2019 XC D2 Top 10 Teams (Men): 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 the team was ranked the week before.

10. Walsh Cavaliers (Unranked)

Entering our rankings for the very first time after their eye-catching 1st place win at the G-MAC Championships are the Walsh Cavaliers. This team has been interesting all season long and has finally proven that they are a force to be reckoned with as they had an average team time of 24:48. At the G-MAC championships, Walsh put four runners in the top 10, along with Ed Walsh (which is a very ironic name) rounding out their team scoring in 14th place. This is a strong group with tons of upside and clearly we saw some of that this past weekend. It will be very interesting to see how they fare at the Midwest regional meet in a couple of weeks.


9. Michigan Tech Huskies (Unranked)

One of our newest ranked teams proved to be legitimate as the Huskies barely lost to defending GLIAC and national champions Grand Valley State by just 13 points. This team has been on an upward trend this whole season and looks like they are peaking at just the right time after placing three runners in the top 10 this past weekend.


Veterans Braden Reichl and Matthew Pahl paved the way with very impressive 4th and 5th place individual finishes. Michigan Tech’s #4 and #5 runners were able to cross the line in the top 25 to round out their scoring for their runner-up team finish. This squad has been making noise all season, but they are finally get their recognition now, and rightfully so. If they keep doing what they are doing (and this season says they will), then the Huskies should have no problem handling the top-tier postseason competition.


8. NW Missouri Bearcats (+2 / 10)

NW Missouri battled Missouri Southern for the MIAA title, but came up just short. Although they finished with the silver, there were still a handful of positives in their performance. Jhordan Ccope, Karim Achengli, and Augostine Lisoreng proved to be legitimate front-runners as they came through together in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place.


The downside to this was the Bearcat's final two scorers who placed 19th and 28th. This is a bit concerning since, in bigger meets such as Regionals and Nationals, this spread will cause their team score to sky rocket.


If Northwest Missouri wants to continue to improve, their backend scorers is what will ultimately make or break them in the postseason.


7. Missouri Southern Lions (-1 / 6)

On their home course, Missouri Southern was able to hold off NW Missouri for the team win. Top-ranked runner Gidieon Kimutai won the individual title over NW Missouri’s Jhordan Ccope by 22 seconds. Along with Kimutai leading the way, the Lions also had three more runners in the top 10. #5 man Jared Ozee helped close out the win for Missouri Southern with his very respectable 14th place finish.


With Gidieon Kimutai leading the way and guys like Nickson Kiptoo and Tulsa transfer Ryan Riddle providing excellent scoring support, it's clear that this team is ready for the next obstacle thrown their way.


6. Augustana (S.D.) Vikings (+1 / 7)

Augustana had no problem defeating defending NSIC champions Sioux Falls for the conference title. The Vikings had a low score of only 37 points with Aaron Runge taking down the individual favorite Mason Phillips of Sioux Falls en route to his own individual title. Augustana then put three more runners in the top 10 in a conference that is relatively top-heavy.


The one spot where the Vikings were a bit vulnerable was at their #5 position (19th overall), but that is nothing major for this team and it can be easily fixed. They still had all seven of their runners finish inside the top 26.


5. Chico State Wildcats (0 / 5)

18. That’s the consecutive number of times that Chico State has won the CCAA Championship. Conference title #18 was delivered this past Saturday with the Wildcats putting all five scorers in the top 11 spots. Outside threats such as UC San Diego and Cal State San Marcos weren’t able to hold of Chico State’s overwhelming experience with Trad Berti, Matthew Herrera, and Jhavahn Holston placing 2nd, 6th, and 7th, respectively.


The Wildcats continue to thrive with their "strength in numbers" roster dynamic, and they will likely have no problem defending West region title on November 9th.


4. Western Colorado Mountaineers (-2 / 2)

Western Colorado drops down two spots this week simply due to their 3rd place finish at the RMAC Championships. It was a wild race as the scoring between the Mountaineers and Adams State was separated by just three points.


But wait! Don't hit the panic button just yet for this team.


Taylor Stack and Charlie Sweeney showed up and showed out this past weekend, finishing 2nd & 3rd individually for Western Colorado. The Mountaineers do have some kinks to straighten out (such as a time gap throughout their scoring five), but it’s worth mentioning that their normal #3 runner (Ross Husch) did not compete for the Mountaineers this past weekend.


3. Grand Valley State Lakers (0 / 3)

The defending national champs showed some signs of weakness this past weekend at the GLIAC Championships after holding off an up-and-coming Michigan Tech team by a slimmer margin than expected.


Tanner Chada (TSR #2) individually won the meet, beating runner-up by almost 16 seconds. Another positive aspect for the Lakers was that their 3-4-5-6 runners all finished together in 11th through 14th. The only problem with that was the space between that group and Chada.


If Grand Valley State wants to continue their reign of national dominance, they will have to pull together a closer pack of scorers at the regional and national meets.


2. Adams State Grizzlies (+1 / 3)

Adams State may have had the biggest win of the day at the RMAC Championships...even though they finished 2nd. In retrospect, the Grizzlies have been off the radar this year compared to the other traditional powerhouses.


Conference rivals Colorado Mines and Western Colorado have stolen the show all season in the talks of Division 2, but Adams State proved to be heading in the right direction at the RMAC Championships as they knocked off Western Colorado, 73 to 76 for a 2nd place team finish. While many may be quick to point out that Ross Husch didn't race for Western Colorado, the same can be said for top-runner Kale Adams who did not toe the line this past weekend for Adams State.


Adams is surely a top 10 guy in the RMAC and a three point margin could have been much greater if he was racing. This result makes the regional meet that much more interesting.


1. Colorado Mines Orediggers (0 / 1)

Our #1 ranked team held true this past weekend at the RMAC Championships, winning the meet in dominating fashion. Colorado Mines was able to put all five scorers (and their #6 runner) in the top 10 as Dylan Ko won the individual title over heavy favorite Taylor Stack of Western Colorado.


What makes the Orediggers' win so impressive was that it was over a handful of nationally-ranked teams such as Adams State and Western Colorado. This meet was a statement run for CSM as they proved to be the best team in the nation and leave little doubt to that argument.


This group looks primed and ready for the rest of the postseason.

ADDED

Walsh Cavaliers

Michigan Tech Huskies


KICKED OFF

UC San Diego Tritons

Lee (Tenn.) Flames


JUST MISSED (in no particular order)

Western Washington Vikings

West Texas A&M Buffaloes

Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles

Saginaw Valley Cardinals

MSU-Moorhead Dragons

Alabama-Huntsville Chargers


HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order)

Illinois-Springfield Prarie Stars

Mount Olive Trojans

Augusta Jaguars

Simon Fraser Clan

Alaska Anchorage Seawolves

Hillsdale Chargers

Lee (Tenn.) Flames


TEAM OF THE WEEK

Michigan Tech Huskies

We knew the Huskies were going to be good this season, but I’m not sure we expected them to be just 13 points shy of the defending national champions this past weekend. Matthew Pahl and Braden Reichl have shown that they are one of the better scoring duos in the country and that is what has allowed them to stay so competitive for so long.


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

Walsh Cavaliers

Maybe we missed the boat on Walsh this season, but their win at the G-MAC Championships has put them on the map. Their top five spread was just 60 seconds this past weekend and if they can maintain that at the Midwest Regional Championships in a couple of weeks, they’ll likely see the same kind of success.