2019 XC D2 Top 10 Teams (Women): Update #1

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)

The Cavaliers enter the rankings after taking home 2nd place at the National Catholic Invite. They were led with an 11th place finish by Bre Braken in 18:21 on the 5k course. Not far behind were Andrea Lehotay (13th) and Alexa Leppelmeir (14th). Rounding out their top five were Claire Robertson (25th) and Karissa Sonneborger (29th). They had an impressive showing and it appears they’ll have a consistent top three heading into the rest of the season. The backend is a bit of a question mark right now, but for most part, this is a very solid team.


9. Lee Flames (Unranked)

The Flames lit up the course and won the UTC Twilight Invite. They were led by winner Chloe Flora in 13:36 on the 4k course. Next was 3rd place finisher Celine Ritter and 5th place finisher Hannah Spooneybarsger. Charlee Boxall and Toni Moore placed 7th and 10th, respectively. Rounding out their scorers were Olivia McClain in 12th and Emma Clark in 15th.


Their entire top seven ran under 15:00 minutes which is very impressive when you consider that the conversion for the distance roughly equals 18:45 for 5000 meters. Their performance showed depth and solid pack-running and I think there were a lot of good takeaways from this meet. Hopefully, their fast times will translate to the 5k course at the Trevecca D2 Showcase Invitational this weekend.


8. UCCS Mountain Lions (-1 / 7)

The Mountain Lions move down one spot after some underwhelming performances. They competed well in the one race they’ve run, but it wasn't anything spectacular. They have only competed at their home meet where they placed 2nd. Layla Almasris led the way with a 4th place finish and was followed by Marissa Kuik (10th), Kayla Wooten (13th), Hannah Ellis (20th), and Meg Super (23rd). Given that Wooten finished back in 13th, there is a chance that this team wasn't going all out.


7. Western Colorado Mountaineers (+2 / 9)

The Mountaineers improve two places after their 4th place finish (behind D1 teams) at the Wyoming Cowboy Invitational. Their top seven were Alexa Rodriguez (17th) in 18:51, Malindi Congour (20th) at 18:57, Alexia Thiros (22nd) in 18:57, Bailey Sharon (24th) in 19:03, Alyssa Tatum (25th) in 19:05, and Katie Doucette (26th) in 19:06. The most impressive thing about this performance is their pack. All seven runners finished within 15 seconds of each other.


At their next meet, the Mountaineer/Cowboy Invite, they had five runners between 18:34 and 18:48. They have a consistent pack of low scorers and should look to improve upon their ranking in the next few weeks.


6. Seattle Pacific Falcons (0 / 6)

The Falcons hold their 6th place ranking after winning the PLU Invitational.


5. U-Mary Marauders (-1 / 4)

The Marauders won the MSU-Moorhead Twilight Invite, sweeping the first five spots. Ida Marbuvoll won in 13:22, followed by Taylor Hestekin in 14:18, Starlynn Costa in 14:19, Kayla Ogle in 14:32, Bree Erickson in 14:34, and rounding out their top seven was Katie Fox in 14:38. This was a strong performance that may go under the radar, but this team seems primed to maintain a good amount of their scoring potency from last fall. They only fall in the rankings because we like the potential scoring options that Colorado Mines has.


4. Colorado Mines Orediggers (+1 / 5)

The Orediggers improve upon their ranking after winning the UCCS Ruster Buster Open. Zoe Baker won the race in 17:47, followed by Chloe Cook (2nd), Madeline Geesen (7th), Brooke Eberle (8th), Morgan Molesworth (9th), Melina Endsley (12th), and Sydney Fesenmeyer (16th). They also had Molly Maskin (11th) and Brin Strouse (15th) compete unattached. They had a fantastic season opener and if Maskin and Strouse compete in uniform, they could easily improve upon their performance.


3. Chico State Wildcats (0 / 3)

The Wildcats remain in the #3 spot after a 3rd place finish at the Stump Invitational. In the 6k race, Talia Swangler placed 11th, followed by Haley Boynton (16th), Nora Pizzella (23rd), Alexandria Tucker (28th), and Desirae Jones (34th). They had several runners race unattached, including Destiny Everett in 18th, Gracie Dupis in 35th, and Katie Kawley in 36th. The Wildcats have depth and talent this year, but that shouldn't come as a surprise. They had a solid 6k performance early in the season and it will be interesting to see if they can carry that momentum into October and November.


2. Adams State Grizzlies (-1 / 1)

The #1 and #2 teams switch places, leaving Adams State in the #2 place spot this week. They have only raced once thus far, but their performance was solid at the Joe I. Vigil Open. They swept the first seven places, starting with individual champion Eilish Flanagan in 18:06. Kaylee Bogina, Tiffany Christensen, Piper Meuwissen, HaLeigh Hunter-Galvan, Brianna Robles, and Nicole Lawrence rounded out their varsity lineup. The Grizzlies have depth, talent, and consistent low-sticks, but they will need to bring their "A" game to take home the top spot come November. Their drop in the rankings was more because the new #1 team put on a show...


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

The Lakers take over the top spot after two fantastic performances at the Knight Invitational and the Spartan Invite. They placed 4th at the Knight Invitational without their “A” team while several unattached runners posted solid performances. At the Spartan Invite, the Lakers placed 2nd, led by Allie Ludge in 6th place. Following Ludge was a solid pack consisting of Hannah Groeber (13th), Jessica Gockley (14th), Abby Crouch (16th), and Madison Goen (18th). Rounding out their top seven was Natalie Grober in 39th and Lucy Karpukhno in 40th. When you consider the competition, this was a wildly impressive performance.


The depth of this team is incredible and they have several consistent low-sticks, but their new freshmen or redshirt freshmen could infiltrate the top seven and contribute to the chase for the national title. Somehow, this team didn't seem to get much worse despite losing a few scorers from last year.

ADDED

Lee Flames

Walsh Cavaliers


KICKED OFF

Alaska Anchorage Seawolves

Michigan Tech Huskies


JUST MISSED (in no order)

Alaska Anchorage Seawolves

Michigan Tech Huskies

Hillsdale Chargers

Augustana (S.D) Vikings


HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no order)

Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles

Western Washington Vikings

Wayne State Warriors

Northern Michigan Wildcats

Queens (N.C.) Royals

Dallas Baptist Patriots

Cal State San Marcos Cougars

Roberts Wesleyan Redhawks


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

Lee Flames

The Flames are on a new level this year and they’ve made it known after their first race. They placed 29th at NCAA's last year and should easily look to crack the top 20 this year. The trio of Flora Chloe, Celine Ritter, and Hannah Spooneybasger leads us to believe that they are in phenomenal shape and should look to improve upon their performances as the season goes on.


TEAM OF THE WEEK

Grand Valley State Lakers

Depth. Talent. Culture. Enough said.


NOTES

- The Alaska Anchorage Seawolves won their first meet, but have yet to really compete. Their top two runners had notable performances, but there are still a lot of unknowns with how this team will do.


- The Michigan Tech Huskies were knocked out of the rankings. They placed 9th at the Spartan Invite, but their performance seemed sub-par compared to other teams around the country. However, this is not to say that they can’t earn their spot back and be a top 10 contending team.


- Wayne State’s recruiting class has made an immediate impact. The team as a whole looked really solid at their home meet this past weekend, posting a score of just 18 points with Saginaw Valley far behind in 2nd place.


- Cal State San Marcos had a decent 2nd place performance at the Cougar Challenge and could be a team to watch. They are certainly on our radar now...