2019 XC D2 Top 10 Teams (Men): Update #4

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. NW Missouri Bearcats (Unranked)

We didn't see the men's team compete this past weekend, but the combination of underwhelming performances from other programs, along with their race from the Chile Pepper XC Festival where they finished 7th overall (with three in the top 40, and four in the top 60), was enough to have them leap-frog other programs and get themselves into the #10 spot of our rankings. The team has exceptional firepower with Jhordan Ccope and Karim Achengli leading the way and for the most part, they have a relatively complete lineup through four runners.


However, the team is pretty vulnerable at the #5 spot and that's going to need to be fixed if this group wants to succeed at Nationals. Still, they have a lot of good pieces and they should be a strong program to watch moving forward.


9. UC San Diego Tritons (0 / 9)

UC San Diego hosted their annual home meet, the Triton Classic, this past weekend and won in dominating fashion. The Tritons put all five scorers in the top 10, including low-stick Sam Blake who finished 2nd overall with a time of 25:41. Following very closely were teammates Aren Johnson in 4th place, Brett Beattie in 6th, Elijah Horwitz in 7th, and Tim Corvese in 8th. This was UC San Diego’s last tune-up race before they head to the CCAA Championships to try to knock off the 17-time conference champions Chico State.


8. Lee (Tenn.) Flames (Unranked)

The Lee Flames have officially caught fire after they took down a strong team in Mount Olive and previously TSR #10 ranked Queens at their home meet.


Lee impressively put all five of their scorers in the top 25 with Will Stone leading the way in a time of 24:27 for a 14th place finish. Teammates Caleb Eagleson, Ben Tabor, Thomas Kelton, and Casey Guthery were all close behind, finishing 15th, 18th, 22nd, and 24th. Not to mention Lee’s #6 runner (Dawson Reed) and #7 runner (Moises Ponce) having times of 24:59 and 25:00, respectively.


What’s most impressive about their team win was how close their pack was. The Flames had an average team time of 24:34 and did this all without star low-stick Christian Noble (who is redshirting this fall). If they keep up this momentum, then Lee will be a legitimate dark horse squad in November.


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

The Vikings had a strong outing at the Lewis Crossover meet by finishing 3rd overall. Jesus Urtusuastegui and Aaron Runge led the charge by finishing together in 10th and 11th place. Austin Miller was their next scorer to cross the line in 23rd place. Nathan Schroeder and Skylar DeJong rounded out the scorers in 27th and 75th place, respectfully.


What makes this outing so great for the Vikings was that they proved they could be legitimate contenders against top-ranked teams on a consistent basis. Their backend will need to improve, but this experience will go a long way for Augustana as the season progresses.


6. Missouri Southern Lions (0 / 6)

Gideon Kimutai, TSR's #1 ranked individual and front-runner to be the next national champion, continued to live up to the hype with a win at a muddy and wet Lewis Crossover meet. Along with Kimutai’s dominance, the men of Missouri Southern defeated nationally ranked teams in Augustana (S.D.) and Sioux Falls. Ryan Riddle broke into the top 10 with a time of 25:24 for a huge 6th place finish, giving Missouri Southern an additional low-stick next to Kimutai. The Lions' next three runners all kept the scoring in check with Nickson Kiptoo in 34th, Jarod Ozee in 37th, and Kevin Koester in 42nd.


With Kimutai and Riddle leading the charge, and Missouri Southern’s final three scorers running in a pack, this team will be one to watch as the championship season commences.


5. Chico State Wildcats (0 / 5)

The Wildcats took to the Western Washington Classic this past weekend which they had previously won in 2017 after not competing in the meet last year. The result was the same as two seasons ago with the Wildcats dominating the field to win the team title once again.


Chico had six runners finish in the top 10. Trad Berti led the way with a time of 31:40 over the 10,000-meter course, finishing runner-up overall. Jhavahn Holston was not far behind with a fourth-place finish of his own and a sub-32:00 performance of 31:51.


Wyatt Baxter was right behind those two men in 5th place with a time of 32:00. Matthew Herrera (7th, 32:00), Remington Breeze (8th, 32:14), and Jack Emanuel (9th, 32:19) were the last few Wildcats in the top 10 of the meet.


Chico State’s performance over the 10k distance was wildly impressive and it showed us that they will be ready for championship season like they always are. Depth, as always, continues to be a staple strength of this program.


4. Adams State Grizzlies (-1 / 3)

Adams State did not compete this past weekend. Their next race is October 26th at the RMAC Championships.


3. Grand Valley State Lakers (+1 / 4)

The Lakers moved up a spot in this week’s rankings as they impressively took home the win at the Lewis Crossover. They defeated nationally ranked teams such as Missouri Southern, Augustana (S.D.), and Sioux Falls. Our TSR #2 individual (Tanner Chada) finished 2nd place overall in sloppy conditions to earn a time of 25:08.


Despite the gap in time, Jesse Becker still cracked the top 10 with an 8th place finish in 25:33. Meanwhile, teammates Brendan Parr, Dennis Mbuta, and Noah Stefen placed 17th, 19th and 41st, respectively to round out Grand Valley’s scorers. The Lakers also showed off their depth as their final two varsity runners were close behind in 42nd and 44th overall.


This team performance goes to show just how strong this GVSU team is becoming as the year progresses. They have a complete lineup loaded with firepower, reliable supporting pieces, and respectable depth. What's not to like?


2. Western Colorado Mountaineers (0 / 2)

The men of Western Colorado had a down week as they prepare for their conference championship meet. They raced multiple freshmen and rested their top guys at the UCCS XC Open (a non-score meet).


1. Colorado Mines Orediggers (0 / 1)

The Oredigger’s continued to prove why they are the #1 team in the nation as they took home the win at the Fort Hays State Tiger Open. Derek Steele was the individual winner with a time of 24:08 over the 8,000 meter course. Teammates Joseph Wolfe and Bo Raadam were close behind with 5th and 6th finishes which earned them times of 24:34 (Wolfe) and 24:43 (Raadam).


To round out Colorado Mines’s top five was Miller Kettle (25:11) and John O’Malley (25:21). When you consider that a handful of their top runners didn't even compete, this is an extremely impressive display of depth from Mines.


The Oredigger’s will next compete at the RMAC Championships where they are the favorites to take home the team title as they dig into championship season.

ADDED

NW Missouri Bearcats

Lee (Tenn.) Flames


KICKED OFF

Queens (N.C.) Royals

Sioux Falls Cougars


JUST MISSED (in no particular order)

West Texas A&M Buffaloes

Michigan Tech Huskies

Mount Olive Trojans

Queens (N.C.) Royals

Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles


HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order)

Western Washington Vikings

Saginaw Valley State Cardinals

Charleston (W.V.) Golden Eagles

Alabama-Huntsville

Sioux Falls Cougars


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

Lee (Tenn.) Flames

The Lee University Flames earned our "Surprise of the Week" honors after they took down recently nationally ranked Queens at their home meet. The Flames put all five of their scorers in the top 20 and did so without star low-stick Christian Noble. Their team average time of 24:34 sits among the fastest in the nation. Lee is catching fire at the right time and they are doing it without their top guy.


TEAM OF THE WEEK

Grand Valley State Lakers

The Grand Valley State Lakers are our "Team of the Week" because, quite frankly, they are simply dominating their competition. Our TSR pre-season team rankings had the defending national champions enter the season at #6. This was due to the loss of individual national champion Zach Panning and All-American Enael Woldemichael. However, after a very impressive win over multiple nationally-ranked teams at the Lewis Crossover meet, they are proving to be back on track with the opportunity to repeat at national champions.