2019 XC D2 Top 10 Teams (Men): Update #7 (FINAL)

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.

T10. Missouri Southern Lions (-4 / 6)

T10. Augusta University Jaguars (Unranked)

It seems like a bit of a cop-out, huh? To place two teams at the #10 spot in our final update? Don't worry, we somewhat agree with you. The problem is that these two teams had two very different - but arguably equal - seasons, making it extremely difficult to say which team was truly better.


Missouri Southern had an absolutely incredible regular season, winning the Southern Stampede and finishing 2nd at the Lewis Crossover meet. Prior to NCAA's, MoSo had beat NW Missouri (three times), Alabama-Huntsville (twice), Augustana (S.D.) (twice), Southern Indiana, and a handful of other talented programs. Their 14th place finish didn't match the expectations that we had set for them, but we can't completely dismiss their regular season accomplishments just because they finished four spots outside of the top 10.


On the flip side, we have Augusta. They had a somewhat quiet start to their season, but peaked better than any other team in Division Two this season. They finished well ahead of Mount Olive and finished only four points off from Queens (N.C.) at the Southeast Regional Championships. At Nationals, they had an incredible breakout performance, ending their season 9th in the final team standings.


It was (and still is) an extremely difficult decision to pick between these two teams. Their 2019 seasons were very balanced. Augusta peaked perfectly, but Missouri Southern was simply better throughout most of the year (with the exception of Nationals, which obviously holds the most weight).


At the end of the day, we put it up to a vote...which came down to the tie that you see here.


9. West Texas A&M Buffaloes (+1 / 10)

The Buffaloes were led by Ezekiel Kipchirchir and that was enough to give them the edge over Stanislaus State and Cal State San Marcos to finish 10th overall. Ahmed Omer was the next finisher for the Buffaloes back in 68th. They could have improved if their backend had run a bit faster, but for the most part, this was the performance that we expected from the Buffaloes.


Overall, it was a strong and respectable season for West Texas A&M. They were consistent and had to deal with their South Central rivals for most of the postseason. Their regular season lacked excitement, mainly due to a mild level of competition, but they never really had a poor performance. For that reason, despite finishing 10th at the National Championships, we opted to bump them a spot.


8. Queens (N.C.) Royals (Unranked)

The Royals bounced back this past weekend after we had initially ruled them out due to some underwhelming losses (to some respectable teams) earlier in the season. That, of course, is why they run the race.


Anthony Raftis and Yannick Duppich were both All-Americans and were a big reason why they placed ahead of Augusta at this year’s national meet. Seb Anthony and Nick Kipkemei were just four seconds apart, while Felix Wammetsberger fell back in a rare off-day. Overall, it was a very respectable team performance from the Royals' top five.


It pays to have experience and Queens benefited from it quite a bit this year. We had convinced ourselves that Queens was a team that would peak in the second half of the season...and we were right! It just took a little bit longer than we thought it would.


7. Western Colorado Mountaineers (-4 / 3)

Maybe one of the poorer results of the weekend came from the Mountaineers. Despite Taylor Stack finishing 3rd and Charlie Sweeney 11th, no one else was inside the top 80 this past weekend. It’s tough to make any run at the team title without a supporting cast. The loss of Ross Husch certainly hurt this team this weekend.


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

The Vikings were one of the few teams to place both their men’s and women’s teams inside the top six over the weekend. Aaron Runge was 16th while Jesus Urtusuastegui was 25th, giving them two low-stick runners that this team was looking for. Austin Miller, Skyler Dejong, and Nathan Schroeder were all inside the top 90. When you look at their overall season, the Vikings started out strong and only got better. They developed a great pack of scorers and had a few low-sticks standout in the postseason.


5. NW Missouri Bearcats (+2 / 7)

Karim Achengli and Jhordan Ccope were 6th and 9th, respectively this past weekend with Augostine Lisoreng just missing All-American honors in 41st place. That overwhelming firepower is how this team finished 5th at NCAA's. A potentially better finish from Lisoreng could have propelled them into the 4th place spot, but it would have taken a top 15 finish to make up the points. Mike Lagat finished well in 67th place, but Jake Norris’ 124th place finish set them back a bit in terms of the team race.


Regardless, their depth fared better at NCAA's than they had all season long and their low-sticks delivered at the most crucial time of the season.


4. Grand Valley State Lakers (-2 / 4)

You could make an argument that this past weekend was an under performance from the Lakers given their level of talent and depth this season. Tanner Chada had an off day and finished in 24th instead of in the top five or top 10 like we had originally envisioned. Noah Steffen stepped up and finished 27th while Ben Zaremba finished 34th. All of those finishes were solid, but Chada likely needed to be in the single digits to maximize this team’s potential. Andrew Hylen and Jesse Becker were able to clinch the 4th place team finish with their 51st and 70th placings overall.


3. Chico State Wildcats (+2 / 5)

The Wildcats had one of the best races of the weekend as they were able to finish 3rd as a team. Wyatt Baxter, Jack Emanuel, and Jhavan Holsten were just 11 seconds apart from each other and placed 26th, 30th, and 33rd giving them three All-American honors on the year. Rory Abberton was 42nd, Trad Berti was four spots back in 46th, and Remington Breeze was 50th.


The discrepancy between them and Adams State was just seven points when reviewing the final scores. If Berti had raced the way he had all year, we likely would be talking about this team having their best year ever. Regardless, this was still a strong performance from the Wildcats. Their pack-running and depth had never been more effective.


2. Adams State Grizzlies (+2 / 3)

One of the better performances of the year comes from the Grizzlies this past weekend. Kale Adams was 2nd overall, returning to his top form from a few years ago while transfer Carson Bix finished 10th to surprise a ton of fans (including us). Dane Blomquist was their last All-American in 35th and could have run better, but it was enough to help snag the 2nd place team finish this year. Isaiah Rodarte and Miguel Villar both were inside the top 70 and with their single digit scorers, the Grizzlies had enough to hold off Chico State.


1. Colorado Mines Orediggers (0 / 1)

The Orediggers had six All-Americans this past weekend en route to a dominating performance. They won by 79 points and didn’t look back while doing so. Kyle Moran and Dylan Ko ran to expectations, placing 4th and 7th overall. Luc Hagen was 15th, Ben Schneiderman was 18th and Jake Mitchem was 20th. Capping their last All-American spot was Derek Steele in 38th.


The men of Colorado Mines simply trounced the field, validating our thoughts that they were far and away the best team in the NCAA this year. From the gun, there was no other team that ran their race quite as well as they did and it certainly showed when you look at the results.

ADDED

Queens (N.C.)

Augusta University


KICKED OFF

Alabama-Huntsville


JUST MISSED (in no particular order)

Stanislaus State

Cal State San Marcos

Michigan Tech


HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order)

Mount Olive

Cal Poly Pomona

Alabama-Huntsville