Updated: Jul 17, 2019
Andy Snyder: Bigger Gain for San Francisco or Bigger Loss for Washington?
Let's ease into this discussion by starting with Andy Snyder, the 5th year veteran who has opted to use his final year of eligibility at San Francisco University instead of Washington. Admittedly, his resume doesn't stand out like it does for some of these other top-tier transfers. Still, we should not overlook the elder collegiate who has been a very solid scorer for the Huskies over the past few years.
The 2017 cross country season was the first time we were shown signs of promise from Snyder. Despite struggling with some unexciting performances, Snyder had a breakout race at the West Regional Championship meet where he finished 9th overall. He would later return for the 2018 season where he won the Pre-Nats "B" race, finished 17th at the PAC-12 Championships, and then placed 67th at the National Championships.
He may not be an All-American, but his ability to produce strong results and keep excessive scoring at a minimum is far more valuable than some people realize.
This upcoming fall will be a pivotal season for a Washington team that has a chance to make history and completely shakeup the paradigm of power in the NCAA. With key recruits and top-tier transfers entering the program, the Huskies will have plenty of options to choose from as they attempt to create the "perfect" lineup. Still, youth and inexperience can sometimes be an issue for even the best teams in the country. Even with a handful of top talent, having a seasoned, reliable scorer like Snyder can do wonders for a program.
As for San Francisco, having Snyder on their team is a huge gain. Still, it would have been a more impactful move if Jack Rowe had stayed with the group (but more on that later).
For the past few years, the Dons have quietly put together an array of underrated talent that have been able to compete against some of the top teams that the western United States has to offer. Having standout low-sticks (like Chris Olley most recently) and respectable supporting scorers has kept SFU relevant. Even so, they have always been a piece or two away from really making a splash on the nation's biggest stages. Snyder might have been that final piece, but with Jack Rowe no longer on the team, the former Husky seems to be more of a replacement than anything else.
Andy Snyder is a key name who can make an impact on any team and he will likely do that for San Francisco come October and November. Even so, his value with Washington as they pursue a national title is far greater relative than what San Francisco is trying to accomplish.
Final Verdict: Bigger Loss for Washington
Jack Rowe: Bigger Gain for Washington or Bigger Loss for San Francisco?
Despite Andy Snyder going to San Francisco, the Dons had to make an unknown sacrifice in return. That sacrifice was sending Jack Rowe - a 7:58/13:54/28:50 long distance runner who finished 83rd at last year's XC National Championships - to Washington.
With Andy Snyder no longer in Washington, the Huskies have to be pumped to receive a transfer who is more than capable of replacing Snyder.
But there's a catch.
The status of Rowe's collegiate eligibility is still unclear. This past year, he was listed as a senior in both cross country and outdoor track. He still has one season of eligibility left for indoor track according to TFRRS. Will Rowe appeal to the NCAA and gain another year of eligibility (if he hasn't already)? Or will he simply be going to train under Powell for a single season of competition?
We don't have the answer to that (yet), but if Rowe does gain additional cross country eligibility (which is what certain members of the media are suggesting), then he will provide Washington with additional stability in the middle of their lineup.
However, the potential upside that Rowe brings to the table could be the most overlooked aspect of this entire Washington/San Francisco "trade". Earning two major personal bests in both the 5k and 10k this past spring leaves us to believe that Rowe could be in the All-American conversation if everything goes right for him this fall.
Rowe hasn't always been perfect during cross country, but placing 5th at the West Regional Championships and 83rd at NCAA's are decent indicators that he can be a legitimate scoring threat on the grass and dirt.
But what about San Francisco? How will losing Rowe impact the Dons? If we're assuming that Rowe still has eligibility for cross country, then his departure from the team has to hurt quite a bit, especially when you consider that he could have paired up with Andy Snyder while flanking a true ace like Chris Olley. Would that have been enough to earn San Francisco a birth to Nationals? Who knows, but at least it would have put them in that conversation.
So is this a bigger gain for Washington or a bigger loss for San Francisco? Truthfully, it's all about what you value more and how you look at the situation. We don't know if Rowe has eligibility outside of indoor track. If he doesn't, then the impact of his transfer is essentially inconsequential.
But if he does, then San Francisco lost a piece that could have elevated them to another level in the national qualifying conversation. But in comparison, is that really as important as what Washington could be getting in terms of his potential this fall? The Huskies likely have enough men to fill the middle of their lineup, but the idea of Rowe being an All-American gives the Huskies enough theoretical firepower to compete with anyone who stands in their way.
Final Verdict: Bigger Gain for Washington
Andrew Jordan: Bigger Gain for Washington or Bigger Loss for Iowa State?
We have finally arrived at what might be the most fascinating transfer of 2019 (so far). News of Andrew Jordan leaving Iowa State for Washington has a massive impact on the balance of power in the NCAA and it completely realigns expectations for both teams.
Not familiar with Andrew Jordan? Let's get you caught up.
The superstar high schooler first came to Iowa State back in 2016. His arrival would mark the beginning of a new era for the Cyclones distance program which found themselves rapidly improving in the national rankings. After a respectable freshman year, Jordan would begin to light up the track as a sophomore, placing 4th in back-to-back races (BIG 12's and Midwest Regionals) before securing a huge 15th place finish at the 2017 XC National Championships.
Unfortunately, this past year of competition was generally underwhelming. Jordan consistently gave Iowa State a boost in the scoring, but he never seemed to match his 2017 performances on the cross country course. Once Jordan transitioned to the track, he ran a huge time of 7:51 for 3000 meters, but faltered at the national meet where he finished 12th overall.
And this past outdoor season? Well, it was nonexistent for the Iowa State ace who was rumored to have sustained an injury that forced him out of spring competition (although that is unconfirmed).
When we review his recent struggles, it's understandable why Jordan may want a fresh start. The Ohio native was one of the best and brightest young stars in the country just a few years ago. Now, as his eligibility nears expiration, Jordan will look to capitalize on his fitness in Seattle under the direction of Andy Powell...and the move couldn't have come at a better time for the Huskies.
After finishing as the 6th place team at last year's XC National Championships, Coach Powell's group has put everyone on high alert for 2019. Many of the Huskies from last year's squad are set to return and will be joined by some of the best young stars from around the country and the globe (i.e. Sam Tanner and Samuel Affolder). Adding an elite low-stick like Andrew Jordan suddenly thrusts the Huskies into the national title conversation. If he's 100% healthy, the Dawgs can do some serious damage with a top seven that will be front heavy with potential All-Americans.
Yet, what some people fail to realize is that the Huskies lost their top runner from last year's national meet (Tanner Anderson). The long distance veteran who finished 19th at NCAA's has now graduated*, leaving a major hole in the top portion of Washington's lineup. Although Andrew Jordan will likely replace Anderson's at the top position, the impact he can provide from a scoring standpoint is minimal at best.
*TFRRS indicates that Anderson was a junior last year, but he had three seasons of cross country at Oregon before using his final season of eligibility at Washington. He is likely finished with collegiate competition in cross country.
Let's suppose we took last year's results from Nationals, made Andrew Jordan the overall winner, and removed Tanner Anderson. The end result would yield a net benefit of only 16 team points for Washington. That would have only been enough to leapfrog Stanford (who finished 5th in the team standings) by four points.
Of course, this isn't to suggest that Washington won't be any better than they were last year. In comparison to other top programs, they are in a much better position. Teams like Northern Arizona, BYU, Portland, Stanford, and Wisconsin lose a handful of All-American low-sticks and will be tasked with reconstructing lineups than can still compete for a spot on the podium.
On the flip side, Iowa State has to be hurting...a lot. The Cyclones were riding consecutive years of major success after earning back-to-back 7th place finishes at the XC National Championships. The Kurgat/Jordan duo was one of the best 1-2 punches in the country and they were often supported by an extremely deep roster that was capable of providing interchangeable lineup options each and every weekend.
But what the team really banked on was their firepower. With Jordan no longer available, the men from Ames, Iowa will be scrambling to find a new name to step up and replace the wildly valuable scoring potency that Jordan brought to the table.
This isn't necessarily the downfall of Iowa State, but it certainly feels like the end of an era for a team that may struggle to match what they were able to accomplish over the last two years.
Final Verdict: Bigger Loss for Iowa State