Predictions are of the writer's opinion and may not match our site's official Kolas projections
The Northeast region is not a historically deep region, with only a couple of teams generally controlling the race and picking up two auto-qualifiers with no at-large bids awarded. This year, however, could be quite different. To no surprise, Syracuse and Iona look to be the top two teams in the region. Where things could get interesting is the race for the next two spots. Stony Brook and Army West Point have been having great seasons and based on our Kolas calculations, they could make it to the Big Dance as well (although the collective predictions from our writers suggests otherwise).
This year’s meet was supposed to be at the Audobon Golf Course in Buffalo, New York, but it was recently announced that due to concerns surrounding athlete safety (ice and poor footing), the course will actually be moved to the roads. The decision to race off of the grass and onto the roads is an unprecedented move that could have a significant impact on the outcome of this race (especially for those athletes who didn't bring racing flats with them).
Syracuse (TSR #15) has won this race for the last six years in a row, but that could change in 2019. The Orange have had about as many ups and downs that a team can have in a single season. In September, they handily won the Battle in Beantown over regional rivals Army, Stony Brook, and Harvard. The next time out, Syracuse finished in a dismal 24th place at the Nuttycombe Invitational. Aidan Tooker, who was 5th overall at the Battle in Beantown (although not Syracuse’s top runner) and did not race in Wisconsin.
This was not the only issue for Syracuse though, as they were just entirely out of contention. The outlook for the Orange was not good at this point, but they bounced back to silence any doubters at the ACC Championships, winning with 68 points over Notre Dame. Tooker was once again out of the lineup, but Syracuse seemed to be fine without him.
Syracuse answered a lot of potential questions at ACC's, proving that can they put together a strong team performance without Tooker and still be a legitimate national contender. Syracuse might not look like the best team in this region on paper, but history and experience says otherwise.
Similar to Syracuse, the Iona men (TSR# 17) have had very consistent results at the Northeast regional meet. They have been 2nd to Syracuse the last four years in a row. However, Iona has not finished worse than 3rd in the Northeast region since the advent of the current system. This sort of consistency is synonymous with Iona cross country. I mean, after all, the Gaels have also won 29 straight MAAC titles.
Iona has had one of their better seasons in recent history, highlighted by a 3rd place finish at Pre-Nationals, finishing ahead of national contenders such as Washington and Ole Miss. They haven't faced much top-tier competition outside of Pre-Nats, but it's hard to dismiss their overall talent.
On paper, Iona has been a more consistent team than Syracuse and should not need to run all-out on Friday in order to qualify for NCAA's. Instead, their focus will be on the national meet.
After Syracuse and Iona, things get a lot more interesting. Stony Brook, Army, and Harvard come in most likely fighting for two spots. Harvard is coming off of a decent upset over Princeton at the Ivy League Championships, although they were still 2nd to Penn in that race. If Harvard wants to make it to NCAA's, they will need to place 3rd and hope to get pushed in by Stony Brook, although this still might not be possible and could keep any teams from getting at-large bids. Harvard has a strong low-stick in Kieran Tuntivate, but may not have quite the same depth as Stony Brook and Army.
Stony Brook enters the Northeast regional meet with great momentum. Fresh off of wins at the America East Championship and the Princeton Invitational, the Seawolves are on a tear. They also finished 4th at Paul Short and 3rd at Beantown ahead of some very strong teams. A 2-3-4-6-7 finish for 22 points at the America East Championships showcases the depth of this team. This is a program that has steadily been improving and climbing up the ranks regionally and nationally, and it looks like it could finally pay off for them.
The men of Army are in a very similar position to that of Stony Brook. They were 2nd at the Battle in Beantown and 7th at Paul Short. They narrowly lost their dual meet with Navy, but edged them out to win the Patriot League title.
Army has also consistently been improving and based on our official projections, will claim a hard-earned NCAA berth (although our regional predictions from all of our other writers suggests that they will not qualify). Army has an incredibly deep team that thrives on pack-running, and after performing well in sub-par conditions at their regional meet, they should be able to brave the cold in Buffalo on Friday.
1. Syracuse - Team Automatic
2. Iona - Team Automatic
3. Stony Brook
1. Kieran Tuntivate (Harvard) - Individual Qualifier
2. Alex Masai (Hofstra) - Individual Qualifier
3. Joe Dragon (Syracuse)
4. Ehab El-Sandali (Iona)
5. Cameron Avery (Stony Brook) - Individual Qualifier
6. Nathan Henderson (Syracuse)
7. Ben Petrella (Army) - Individual Qualifier
8. Kenny Vasbinder (Columbia)
9. Christopher Alfond (UMass Lowell)
10. Ryan Kutch (Fordham)
The Northeast region is generally not too difficult to predict in terms of qualifiers as the top teams typically do not shift a ton. However, the race is often very close and in recent years, single-digit points have separated teams from qualifying for NCAA's and staying home.
The end result could be very similar this year as multiple teams will be battling for what will likely be two spots based on our official Kolas projections. With the possibility that no at-large bids will be awarded, this will be a very tight race as there will be no room for error.
The Columbia women (TSR #19) come in as the team to beat. The Lions have not raced sparingly this season, and have had their fair share of success. Early in the season, the Columbia women won the Iona Meet of Champions over conference rival Cornell before finishing 2nd at the Roy Griak Invitational to TSR #17 California Baptist, a team that is not eligible for postseason competition this year after making the transition to Division One.
Columbia’s top group would go to place 17th in a very deep Nuttycombe Invitational. Most recently, the Columbia women won the Ivy League title with relative ease, showing off a complete top five that was simply too much for other teams to handle. The Lions are clearly the best team in the region this season and will be looking to build momentum heading into NCAA's (barring a disaster).
The Syracuse women began their season with a statement win at the Battle in Beantown. They placed four women in the top 10 to score 38 points, beating out conference and regional rival Boston College. Iowa State transfer Amanda Vestri led the charge, and has proven to be a critical part of this Syracuse team. However, despite the great performance, the Orange took 25th at the Nuttycombe Invitational. This was a stacked race, so Syracuse was not expected to finish near the front, but this was still a disappointing result. The team later went on to place 5th at the ACC Championships, just five points and two places ahead of Boston College.
Amanda Vestri has served as a low-stick for Syracuse all season, but what the Orange truly rely on is their depth. One runner can only bring a team so far, and while Syracuse might not have the perfect lineup, they still have a squad that can get the job done.
Laura Dickinson finished right behind Vestri at the Battle in Beantown, but has been absent from their varsity group since. If she is back, this will seriously boost Syracuse’s chances of taking home the title (or more securely taking 2nd place), but they should be able to manage without her.
The Boston College women have been right on Syracuse’s heels all season, and a similar result can be expected on Friday. The Golden Eagles were runner-up to Syracuse at Beantown and were later 11th at the Joe Piane Invitational and 9th at Pre-Nationals as the top team from the Northeast in both races. Then, as previously noted, they finished just five points and two places behind Syracuse at ACC's.
Boston College is another team that thrives on depth. They are very strong through four runners, but sometimes struggle to put five across the line in quick succession. This could be the difference-maker for the Eagles when it comes to their ability to upset Syracuse. If they can get their #5 runner across the line before Syracuse does, they may be able to pick up an auto-qualification to NCAA's. However, if BC ends up in 3rd place, they will likely narrowly miss out on making the trip to Terre Haute.
As usual, the top Ivy League teams are major players in the Northeast region. While Columbia won the league title, Harvard tied for 2nd and won the tie-breaker against Penn. Yale has also been a respectable team this year, thriving in a handful of competitive meets. However, they struggled a bit at the Ivy League Championships.
Both Harvard and Yale have shown plenty of potential this season, but it's unclear as to who the better team is (based on their overall season resumes) heading into the regional meet. Luckily, we'll get some clarity tomorrow morning.
1. Columbia - Team Automatic
2. Syracuse - Team Automatic
3. Boston College
1. Egle Morenaite (Iona) - Individual Qualifier
2. Abbey Wheeler (Providence) - Individual Qualifier
3. Katie Wasserman (Columbia)
4. Amanda Vestri (Syracuse)
5. Lotte Black (Rhode Island) - Individual Qualifier
6. Anna Juul (Harvard) - Individual Qualifier
7. Hannah Reinhardt (Albany)
8. Isabelle Kennedy (Boston College)
9. Kayley DeLay (Yale)
10. Shannon Murdock (New Hampshire)