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Cusick's D2 Review: Update #1

By: John Cusick

Week three is over and we had many Division 2 teams open up their cross country season. We are finally seeing some programs establish clearer varsity lineups while others are showing off their depth.

Let’s take a tour around the country and see where some of these teams stand.


UMass Dartmouth Invite

We’ll begin in Massachusetts where we saw Southern New Hampshire and American International go head-to-head for 8000 meters. The two teams are very familiar with each other as they both compete in the Northeast-10 Conference. In this matchup, we saw SNHU come out on top thanks to a 4-5-7 finish from their top three. Cedric Jocelyn was the lead man for the Penman’s with Micah Hewitson close behind in 5th place. Michael Moreno was the third scorer in 7th. All three were within seven seconds of each other. Ethan Matthews (23rd) and Alex Boedeker (35th) were the fourth and fifth scorers for SNHU which was enough to capture the team title.

The Yellow Jackets finished 3rd as a team and were led by Patric Clark who finished 6th overall. Sam Mehretu was next in 11th place. Charlie Joslin-Allen (24th), Benoit Campion (27th) and Ryan LaFrance (40th) were the final three scorers. It’s worth noting that Leakey Kipkosgei didn’t run for American this weekend. Had he run, I’m sure the 34 point differential between these two teams would have been smaller.

Franklin Pierce, another NE-10 participant, was also a part of this meet. They had scorers at 12-15-22 to piece together a respectable top three. However, scorers four and five were back in 56th and 78th which was still good enough for 4th place at the meet.

Southern Stampede

Let’s move to Missouri where we saw a battle between two top 20 runners in Jacob Klemz and Mason Phillips. After the weekend, we may have a new athlete who is capable of contending for the national title.

The Division 1 school Tulsa took home the team title, but the meet wasn’t about them as we looked through the results. Washburn’s Jacob Klemz claimed the individual title over Missouri Southern’s Gidieon Kimutai. Klemz edge Kimutai by two seconds over 8000 meters of racing.

While Washburn finished 8th overall, it was Missouri Southern who stole the show. After Kimutai was Cody Berry in 12th place, Nickson Kiptoo in 20th, Josh Webb in 24th, and Mike Shanahan in 27th. Missouri Southern finished 2nd as a team and were only 18 points behind an established Tulsa team.

The 3rd place team was Sioux Falls. They’re usually led by Mason Phillips (who was coming off a very successful opening meet a few weeks ago), but this weekend it was Steven Brown who led the way in 5th overall. Phillips was next finisher in 8th place while Zach Lundberg was 17th.

Although the gap between three and four was somewhat big, the fourth and fifth scorers finished 36th and 37th, solidifying the 3rd place team spot.

Other teams of note at this meet were Nebraska-Kearney in 4th and West Texas A&M in 5th place.

MSU Spartan Invite

Let’s jump over to Michigan where we saw Grand Valley State finally run their A squad at the MSU Spartan Invitational.

Zach Panning, our number one ranked runner, finally made his season debut and won the race in a time of 24:45. Teammate Enael Woldemichael (TSR #4) was just a second behind in 24:46 for runner-up. We knew that this Laker duo was going to be good, we just weren’t entirely sure that they would be this dominant. Their 3-4-5 runners also had good races and helped capture a 3rd place team finish. Josh Steible finished 18th, Tanner Chada was 23rd, and Joe Renner was 36th.

Mountaineer Open

The last meet we want to talk about is the Mountaineer Open in Colorado. Although Western State won the team title in convincing fashion behind Taylor Stack, Ross Husch and Charlie Sweeney’s top ten finishes, it was Marcelo Laguera who stole the show for CSU-Pueblo.

Laguera won the individual race with a time of 25:58 and was 18 seconds ahead of Stack. Laguera’s teammate, Derrick Williams, was 5th overall and aided the Thunderwolves in a runner-up team finish. With the transfer of Paul Roberts, CSU-Pueblo will be looking for someone else to come up strong in the 3-4-5 range. Alec Choury was 16th, Cole Munoz was 17th, and Dylan Day was 27th to round out the scoring.


The weekend was full of captivating races where we finally saw some of the best teams in the country debut. We saw some individuals show their fitness and give us something to look forward to when it comes to Conferences, Regionals, and Nationals. It should only get better from this point on in the coming weeks, especially with some of the biggest meets of the year still to come.


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