2019 XC D2 Top 10 Teams (Men): Update #3

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 the team was ranked the week before.

10. Queens (N.C.) Royals (0 / 10)

No races for Queens this past weekend.


9. UC San Diego Tritons (0 / 9)

No races for UC San Diego this past weekend.


8. Sioux Falls Cougars (0 / 8)

No races for Sioux Falls this past weekend.


7. Augustana (S.D.) Vikings (0 / 7)

No races for Augustana this past weekend.


6. Missouri Southern Lions (0 / 6)

No races for Missouri Southern this past weekend.


5. Chico State Wildcats (0 / 5)

No races for Chico State this past weekend.


4. Grand Valley State Lakers (0 / 4)

No race for Grand Valley this past weekend.


3. Adams State Grizzlies (0 / 3)

There have been some uncertainties about the Grizzlies since the beginning of the year in terms of how competitive they would be in 2019. Yet, so far, they have proven that they will continue to be a major threat at the Division Two level. They remain at #3 in our rankings this week, but largely because the other two teams ahead of them had stronger showings.


In the Paul Short Gold race, the team wasn't led by their normal low-sticks as Dane Blomquist had a strong showing, finishing 14th overall with a time of 23:44. Kale Adams was the #2 runner in 25th just 11 seconds back. Isaiah Rodarte was their #5 athlete across the line for the Grizzlies which is somewhat of a surprise for him given his early-season performances.


Two names who have been a big help to this team so far this season are Carson Bix and Paddy Robb. Bix is a transfer from California and his debut for the Grizzlies was definitely worth the wait. He finished 34th whilst running 24:02. Meanwhile, Robb looks to be having a breakout season. He finished 47th and ran 24:10.


The pieces are coming together for the Grizzlies and things will only get clearer as the season goes on. Once again, the Grizzlies are in a position to be a national contender.


2. Western Colorado Mountaineers (-1 / 1)

The Mountaineers went to Chile Pepper over the weekend and faced off against some tough competition. They fall to #2 because, well, they lost to arguably the strongest D2 team in the nation as of right now (Colorado Mines).


The team was paced by Taylor Stack who finished 5th in a time of 23:55, making him the first D2 athlete across the finish line and behind just two other D1 runners (as well as two unattached athletes). Stack has solidified himself ability as a legitimate contender for the individual title, but has also made himself the clear #1 option for this powerhouse group.


Charlie Sweeney was the second runner for WSC as he finished 12th in a strong time of 24:14. Ross Husch and Evan Sutherland finished just 10 seconds apart from each other. Husch finished 36th and crossed the line in 24:36 while Sutherland was 40th and finished in a time of 24:46.


What I’m getting at here is that this team is strong in terms of depth. They're one of the best in the country when it comes to their numerous scoring options. However, they will need Juan Diaz (61st), Ricky Esqueda (84th), and Riley Howard (85th) to step up during the championship season if they are expected to take home the team title this year, especially without having Ahmed Jama (who we thought they would have by now).


1. Colorado Mines Orediggers (+1 / 2)

As you could guess, if you checked Chile Pepper results, the Orediggers find themselves at the top of our rankings in this week's update.


Let’s dig in. The only team that they lost to were the Texas Longhorns and they only lost by 22 points. They did this by placing their scoring five all within the top 30. Leading them was Dylan Ko who finished 8th with a time of 23:59.


The next four athletes finished anywhere from 20th to 29th with Kyle Moran finishing 20th, Luke Julian at 23rd, Luc Hagen at 28th, and Ben Schneiderman at 29th. The spread between these four athletes? 11 seconds. Between their top five? 31 seconds.


If they can replicate that performance later in the season, then the titles for the RMAC Championships, the South Central Regional Championships, and possibly the National Championships can just be given to the Orediggers right now. We thought it was odd that the men didn’t travel to Sacramento to run the Capital Cross Challenge, but it’s clear that they had something else up their sleeve.


If we round out the results, they had all eight of their runners in before Western had their #5 scorer finish. If that’s not a statement victory, then I don’t know what is. This team looks to be better than the team that won it all in 2015 and the rest of the country should be trying to figure out how to finish in 2nd place...

ADDED

N/A


KICKED OFF

N/A


JUST MISSED (in no particular order)

NW Missouri Bearcats

Cal State San Marcos Cougars

Michigan Tech Huskies


HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order)

Western Washington Vikings

Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles

Saginaw Valley State Cardinals

Lee (Tenn.) Flames

Charleston (W.V.) Golden Eagles


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

NW Missouri Bearcats

A strong performance from the Bearcats at Chile Pepper gives them the nod here. Jhordan Ccope finished just behind Taylor Stack and ahead of Dylan Ko, giving them a legitimate low-stick that can compete with the rest. Scorers 2-3-4 were inside the top 70 giving them an advantage over most teams. It’ll be interesting to see how they clean up their #5 scorer when championship season comes around.


TEAM OF THE WEEK

Colorado Mines Orediggers

See above. A dominant performance at a very strong meet gives them Team of the Week honors.