Men's preview written by Quenten Lasseter
Women's preview written by Grace McLaughlin
The Fifth Annual Lewis Crossover, hosted by Lewis University, will be welcoming a handful of nationally-ranked teams and individuals this weekend. It is a relatively flat course, but with 14 inches of rain coming down over the last few weeks, we could end up seeing a very interesting race as well as a few surprising results...
On the men’s side, we will see four of our Top 10 ranked teams toe the line: Grand Valley State (TSR #4), Missouri Southern (TSR #6), Augustana (S.D.) (TSR #7), and Sioux Falls (TSR #8).
Grand Valley State, the defending national champions, comes in as our top-ranked team. The Lakers last raced at the Buckeye Preview on September 28th, putting five runners inside the top 25 and capping off a 2nd place team finish behind only D1 Penn State.
Individually ranked Tanner Chada (TSR #2) led the charge with a 1st place overall finish with a time of 24:27. Chada is one of the favorites heading into championship season and he has shown his dominance so far. He'll look to take home a season-defining win this weekend in an effort to further flex GVSU's dominance (both individually and team-wise).
All eyes are on #6 Missouri Southern as they haven’t raced in over three weeks. Last time out at their home course, they hosted the Southern Stampede where the Lions took home the team win with 55 points to NW Missouri’s 70. Top-ranked individual Gidieon Kimutai (TSR #1) will also be on everyone’s radar as he looks to continue where he left off. The matchup we see between him and Chada could be a preview of what we end up witnessing in November.
The men of Augustana (S.D.) put their names on the map two weeks ago as they took home the win at the Roy Griak Invitational over a tough field of D2 teams (including a ranked Sioux Falls program). It will be interesting to see if the men of Augustana can keep their momentum going after their dominant performance at Roy Griak. They have been one of the more pleasant surprises of the season.
Sioux Falls will look to bounce back on Saturday after their 3rd place team finish at the Roy Griak Invitational a couple of weeks back. Low-stick Steven Brown had a great finish at that meet, taking home the individual title with a time of 25:03.
However, the major thing to watch for this weekend is how their final two scorers perform. They were distant from Sioux Falls's top three runners in their last meet. If they can run in a tighter pack this weekend, there is no reason why this squad can’t surprise people and get back to what they do best.
The most interesting factor to watch is how the men of Cal St. San Marcos will react after they previously dropped out of our team rankings following a 6th place finish at the Capital Cross Challenge a few weeks back. This team is filled with so much potential and this will be the perfect opportunity to prove that. Don't be shocked to see them get back on track this weekend and walk away with a few upsets.
1. Grand Valley State
2. Missouri Southern
3. Cal St. San Marcos
4. Augustana (S.D.)
5. Sioux Falls
1. Gidieon Kimutai (Missouri Southern State)
2. Tanner Chada (Grand Valley State)
3. Carlee Stimpfel (Saginaw Valley)
4. Mason Phillips (Sioux Falls
5. Titus Winders (Southern Indiana)
6. Joshua Litwiller (Cal St. San Marcos)
7. Austin Nolan (Southern Indiana)
8. Steven Brown (Sioux Falls)
9. Shea Vavra (Cal St. San Marcos)
10. Aaron Runge (Augustana (S.D.))
On the women’s side, Grand Valley State (TSR #1) and Augustana (S.D.) (TSR #6) headline the field. The Lakers started off their season with a 4th place finish at the Knight Invitational without racing their top-runners, but they later took 2nd at the Spartan Invitational where most of their "A" squad toed the line.
However, their best performance of the season so far came at the Ohio State Buckeye Preview where they placed 5th against a handful of strong D1 BIG 10 programs. Led by front-runner Allie Ludge and reliable veteran scorers such as Madison Goen, Jessica Gockley, Hannah Groeber, the Lakers should have another impressive performance this weekend where they are clearly the best team in the field.
Augustana (S.D.) last raced at Roy Griak, where they destroyed the competition by scoring only 36 points. Claire Boersma and Cat Savey were the two aces for their team and were followed by a solid pack of scorers which included Haylee Waterfall, Nicollete Schmidt, and Rachel Rairdon. Augustana could potentially keep things interesting with Grand Valley State this weekend if they run like they did at Roy Griak.
The Vikings are looking to improve upon their 18th place finish at Nationals from last year, and they appear to be in contention for a podium spot so far this fall. Their top front-runners, impressive pack-running, and strong depth has been enough to earn them a #6 ranking in our TSR Top 10. We’ll see if their performance at Lewis will be worthy of a higher ranking.
Although only two ranked teams are in the race, several “on the bubble” teams will be in attendance as well as such as Southern Indiana, Michigan Tech, and Walsh. These three teams have had several solid performances during the season and it should be interesting to watch them battle it out in the mud this weekend.
A few other notable teams are Wayne State, Cal State San Marcos, Northern Michigan, Simon Fraser, Missouri Southern, and Biola.
On the individual side of things, there’s a plethora of talent. If Grand Valley races their top runners, then we will see Allie Ludge (TSR #2), Hannah Groeber (TSR #5), Jessica Gockley (TSR #12), and Madison Goen (TSR #16) toe the line.
Outside of GVSU, we will also have Claire Boersma of Augustana (S.D.) (TSR #9), Taryn Christy of Illinois-Springfield (TSR #13), and Cait Savey of Augustana (S.D.) (TSR #18).
Claire Boersma and Taryn Christy are my dark-horse picks for the race. Boersma was 2nd at Roy Griak in 22:28 and proved herself to be one of the top runners in the country. Christy’s last race was at the MSU Spartan Invite where she ran 21:53, only seven seconds behind Allie Ludge.
With the weather prediction and the fact that it is now the turning point of the season, it is honestly anyone’s race.
Ludge has the experience and highest ranking.
Christy will have fresh legs and should be eager to race again.
Boersma is not afraid to lead the pack and has shown a new level of fitness this fall.
Cait Savey is only a sophomore, but was 5th at Griak and could pull off a surprise win.
Groeber, Gockley, and Goen all have the potential to be up there as well.
There’s a lot of talent and some unknowns entering this race, but it should be an exciting predictor of what is to come in the next few weeks.
1. Grand Valley State Lakers
2. Augustana (S.D.) Vikings
3. Michigan Tech Huskies
4. Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles
5. Walsh Cavaliers
1. Allie Ludge (Grand Valley State)
2. Claire Boersma (Augustana (S.D.))
3. Taryn Christy (Illinois-Springfield)
4. Hannah Groeber (Grand Valley State)
5. Jessica Gockley (Grand Valley State)
6. Cait Savey (Augustana (S.D.))
7. Madison Goen (Grand Valley State)
8. Olivia Brian (Grand Valley State)
9. Natalia Graber (Grand Valley State)
10. Haley Waterfall (Augustana (S.D.))