humes did not qualify for either the indoor or outdoor National Championships, he will still be a huge threat during cross country this fall. His consistency, experience, and progression is a difficult combination to ignore.
11. Braden Reichl, Junior, Michigan Tech
Reichl got the redemption he was seeking during cross country last fall. After failing to qualify for the national meet during the 2017 season, he had a stellar championship season placing 6th at his conference meet, 11th in the Midwest region, and then eventually claiming his first All-American honor at the NCAA XC Championships by placing 24th overall.
Reichl was not finished earning All-American medals and trophies just yet as he secured an impressive 8th place in the 3000 steeplechase this past outdoor season. With a steeplechase PR of 9:00, and over a minute improvement in his XC 10k personal best over the past two seasons, Reichl will continue to further establish himself as a national contender and make another huge statement this fall.