Updated: Oct 4, 2018
Four weeks are in the books (technically five, but we're starting a week behind) and they’ve been magical so far. Well, at least as a spectator, I’ve gotten everything I’ve wanted out of the season so far. If you’re an athlete, you may or may not feel the same way. If you’re reading this, then you’ll understand that the athletes listed below are experiencing some major success early on in their seasons.
Let’s get things started.
Outside looking inAustin Pasch (Minnesota State)
Hosava Kretzmann (Fort Lewis)
Nathan Schroeder (Augustana (S.D.))
Joshua Chepkesir (UNC Pembroke)
Eddie King (Chico State)
Corbin Hansen (Nebraska-Kearney)
Christian Noble (Lee (Tenn.))
20. Steven Brown | Previously: N/A | Movement: N/A
Jumping into our rankings this week is Sioux Falls’ Steven Brown. Brown finished 7th at the Roy Griak Invitational and helped lead his team to a 2nd place finish. Brown qualified for the National Championships last spring and has gotten off to a good start this year in cross country. Given his progression from last year, Brown should continue to see success as we get closer to the conference weekends.
19. Dustin Nading | Previously: 20 | Movement: Up 1
Western Oregon was idle this weekend, but Nading has impressed early this season and looks to be enjoying the cross country circuit.
18. Gidieon Kimutai | Previously: 19 | Movement: Up 1
Missouri Southern was idle this weekend as well. Kimutai has put together solid performances early on and should continue to improve given his youth as a freshman.
17. Ricardo Ocampo | Previously: 14 | Movement: Down 3
It gets harder to keep Ocampo here as he hasn’t debuted yet, but I still strongly believe that the Orediggers of Colorado Mines will be in the mix come November.
16. Logan Ramlet | Previously: 13 | Movement: Down 3
Just as we mentioned with Ocampo, we are in the same situation with Ramlet. I’m still awaiting his debut along with the rest of his team in a few weeks.
15. Bashir Aidrus | Previously: 16 | Movement: Up 1
Aidrus finally competed at the Roy Griak Invitational where he finished 20th overall. He debuted more than 90 seconds faster than he did last year and his end result saw him place 18th at the national meet. Aidrus is in a good spot and doesn’t look to have taxed his legs early on in the season. I think we’ll continue to see him progress forward on this list.
14. Ross Husch | Previously: 15 | Movement: Up 1
Western State was idle this weekend as they get ready for the Lewis Conference Crossover on Saturday.
13. Kale Adams | Previously: 17 | Movement: Up 4
This was the performance that we were looking for early on in the season from Adams. Despite the early struggles, it seems like he has gotten his legs back after finishing 22nd at the Stanford Invite with a time just under 25:00. He’ll only get faster from here as he looks to regain his form from last year and create more depth for the Grizzlies.
12. Andrew Curry | Previously: 12 | Movement: None
Dallas Baptist sat idle this weekend. Curry will look to add another victory to his name at the South Central Regional Preview this weekend in Denver.
11. Jacob Klemz | Previously: 11 | Movement: None
Washburn was idle as well this weekend and will be joining plenty of schools at the Lewis Invitational this weekend.
10. Grant Colligan | Previously: 8 | Movement: Down 2
Colorado Mines has yet to debut. Colligan drops due to the absence, but he will still be an athlete to consider as the season unfolds.
9. Taylor Stack | Previously: 9 | Movement: None
Another athlete on a team that was idle. Western State is headed to Lewis as well where we will see some of these top athletes face off against each other.
8. Joshua Joseph | Previously: 10 | Movement: Up 2
Joseph finished 18th at the Stanford Invitational while acting as the third scorer for the Grizzlies. He was the 3rd D2 athlete across the line with a time of 24:46. He moves up two spots due to Colligan's lack of racing and Stack staying idle this weekend. I think Joseph is in a good spot at this point in the season as he improves his fitness and continues to move up the ranks.
7. Marcelo Laguera | Previously: 7 | Movement: None
CSU-Pueblo was also idle this weekend. They’ll be headed to Lewis this weekend in search of some quality results.
6. Mason Phillips | Previously: 6 | Movement: None
I had a hard time leaving Phillips here at #6 after a dominant performance at Roy Griak this weekend. He won by nine seconds and successfully defended his crown from last year’s race as well. His 24:53 would have placed him inside the top 10 of the Gold section. Phillips ran a controlled and exerted energy when he needed to run away from the field. He’s 37 seconds faster this time around and is continuing to get better. I love Phillips as a dark horse as the season continues.
5. Elias Gedyon | Previously: 5 | Movement: None
Gedyon was the second scorer for the Grizzlies at Stanford over the weekend. He was seventh overall and the 2nd D2 runner to cross the finish line. He’s moving along the same trajectory as last year when we look at his times and that only spells trouble for his competitors. Gedyon continues to impress with his range from a mile all the way to 10,000 meters.
4. Leakey Kipkosgei | Previously: 3 | Movement: Down 1
Kipkosgei only moves down a position because he was idle, and because of the performances we saw from the athletes in front of him. He’s still a serious contender for the top spot.
3. Enael Woldemichael | Previously: 4 | Movement: Up 1
Woldemichael raced for the second time this season and had another spectacular race. He ran 23:50 and finished runner-up (only to his teammate) while helping Grand Valley State crush the field at the Loyola Lakefront Invitational. The sophomore continues to build upon a very impressive freshman year. He’s taken every step that we would like to see from him in terms of racing and consistency in order to be considered a legitimate threat to win the national title.
2. Sydney Gidabuday | Previously: 2 | Movement: None
It’s hard to say Gidabuday doesn’t deserve the number one spot after this weekend’s performance that saw him go toe-to-toe with some of the best collegiate runners in D1. Gidabuday finished 2nd overall at the Stanford Invite (only behind Robert Brandt who ran unattached) and traversed the course in 23:55. It’s clear that any issues that were holding him back last year during cross country and the outdoor season are gone. He’s ready to claim the only title he hasn’t won individually.
1. Zach Panning | Previously: 1 | Movement: None
Panning claimed his second overall title of the season this weekend while helping the Lakers demolish a multitude of teams at Loyola Lakefront. He finished the course in 23:47 and again reminded us that he’s ready to take on anyone in the country. He hasn’t missed a beat from the outdoor season that saw him take home the 5000 meter crown and runner-up in the 10,000. It’ll be exciting to see what happens when Panning is placed in a field amongst other D2 athletes.
There are athletes that are beginning to show us their true level of fitness and it’s getting exciting. We are going to see most of these athletes collide within the next couple of weeks and it’ll be interesting to see where some of them end up.
Like always, let us know if you agree or disagree with these. And of course, let us know if you think someone else should be here. We love a good debate.