2019 Men's XC Top 25 Teams: Update #5

Updated: Jan 13


KEY

(Unranked)

Was not ranked the week before.

(#/#)

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

The second number indicates where that team was ranked the week before.

25. Boise State Broncos (-1 / 24)

The Broncos had a solid showing at the West Regional Championships, placing three men inside the top 20 of a very a deep field. However, their final two varsity runners were pretty far back in 41st and 52nd place. That gap will need to be addressed at NCAA's if they want to stay competitive with some of the top teams in the country.


24. Villanova Wildcats (+1 / 25)

Villanova took care of business this past weekend, placing four men in the top 10 of the Mid-Atlantic region with their #5 runner placing 13th. Their final two (non-scoring) varsity runners had a bit of a gap, but this was still a solid showing from their scoring five to take the regional title.


23. NC State Wolfpack (Unranked)

Just when you thought their postseason hopes were over, the NC State men put together a remarkable bounce-back performance. After an odd DNF result at Nuttycombe and an extremely underwhelming 8th place finish at ACC's, the NC State men rallied to finish 3rd in the Southeast region.


They're still not the same team that we saw at Joe Piane, but they showed us that they could still be competitive. It was very encouraging to see freshman Nate Kawalec step up and finish as the team's #5 scorer in 34th place.


22. Virginia Tech Hokies (-1 / 21)

21. Virginia Cavaliers (+1 / 22)

Virginia Tech's low-sticks gave them an advantage in a smaller ACC field, but Virginia's depth and strong pack-running was ultimately more useful in a larger Southeast regional field. The Cavaliers comfortably took home the Southeast title while Virginia Tech settled for 2nd.


We don't put too much stock into these regional results, but Virginia's depth will likely be more useful and more impactful than VT's low-sticks in a huge NCAA Championship race.


20. UCLA Bruins (-12 / 8)

Yes, I know they finished 8th in the West region and failed to qualify for Nationals, but can we really say that they weren't one of the top teams in the country this year? This was a clear-cut top 10 in the NCAA prior to the West regional meet. When they had a healthy Robert Brandt, the Bruins were a dangerous squad.


The UCLA men may not be going to Nationals, and it would have been nice to see them hold their own without Robert Brandt, but we can't completely dismiss all of their success from earlier in the season.


19. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (+1 / 20)

Nothing too exciting here. Middle Tennessee State got the job done (finishing 2nd overall) with an excellent top four that all finished in the top 16 of the South region. However, their #5 scorer fell all the way back to 48th place (in the team scoring). That final scorer has been a big question mark for this team for most of the season and it looks like that will continue to be an area of emphasis for the Blue Raiders as they go into Nationals.


18. Utah State Aggies (+1 / 19)

The Aggies went 16-20-22-23-25 to finish 4th in the Mountain region. This is more or less what we expected to see from this squad, so I'm not sure there is much to talk about here.


17. Washington Huskies (+1 / 18)

They finished 4th in the West region which is about what we expected. Andrew Jordan looks to be on fire this year after winning the West regional individual title, but we're not looking too heavily into these regional results. A lot of these teams were just focusing on qualifying.


16. Iona Gaels (+1 / 17)

A surprising 3rd place finish was not what we expected from Iona out of the Northeast region, but it's safe to say that this was not your typical cross country race (because it wasn't a cross country race at all). With the race being run on the roads, it's fair to at least suggest that the final standings may have been different had the race been run on grass.


15. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+1 / 16)

We shouldn't look too heavily into the Great Lakes results, but Notre Dame looked pretty strong. Nuguse and Jacobs have become a very solid 1-2 punch and Andrew Alexander has evolved into a reliable #3 option. I still think there is a lot of potential in the backend of their lineup, especially if Kilrea can get back to top form and have a breakout race at Nationals like he did in 2018.


14. Syracuse Orange (+1 / 15)

Much like Iona, we're not looking too heavily into the Northeast regional results due to the race being run on the roads. The Orange finished 2nd overall and secured an automatic qualifier to Nationals.


13. Ole Miss Rebels (+1 / 14)

Not much to say here. Ole Miss dominated the South region as expected, placing five men inside the top 23. Their final two runners were still pretty far back, and that's a legitimate concern going into Nationals, but their top five have been very solid all season long.


12. Michigan Wolverines (+1 / 13)

Business as usual for the Michigan Wolverines. They had a great string of results through four runners (9-11-17-18), but had a bit of a drop-off with their #5 runner placing 31st overall. Of course, just like most of the regional results, this isn't something that we should look too heavily into.


11. Purdue Boilermakers (0 / 11)

After an underwhelming BIG 10 performance, the Boilermakers got their groove back with a regional title. Seeing their final two scorers finish inside the top 25 was very encouraging, but how they actually perform on the nation's biggest stage will be the real testament of their talent.


10. Indiana Hoosiers (0 / 10)

Indiana's lineup has slowly developed into a solid group of four scorers and that was evident this past Friday when they finished 4-7-12-23. However, their #5 scorer continues to be a question mark after finishing 41st overall. Regardless, the Hoosiers got the job done and will be heading to Nationals out of the Great Lakes region.


9. Portland Pilots (+3 / 12)

One of the few regional results that we're actually putting some serious consideration into is West regional title won by the Portland Pilots. This is a team that doesn't typically show all of their cards until the regional and national meets...which is exactly what happened this past Friday.


They had six men inside the top 23 and that was with typical scorer Caleb Webb falling back to 43rd place and into the #7 spot of their lineup. The Pilots have a strong combination of firepower and depth which could make them very dangerous at the national meet next week.


8. Wisconsin Badgers (-1 / 7)

The Badgers finished 5th in the Great Lakes region in what was clearly a race where they weren't giving their best effort (because they didn't need to). Their focus will be on preparing themselves for next week's National Championships.


7. Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (+2 / 9)

They took home the win in the Midwest region over Iowa State and although we don't put much stock into these regional meets, it was nice to see the Tulsa men thrive in a large championship setting. Their top five scorers are scary good when they all run together.


We still have Iowa State ranked ahead of Tulsa (simply because we don't know how much of an effort the Cyclones or the Hurricanes were putting into Friday's regional meet), but that could very easily change after next week's National Championships.


6. Oregon Ducks (0 / 6)

Just another race for the Oregon Ducks who finished 3rd in the West region. They had a nice set of results through six runners (who all finished inside the top 31), but they were likely conserving themselves for the National Championships


5. Iowa State Cyclones (0 / 5)

As expected, the Iowa State men locked up an automatic qualifying performance, finishing 2nd to Tulsa in the Midwest region. We're not going to analyze these regional results too much, but I wouldn't be against hearing an argument where Tulsa ranks ahead of Iowa State right now.

4. Stanford Cardinal (0 / 4)

A runner-up performance in the West region gave the Cardinal an automatic qualifying spot to Nationals. It was really encouraging to see Alek Parsons record a 10th place finish after struggling a bit for most of this season, but Steven Fahy still finished outside of the top 20.


Regardless, this race wasn't going to tell us something that we didn't already know. We'll see if the Cardinal can put all of their pieces of the puzzle together at NCAA's next week.


3. BYU Cougars (0 / 3)

2. Colorado Buffaloes (0 / 2)

1. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (0 / 1)

The Mountain region couldn't have been more predictable.


Northern Arizona dominated while Colorado and BYU had a very similar top five in terms of who finished where. These three teams are well aware of when their actual fitness will be tested.

ADDED

NC State Wolfpack

KICKED OFF

Oklahoma State Cowboys


JUST MISS (in no order)

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Alabama Crimson Tide

Florida State Seminoles

Texas Longhorns

Furman Paladins

Harvard Crimson


HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no order)

Charlotte 49ers

Princeton Tigers

Penn Quakers

Temple Owls

Georgetown Hoyas

Weber State Wildcats

Oklahoma State Cowboys


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

Harvard Crimson

I mean, did you really expect Harvard to earn a spot to Nationals? Much less an automatic bid to Nationals? Much less win the regional title? We can talk about the road race all we want, but the Crimson men still had to go out and execute (and they did just that). They haven't shown us enough this season to put them in our Top 25, but they certainly ran well enough to capture our attention.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

Portland Pilots

They showed off all of their weapons on Friday, displaying impressive firepower and eyebrow-raising depth. Coach Rob Conner continues to play chess while we're all playing checkers, showing that his team can peak when it matters the most.


NOTES

- If you haven't already read through our rankings, we don't think that regional results mean a ton as far as rankings go. A lot of these teams were simply trying to get to Nationals. There were a few programs who stepped up big time and gave a legitimate effort, but for the most part, a lot of these teams were simply aiming to qualify for the national meet.