2019 XC D2 Top 10 Teams (Women): 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. Michigan Tech Huskies (Unranked)

It’s been a long-time coming for the Huskies. They placed 7th at Nationals last year and have been a "Just Missed" or Honorable Mention team for most of this year.


But not this week. They earned themselves the #10 spot after their 2nd place finish at the Midwest Regional Championships, scoring 146 points to beat notable teams such as Walsh and Hillsdale.


Byrd is a very talented runner, but her performances seemed a bit underwhelming in several races this season. She made up for it with a stellar 4th place finish this weekend. However, it was Michigan Tech’s pack-running behind Byrd that ultimately allowed for the runner-up finish.


Gabrielle Feber in 30th (21:50), Carly Huggins in 33rd (21:56), Sam Kurkowski in 40th (22:09), and Amanda Kautzer in 41st (22:10) completed their scoring five and contributed to their low point total.


9. UCCS Mountain Lions (0 / 9)

The Mountain Lions hold their #9 spot for another week after their 4th place finish at the South Central Regional Championships. Low-sticks Kayla Wooten and Layla Almasri led the way in 12th and 19th, respectfully. Next up was a pack of three consisting of Maia Austin (28th), Marissa Kuik (30th), and Katie Novak (33rd).


Similar to Michigan Tech’s situation, running in a pack was key for UCCS to have the score they did. The Mountain Lions’ #6 and #7 runners were a little further back with Hannah Ellis in 49th and Emily Gentry in 77th, but this was a solid result nonetheless. A balance of front-runners and a tight pack is a good lineup dynamic to have heading into Nationals.


8. Lee Flames (0 / 8)

The Flames burned their competition at the South Regional Championships where they took home the title in 41 points. Celine Ritter took home the win in 21:41, followed by Chloe Flora in 2nd place with a time of 21:45. Charlee Boxall also cracked the top 10 with a 9th place result in 22:28. Toni Moore placed (14th) and Becca Umbarger (18th) rounded out the scoring.


Overall, Lee has a talented and consistent top seven, but it will be interesting to see how they do against the Division Two powerhouses. They have made a name for themselves this season and have proven they can run against tough competition, but the Flames will need to burn brighter than ever to secure a top 10 finish at Nationals.


7. Chico State Wildcats (0 / 7)

Chico State officially owns the West region, winning the meet with 75 points.


Consistent low-sticks Destiny Everett (5th) and Talia Swangler (9th) both recorded top 10 finishes to lead the way. Gracie Dupuis (17th), Nora Pizzella (20th), Desirae Jones (24th), Haley Boynton (26th), and Taylor Bailey-Lustyan (31st) filled out the rest of their top seven.


The Wildcats are a bit unconventional in the way that their lineup is structured. They don’t have a solid top five and then a big gap to their final two runners like some of the other ranked schools. Instead, they have a (somewhat) tight and consistent group of seven.


This could change in a more competitive meet, but smaller gaps between their runners is an extremely important aspect in a larger race like Nationals.


6. Western Colorado Mountaineers (0 / 6)

The Mountaineers placed 3rd at the South Central Regional Championships with 69 points. Alexia Thiros (6th) was the team’s top runner and recorded a top 10 finish against a ridiculously strong field. Bailey Sharon and Katie Doucette ran together to place 13th and 14th, respectfully. Alexa Rodriguez was right there as well in 16th.


Alyssa Tatum and Malindi Congour were 20th and 21st to be the next pair for Western. Hannah Mae Gigstad was their #7 runner in 35th.


I feel like the Mountaineers have been a little underestimated (or maybe overshadowed is the word I’m looking for), but they are strong and have recorded several respectable performances this season.


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

The Marauders placed 2nd at the Central Regional Championships behind Augustana (S.D.), 41 to 50. Therefore, the teams switch places this week.


Ida Narbuvoll destroyed the field to win in a time of 20:08. Kayla Ogle came in 2nd in 21:23 to replicate the results from a few weeks ago. Starlynn Costa just missed the top 10 in 11th while Lacey Feist-Young finished 17th. Consistent scorers Taylor Hestekin (19th) and Kiran Green (20th) rounded out U-Mary’s top five.


Despite having a relatively young and inexperienced team (Kayla Ogle is a freshman by the way), the Marauders have been extremely impressive. After switching several times throughout the season, we will see who wins the battle of the Dakotas (U-Mary or Augustana) at Nationals.


4. Augustana (S.D.) Vikings (+1 / 5)

Augustana (S.D.) took home the win at the Central Regional Championships with 41 points. Their tight pack and consistent low-sticks have proven to be successful once again. Nicolette Schmidt (3rd), Rebekah Rairdon (7th), Rachel Rairdon (8th), Claire Boersma (10th), and Cait Savey (13th) were their top five scorers as expected.


Overall, it was another fantastic performance for the Vikings. Patty Jo English (15th) and Haylee Waterfall (27th) also had solid races to round out the top seven. As of right now Augustana’s pack running is beating U-Mary’s front-runners.


3. Colorado Mines Orediggers (0 / 3)

The Orediggers continue to impress me. Chloe Cook placed 3rd while teammate Zoe Baker finished 5th in a very competitive race at the South Central Regional Championships to pace the team to a runner-up finish.


Morgan Molesworth (11th), Madeline Geesen (15th), and Brook Eberle (17th) also recorded fantastic top 20 finishes. What is even more impressive is that their #6 and #7 runners were right there as well, with Brin Strouse placing 22nd and Molly Maksin finishing in 23rd.


The Orediggers are, without a doubt, one of the best and most consistent teams in the country. They'll be read to prove just that at Nationals.


2. Grand Valley State Lakers (0 / 2)

The Lakers won again.


Allie Ludge won again.


Nothing new here.


Grand Valley State took home the Midwest regional title in dominating fashion. After Ludge crossed the line, we saw the "Quadruple-G" squad and Claudia O’Malley finish behind her.


Hanna Grober (8th), Madison Goen (9th), Claudia O’Malley (10th), Natalie Graber (12th), Jessica Gockley (15th), and Abby Crouch (34th) were their top seven in what was a very impressive display of pack-running


The Midwest Region is one of - if not the most - competitive region in the NCAA and the Lakers put six runners in the top 15. In most years, that would make Grand Valley State the #1 ranked team in the country.


But 2019 isn't like "most years"...


1. Adams State Grizzlies (0 / 1)

The Grizzlies won the South Central title and once again made a highly competitive race look like a walk in the park.


Stephanie Cotter took home the win again with a time of 20:53. The equally talented Eilish Flanagan was runner-up in 21:01. HaLeigh Hunter-Galavan stepped it up to place 4th in 21:33 while Tiffany Christensen (7th) and Kaylee Bogina (10th) rounded out their top five.


Piper Meuwissen (32nd) and Brianna Robles (41st) seemed to struggle a bit and placed further down in the results than one would have expected, but only the top five scores were needed, so in this case, it did not matter too much. At Nationals, those #6 and #7 runners could easily be the tie-breakers between another top teams.


Overall this was another very impressive performance, but it must be noted that Roisin Flanagan was missing from their lineup again, which means that their performance probably could have been even better if she had run.

ADDED

Michigan Tech Huskies


KICKED OFF

Western Washington Vikings


JUST MISSED (in no particular order)

Walsh Cavaliers

Hillsdale Chargers

Cal St. East Bay Pioneers

Alaska Anchorage Seawolves

Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks


HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order)

Western Washington Vikings

Tampa Spartans

Queens (N.C.) Royals

Seattle Pacific Falcons

Edinboro Fighting Scots

Stonehill Skyhawks

Southwest Baptist Bearcats


TEAM OF THE WEEK

Adams State Grizzlies

It is pretty obvious why the Grizzlies earn "Team of the Week” honors once again. They put five runners in the top 10 and won the race by a solid margin...and they did this without one of their top scorers. The Grizzlies might just be unbeatable.


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

Michigan Tech Huskies

The Huskies have had a decent season so far. They've been a little inconsistent at times, but they have shown us that they know how to peak when it matters the most.


What surprised me is that they were able to pull ahead of Saginaw Valley, a team that has beat them throughout the season at meets such as the MSU Spartan Classic, the Lewis Conference Crossover, and the GLIAC Championships.


On paper, Hillsdale and Walsh have had better and more consistent seasons, but the Huskies pulled through when it mattered the most to secure a runner-up finish.