2019 XC D2 Top 10 Teams (Men): Update #6

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. West Texas A&M Buffaloes (Unranked)

The Buffaloes are entering into our rankings for the very first time after they impressively held their own this past weekend, finishing 4th against a handful of tough Colorado teams in the South Central region. Home course advantage was present as Ezekiel Kipchirchir showed how good he really is by beating ranked individuals such as Western Colorado’s Charlie Sweeney and Taylor Stack, as well as Adams State’s Kale Adams to steal the individual title.


West Texas was able to put their four other scorers in the window of 25th, 29th, 35th, and 37th to seal the deal for their chance to qualify for Nationals. This performance is a strong one considering the top-ranked teams and individuals in the South Central region.


9. Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (Unranked)

This Alabama Huntsville team continues to improve every single week and they showed that this past weekend as they defeated a tough Lee University team to win the South Regional Championships. The Chargers had all five scorers in the top 20 along with three in the top 10 to cap off the win.


This team is led by veteran runners who are primed and ready to perform their best at NCAA's. It will be very interesting to watch and see if the Chargers will continue to make improvements as they have a great opportunity to surprise a handful of fans at the national meet.


8. Augustana (S.D.) Vikings (-2 / 6)

Augustana had a slightly underwhelming weekend at the Central Regional Championships as they finished 3rd overall. Of course, there is no need for panic as the two teams that defeated the Vikings were TSR #6 Missouri Southern and TSR #7 NW Missouri.


Low-stick Aaron Runge had a tremendous day, placing 3rd individually. The problem that the Vikings had was that their spread from Runge to their #5 runner (who finished 26th) was a minute and 24 seconds. This will be need to be fixed if Augustana wants any chance of moving up at Nationals and defeating their regional rivals.


7. NW Missouri Bearcats (+1 / 8)

The Bearcats raced their hearts out against Missouri Southern, but fell short by just 12 points to finish runner-up. Although they did not secure the win, there were more positives than negatives for this team. The first one being Jhordan Ccope’s performance. The junior finished 2nd individually and proved that he will be a legitimate contender at Nationals. Karim Achengli also had a great day for the Bearcats as he continued to show off his consistency by finishing 9th overall.


The small problem that NW Missouri has been struggling with all season is their backend scorers. They have been distant in comparison to Ccope and Achengli. If the Bearcats want any hope of placing as a top team at Nationals, they'll need to find a way to get their pack time down to a competitive level.


6. Missouri Southern Lions (+1 / 7)

TSR #1 Gidieon Kimutai’s dominant win at the Central Regional Championships helped Missouri Southern defeat a tough NW Missouri squad as they captured the team title. Veteran Nickson Kiptoo and transfer Ryan Riddle held their own by placing 8th (Kiptoo) and 10th (Riddle), respectively.


The most eye-catching result for this team was their average 10k time of 30:35. That is an exciting display of fitness for Missouri Southern and it should give them plenty of confidence going into the national meet.

5. Chico State Wildcats (0 / 5)

Once again, the West regional title went to Chico State. The Wildcats had no problem taking home the win as they defeated runner-up Cal Poly Pomona, 43 to 115. Chico’s dominant outing was paced by Trad Berti’s 2nd place finish and Wyatt Baxter’s 5th place finish.


As Chico State has proved all season, their depth may be one of the best in the nation as their 3-4-5-6 runners all finished in order from 11th to 14th place. That depth and incredible consistency will dramatically lessen their chances of having a poor performance at the national meet.

T-3. Adams State Grizzlies (-1 / 2)

Adams State drops a spot in our rankings after being defeated by conference rivals Colorado Mines and Western Colorado at the South Central Championships. The good news for the Grizzlies was that senior Kale Adams had a strong outing with a 4th place finish, leading the way and establishing himself as a legitimate threat for a top finish at Nationals. Isaiah Rodarte also had an impressive day as he placed 9th. Carson Bix and Dane Blomquist proved to be consistent as ever as they finished together in 15th and 16th, respectfully.


Adam State's 3rd place team finish shouldn’t be looked down upon as they missed out on 2nd place by just one point. With two more weeks of training under Coach Martin, this team will be prepared to return the favor to both Mines and Western as they look to take back the glory at Nationals.

T-3. Western Colorado Mountaineers (+1 / 4)

The dynamic duo of Charlie Sweeney and Taylor Stack just wasn’t enough to knock off Colorado Mines in the South Central region. It seemed like a promising day as Sweeney and Stack finished together in 2nd and 3rd, but they had to wait over a minute for the Mountaineer’s #3 runner to cross the line in 14th. Western Colorado’s final two scorers would follow shortly after in 17th and 33rd, giving the Mountaineers silver in the team standings.


Western Colorado continues to stay competitive and show that they can compete with the likes of Adams State. The Mountaineers should be favored for the podium two weeks from now.

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

The story coming out of the Midwest region is that Grand Valley State is very good (shocker). The Lakers won the regional crown by over 60 points. This distance running clinic was led by Tanner Chada who placed 3rd overall followed by teammates in 10th, 11th, and 12th. Their last scorer wasn’t far behind, placing 16th to cap off the scoring.


This outing was the definition of team-running and it proved to us that the Lakers are consistently improving week by week. Grand Valley’s impressive regional win makes Nationals that more interesting as we look to find out which teams will be on the podium.


1. Colorado Mines Orediggers (0 / 1)

The Orediggers continued to prove their legitimacy at the South Central Championships, which is arguably one of the toughest regions in the country with multiple TSR ranked teams such as Adams State, Western Colorado, and West Texas A&M. Even with the stiff competition, Colorado Mines was able to put all five scorers in the top 12, including Kyle Moran and Dylan Ko who finished 5th and 6th, respectively. The Orediggers took home the regional title with a convincing 41 points to Western Colorado’s 69.


This was Mines' biggest test thus far, but that didn't seem to phase them. With such close pack-running and multiple athletes with tons of championship experience, this team is primed to win their first national title since 2015.

ADDED

Alabama-Huntsville Chargers

West Texas A&M Buffaloes


KICKED OFF

Michigan Tech Huskies

Walsh Cavaliers


JUST MISSED

Michigan Tech Huskies

Walsh Cavaliers

Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles

Saginaw Valley Cardinals

Lee (Tenn.) Flames


HONORABLE MENTIONS

Colorado Christian Cougars

Hillsdale Chargers

Cal Poly Pomona Broncos

Cal St. San Marcos Cougars

Charleston (W.V.) Golden Eagles

Roberts Wesleyan Redhawks

UCCS Mountain Lions


TEAM OF THE WEEK

Alabama-Huntsville Chargers

The Chargers have been on the rise since the beginning of the season. We were somewhat surprised by their victory this past weekend over Lee (despite also beating the Flames at their conference meet), but it solidified their position within our rankings. They've raced well all season long and look to be putting it together at the right time.


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

Augustana (S.D.) Vikings

This comes as a surprise simply because we thought we would see more from them this past weekend. The Vikings are still a very complete team, but their previous efforts indicated that they had a chance to take home the regional title. With that being said, they should bounce back relatively well at NCAA's.