2019 D2 XC Top 25 Men: Update #7 (FINAL)

Updated: Jan 13


KEY

(Unranked):

Was not ranked the week before.


(#/#):

First number indicates how much the individual has moved in the rankings.

The second number indicates where the individual was ranked the week before.

25. Jesus Urtusuatsgeui, Senior, Augustana (S.D.) (Unranked)

Urtusuatsgeui had one of the better seasons of his career. He finished 3rd at Roy Griak and then 10th at the Lewis Crossover. He then finished 4th at the NSIC Championships and 12th two weeks later at the Central Regional Championships. At NCAA's he was able to beat six more of those Central athletes and placed 25th while helping an Augustana team place inside the top six. He’s been a reliable #2 option runner this fall while consistently producing on big stages. His TSR #25 ranking is not just because he finished 25th at Nationals.


24. Wyatt Baxter, Senior, Chico State (Unranked)

Baxter had been a top 10 finisher all season long before a small hiccup at the CCAA Championships where he finished 14th. He bounced back though with a 5th place finish at the West Regional Championships and was the second West athlete to cross the line this past weekend in 26th place. While he wasn’t their top scoring runner for most of the season, he was consistent in his placings and his experience played a role in Chico State finishing 3rd in the team standings.


23. Matthew Pahl, Junior, Michigan Tech (Unranked)

Pahl has bounced back and forth between being ranked and unranked all season long, but it now seems safe to say that he has found a spot in our Top 25 for good. He’s alternated being the top scoring option for the Huskies alongside teammate Braden Reichl all season long. He finished 15th at the Midwest Regional Championships and then ran to an arguably better 21st place finish at NCAA's while leading the Huskies to a 13th place team finish. He was one of the more underrated low-sticks in the NCAA this year, but that didn't stop him from producing when it mattered.


22. Jack Mastandrea, Senior, Charleston (W.V.) (-14 / 8)

I truly believe that Mastandrea just had a bad day at NCAA's. Finishing in the 70's is not indicative of what he has done all year. Naturally, he falls quite a bit in our rankings, but shouldn't be sent off of our Top 25. He should still be a top runner come track season.


21. Braden Reichl, Senior, Michigan Tech (-8 / 13)

Reichl is the other Michigan Tech athlete who has been on a tear recently. Like Pahl, he’s been serving as a top two scoring option for his team all season. At NCAA's he was the Huskies' #2 scorer, but was just two spots back of his teammate. Capping his senior year off with an All-American 23rd place finish will allow him to enter the track season with loads of confidence. He falls this week really only because there were tons of performances that were simply better than his.


20. CarLee Stimpfel, Sophomore, Saginaw Valley State (-10 / 10)

Stimpfel was another top-ranked runner who didn’t quite match the expectations that we had set for him. He’s been a front-runner all year and we thought he had top 10 potential at NCAA's. That said, finishing 22nd isn’t bad for the sophomore, and he is still a great filler for now-graduated ace Tom Goforth, but we had higher hopes for him.


19. Carson Bix, Junior, Adams State (Unranked)

Easily the race of the weekend. Bix was 33rd at the Paul Short Invite and then 15th at the South Central Regional Championships. I don’t think anyone expected him to be inside the top 40 this weekend, let alone the top 10. The transfer proved his worth and helped Adams State secure a 2nd place team finish for the 2019 season.


18. Joseph Humes, Senior, Hillsdale (+7 / 25)

Humes’ 19th place finish marks the only time he’s finished outside of the top five of a race all season long. He moves forward because of his savvy racing and experience that came with it. The Hillsdale senior bested everyone from his Midwest Regional Championships except for one, showing us his continued improvement and ability to hang with top competition throughout the entirety of the season.


17. Luc Hagen, Junior, Colorado Mines (+5 / 22)

Just like we thought, Hagen bounced back to be the #3 runner for the Orediggers and did so in a huge way. His 15th place finish helped put Mines so far out of reach that once he crossed the line, the race was essentially over. Spectacular racing from the junior has him trending upwards (or technically downwards depending on how you look at it) in our final rankings.


16. Joshua Litwiller, Senior, Cal State San Marcos (+7 / 23)

Litwiller climbs the ranks again this week after finishing 17th at NCAA's. He won the West Regional Championships two weeks ago and used that confidence to finish inside the top 20 last weekend. He was the top West athlete, only cementing his status as the top runner from that coast this year. It was clear that Litwiller peaked at just the right time.


15. Aaron Runge, Senior, Augustana (S.D.) (0 / 15)

Runge has had himself quite the year in 2019. He’s finished inside the top five in three of his competitions this season, including a strong 3rd place finish at the Central Regional Championships. His 16th place finish was on par with expectations.


14. Nadir Yusuf, Senior, MSU-Moorhead (+6 / 20)

We talked about how Yusuf would only benefit from the increase in distance, and he’s proven that theory to be correct...twice. After his 7th place finish at the Central Regional Championships, he finished 14th at the NCAA meet. Yusuf is one of the stronger 10k athletes and we should see that come to light during the outdoor season.


13. Titus Winders, Sophomore, Southern Indiana (-4 / 9)

Winders was 13th at NCAA's and was better than all of the Midwest runners once again. He's proven that he could be a legitimate ace while acting as the face of an already talented team. Can he keep up that form through the indoor and outdoor seasons?


12. Tanner Chada, Sophomore, Grand Valley State (-9 / 3)

One of the biggest contenders this season faded to 24th this weekend. Not sure if it was a bad day, or a sense of needing to group together as a team. Regardless, it was not what we expected from the sophomore at Nationals. His team could have really benefited from a strong race and I find it a little odd that he didn’t finish higher than this.


11. Ezekiel Kipchirchir, Junior, West Texas A&M (-9 / 2)

This was the slight concern for Kipchirchir coming into the weekend. I know we ranked him at TSR #2 heading into NCAA's, but he wasn’t able to handle the hot pace. And I mean HOT pace. A 12th place finish is nothing to be upset about, but I’m sure he was anticipating at least a top 10 placement. I wouldn’t be surprise if he evolves into a household name after he runs a couple of 5k's during the indoor season.


10. Charlie Sweeney, Rs. Sophomore, Western Colorado (-5 / 5)

Sweeney ran with the top group for just under half the race before he was dropped by the three who broke away. He still finished in 11th after battling back from what seemed like a tough start to the race. He could have maybe tweaked his strategy just a tiny bit, and it likely would have benefited him, but it’s hard to argue against an 11th place finish just seven months removed from an All-American finish in the 10k on the track.


9. Jhordan Ccope, Junior, NW Missouri (+2 / 11)

The transfer has paid major dividends for the Bearcats this year. He finished 9th at NCAA's and the only Central athletes he lost to were his teammate and Gidieon Kimutai. He was a big reason why the Bearcats finished in the top five this year. With another year left, he should jump to the forefront of those contending for a cross country national title in 2020.


8. Karim Achengli, Senior, NW Missouri (+9 / 17)

The senior had the race of his life to finish 6th at NCAA's last weekend. He had been serving as the #2 option for most of the year, and sometimes the #3 athlete. His finish, along with Ccope’s end result, helped NW Missouri make the jump from being just a mediocre team, to one of the best in the country for 2019.


7. Joshua Chepkesir, Sophomore, UNC Pembroke (-3 / 4)

Chepkesir was one of the three that broke away from the pack halfway through the race. They came through at 14:27 and he was the first to pay the price. He slowly faded from 3rd to 8th place. As the lone UNC Pembroke athlete, the strategy was clear from the gun. It just happened to backfire as the race unfolded.


6. Dylan Ko, Rs. Sophomore, Colorado Mines (+1 / 7)

Ko never finished worse than 8th in 2019 and that was at the uber competitive Chile Pepper Festival. Each time he’s been called upon, he has answered. This time it was a 7th place finish for the sophomore while helping his team take home the NCAA title. Ko will be a name to watch during indoors and outdoors as he was 9th in the 10k last spring, leading us to believe that he has another level to reach in 2020.


5. Kyle Moran, Rs. Freshman, Colorado Mines (+10 / 15)

After a 5th place finish at the South Central Regional Championships, Moran found a way to better that as he finished 4th at NCAA's (as the third South Central runner). We knew that him and Ko were interchangeable, but we thought Moran would be their #2 guy at NCAA's. He worked with Ko the entire race and wound up just three spots ahead of his teammate.


4. Gidieon Kimutai, Sophomore, Missouri Southern (-3 / 1)

The top contender coming into the race was the top contender for about 9000 meters on Saturday. It looked like Kimutai had dropped both Chepkesir and Mutai and the race was over. When he was passed with just under 1000 meters to go, it looked like he was standing still. As he crossed the line, he seemed as though he was seeking immediate medical attention. Despite the 5th place finish, Kimutai will be a name to watch during the winter and spring as he aims for that first NCAA title.


3. Taylor Stack, Rs. Junior, Western Colorado (+3 / 6)

Stack battled to a very strong and very respectable 3rd place finish last weekend. It was a back and forth affair with conference rival Kale Adams from Adams State before he ultimately settled for bronze. Stack proved how good he can be over 10,000 meters this season and with his best race likely being the 5k, it’ll be interesting to see how good he really becomes.


2. Kale Adams, Rs. Senior, Adams State (+10 / 12)

This is the Kale Adams that we remember from 2017 when he finished 4th at NCAA's. He was 2nd this time around and was the low-stick that the Grizzlies have been looking for. Things fell his way last weekend as he snuck his way into the runner-up spot while helping the Grizzlies take home silver. While some may say that we're only ranking him at the TSR #2 spot because of his finish at Nationals, you have to look at the rest of his resume this season and think that this result wasn't totally of the question. He was 24th in a very deep Paul Short field and then 4th at the South Central Regional Championships. While a handful of other top-ranked runners fell off, Adams thrived, peaking at just the right time.


1. Ezra Mutai, Freshman, American International (Unranked)

So we got it wrong. We saw Mutai run away from the field at the NE-10 Championships, and then again at the East Regional Championships, leaving him undefeated as he entered NCAA's. Those results were dismissed due to what felt like a significant lack of competition. Of course, even if that was true, it didn't matter for the American International ace.


Mutai had one of the best races of the year as he ran with Kimutai for 8000 meters. He proceeded to fall of the wagon, only to make one last effort as he took the lead with just under 1000 meters to go. The freshman made a statement and is now one of the top contenders for the indoor and outdoor distance titles come this winter and spring (assuming he can translate his fitness from the grass to the track).

ADDED

Ezra Mutai (American International)

Carson Bix (Adams State)

Ben Schneiderman (Colorado Mines)

Matthew Pahl (Michigan Tech)

Jesus Urtusuatsgeui (Augustana (S.D.))


KICKED OFF

Steven Brown (Sioux Falls)

Afewerki Zeru (UCCS)

Felix Kemboi (Alaska Anchorage)

Wesley Kirui (Alaska Anchorage)

Mason Phillips (Sioux Falls)


JUST MISSED (in no particular order)

Jake Mitchem (Colorado Mines)

Ben Schneiderman (Colorado Mines)

Joseph Macareno (Stanislaus State)

Wesley Kirui (Alaska Anchorage)

James Majenge (Cameron)


HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order)

Dayton Brown (Saginaw Valley State)

Anthony Raftis (Queens (N.C.))

Dane Blomquist (Adams State)

Ben Zaremba (Grand Valley State)

Jhavan Holston (Chico State)