2019 XC D2 Top 10 Teams (Women): 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.

10. Cal State East Bay Pioneers (Unranked)

We would be lying if we said that Cal State East Bay had a fantastic regular season, but they were by no means bad and every other team that was in consideration for this spot didn't have the standout performance that the Pioneers had this past weekend.


The Pioneers shocked a lot of people with their 9th place finish this past weekend. Prior to this meet, their notable performances this season included an 11th place finish at the Capital Cross Challenge, a 2nd place result at the CCAA Championships, and a 3rd place finish at the West Regional Championships.


Angelina Ronquillo served as their front-runner for this team with a clutch 30th place finish. She was followed by Claire Fisher in 60th, Amanda Navarro in 80th, Andea Romero in 138th, and Alondra Ortiz in 146th. It wasn't the most exciting top five, but it got the job done and stood out enough to give the Pioneers an edge over some talented squads.


9. Alaska Anchorage Seawolves (Unranked)

The UAA women were in a similar spot as their Cal State East Bay counterparts. They had a somewhat average regular season (relative to a few other programs), but their great performance at Nationals paired with a few (slightly) underwhelming results from other teams left this group with a TSR #9 ranking.


The Seawolves surprised us with their 8th place finish this past weekend. They had two runners in the top 10 while their #3 runner was 89 spots back in 99th. Emmanuelah Chelimo was 5th overall while Nancy Jeptoo was 10th. Joan Kipsanai finished in 99th and was followed by Ruth Cvancara in 160th. Yvanne Jeschke rounded out their scoring five in 165th place.


The Seawolves owe a lot of their success to their 1-2 punch of Chelimo and Jeptoo, but having two elite low-sticks has proven to be an effective scoring method in large national meets before (think Alabama men at the 2017 D1 National Championships).


8. Walsh Cavaliers (Unranked)

The Walsh Cavaliers were 10th overall at Nationals to finish their season, but their regular season was good enough to give them an edge over Alaska Anchorage and Cal State East Bay in our rankings.


Prior to Saturday, the Cavaliers were 3rd at the Lewis Conference Crossover, 2nd at the GMAC Championships, and 3rd at the Midwest Regional Championships. They were on the cusp of a top 10 ranking a few times this season, and finally solidified their place in our top 10 this past weekend.


Low-stick Andra Lehotay led the way with a 41st place finish, just missing out on All-American honors. Next were Alexa Leppelmeier (85th) and Bridget Hahn (90th), two runners who acted as the middle supporting scorers of this lineup. Claire Robertson (111th) and Bre Bakan (144th) rounded out the Cavaliers' scoring five.


Their team was more spread out than most, and they lacked game-changing scoring potency, but they were able to pull off a top 10 finish to close out a very respectable season.


7. Chico State Wildcats (0 / 7)

The Wildcats placed 7th at Nationals with 319 points. Nora Pizzella had one of her better races by placing 60th overall. Gracie Dupuis was not far behind in 64th. Consistent low-stick Talia Swangler ended her day in 79th place while Destiny Everett was 83rd. Taylor Bailey-Lustyan rounded out their scorers by finishing 103rd.


Chico State didn't have any All-Americans or a clear front-runner, but their balanced team and relatively close pack earned them a top 10 finish at Nationals. In the grand scheme of things, their performance wasn't anything that we haven't already seen from them this season. They executed their race plan exactly like we thought they would.


6. Augustana (S.D.) Vikings (-2 / 4)

Augustana (S.D.) placed 6th at Nationals to cap off a phenomenal season. Nicolette Schmidt led the way with a 43rd place finish, just missing All-American honors. Cait Savey placed 53rd while Rebekah Rairdon finished 61st, Claire Boersma finished 65th, and Patty Jo English rounded out the scoring in 72nd.


The Vikings top five spread was only 20 seconds and although they lacked a lineup-defining low-stick, their pack-running and consistency translated extremely well at the national meet.


5. U-Mary Marauders (0 / 5)

The Marauders won the “Battle of the Dakotas” by a single point point, 233 to 234, over Augustana this past Saturday. Front-runner Ida Narbuvoll led the way with a 4th place finish while freshman Kayla Ogle ended her outstanding season with All-American honors in 34th place.


The always consistent Starlynn Costa was their #3 runner in 69th place while Taylor Hestekin and Lacey Feist-Young closed out the scoring, finishing 84th and 87th, respectfully.


Narbuvoll and Ogle helped keep their point total low (like they have all season long) and having Hestekin and Young finish together was enough to give the Marauders an edge over Augustana.


4. Western Colorado Mountaineers (+2 / 6)

The Mountaineers had their best performance of the season with a 4th place finish at Nationals. A tight pack allowed for Western Colorado to upset some higher ranked teams and sneak their way onto the podium.


Alexia Thiros was their only All-American with a 39th place finish. Not far behind was Katie Doucette in 42nd, Alyssa Tatum in 46th, and Hannah Mae Gigstad in 49th. Alexa Rodgriguez and Bailey Sharon were the #5 and #6 runners for this team in 63rd and 66th place, respectively, further emphasizing the strength of Western Colorado's lineup as a whole.


3. Colorado Mines Orediggers (0 / 3)

The Orediggers earned a 3rd place finish and had three All-American runners. Chloe Cook placed 7th overall while Morgan Molesworth had a breakout performance to finish in 16th. Consistent low-stick Zoe Baker ended her Saturday in 19th place, giving the CMS women a lethal 1-2-3 punch.


However, it was Brook Eberle (47th) and Madeline Geesen (70th) who were the real heroes for this team by putting together a pair of very respectable performances which kept their excess scoring at a minimum.


Another strong finish at Nationals has further established Colorado Mines as a D2 powerhouse.


2. Grand Valley State Lakers (0 / 2)

The reigning national champions earned runner-up honors this year with 87 points. Allie Ludge led the way with a 12th place finish, followed closely by Hanna Groeber in 14th and Jessica Gockley in 18th. Klaudia O’Malley (24th) and Natalie Graber (32nd) rounded out the Lakers' scorers. Olivia Brian and Madison Goen closed out GVSU's varsity seven by placing 45th and 74th, respectively.


Graber had an off-day, but even at her best, the results would have been about the same. Grand Valley had five All-Americans and a 20 second time spread among their top five (20:34 to 20:54). The fact that they did not win the national title with those kind of results is mind-boggling, but the performance that beat them is even more astounding...


1. Adams State Grizzlies (0 / 1)

The Grizzlies dominated the field and tied the lowest score in Division Two National Championship history with 23 points. Adams State took the first three individual spots with Stephanie Cotter (1st, 19:15), Eilish Flanagan (2nd, 19:39), and Roisin Flanagan (3rd, 19:39) leading the way.


HaLeigh Hunter-Galvan was also in the top 10 with a 6th place finish while Tiffany Christensen had a fantastic day and finished 13th overall. Kaylee Bogina and Piper Meuwissen also raced and earned All-American honors, both running just under 21 minutes in 25th and 31st, respectfully.


This was an insanely impressive performance by Adams State. Their Irish trio and arsenal of All-Americans assembled what may have been one of the greatest lineups in D2 history.

ADDED

Alaska Anchorage Seawolves

Cal State East Bay Pioneers

Walsh Cavaliers


KICKED OFF

Lee (Tenn.) Flames

UCCS Mountain Lions

Michigan Tech Huskies


JUST MISSED (in no particular order)

Lee (Tenn.) Flames

UCCS Mountain Lions

Hillsdale Chargers

Seattle Pacific Falcons

Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles


HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order)

Northwest Nazarene

Western Washington

Edinboro

Saginaw Valley

Southwest Baptist

Queens (N.C.)

Michigan Tech Huskies


TEAM OF THE WEEK

Adams State Grizzlies

I feel like it is pretty obvious why…


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

Cal St. East Bay Pioneers

The Pioneers beat several solid teams to earn an 8th place finish. Cal St. East Bay has talent, but they lacked performances throughout the season that would lead us to believe that they were capable of a top 10 finish at NCAA's. Props to the Pioneers for surprising us and peaking when it matters.


NOTES

- Editors Note: Some readers may question why our rankings are essentially the top 10 results from the national meet (albeit in a different order among the 8-9-10 spots), but the top 10 teams from Saturday could be argued as the top 10 teams from the entire season. There wasn't much parity or subjectivity among the top women's teams in Division Two this year, and although you could make the argument for certain teams over others, we felt relatively confident that this order is an accurate representation of the season as a whole.