Predictions & Previews: Regionals (Pt. 1)



NOTE: These predictions are the same as our KOLAS projections. If these predictions were to be 100% true, they would follow the logic of our KOLAS projections.

NORTHEAST

Analysis

Admittedly, the Northeast region is rather predictable this year. Justyn Knight is the clear-cut favorite to take it all while his teammates are expected to flank him for most of the race. The goal for these Syracuse individuals is to simply pull away from the field and secure their spot to NCAA's. Iona's Chartt Miller and Gilbert Kirui are two experienced veterans who have had success at the longer distances. However, Kirui is (apparently) coming off of an injury that held him back from competing during the entire regular season. Will he be fit enough to be an impact runner at the 10k distance? Other names to keep an eye out for will be Ryan Thomas (Columbia) and Paul Luevano (Boston U). Both of these athletes walked away as conference champions two weeks ago. Hopefully, they'll be able to continue that momentum on Friday.

From a team perspective, this race is also pretty easy to decide when talking about the top two automatic qualifying spots. Syracuse has simply been the better team throughout the 2017 season with firepower that very few teams can match. At the Wisconsin Invite, many questioned the reliability of their 5th scorer. However, at ACC's, the skeptics were quickly dismissed as their 5th scorer (Joe Dragon) finished 9th overall. Iona hasn't looked as strong as they have historically been (especially after their Wisconsin performance), but with Gilbert Kirui back in the lineup and Chartt Miller expected to rebound, the Gaels seem to be in a good spot to secure the 2nd automatic berth to NCAA's. Behind Syracuse and Iona is where things get interesting. Columbia had an impressive showing at the Ivy League Championships by placing four in the top 10, but fell to Princeton who simply had too much firepower. If the Lions can replicate that kind of pack running at regionals, then they could be primed for a huge upset.

Individuals

1. Justyn Knight (Syracuse)

2. Colin Bennie (Syracuse)

3. Chartt Miller (Iona)

4. Aidan Tooker (Syracuse)

5. Gilbert Kirui (Iona)

6. Philo Germano (Syracuse)

7. Ryan Thomas (Columbia)

8. Sean Burke (Boston College)

9. Kevin James (Syracuse)

10. Kenny Vasbinder (Columbia)

11. Johannes Motschmann (Iona)

12. Liam Dee (Iona)

13. Paul Luevano (Boston U)

14. Andrew Tario (Iona)

15. Dominic DeLuca (Cornell)

Teams

1. Syracuse Orangemen

2. Iona Gaels

3. Columbia Lions

4. Army West Point

SOUTHEAST

Analysis

The Southeast region is an exciting region to talk about this year. There are so many new up-and-coming names that are beginning to emerge as legitimate contenders on the national stage. Because of this, the Southeast region will be very competitive and very deep. In reality, almost anyone could walk away with the regional crown. However, the most consistent performer this season has been Campbell's Amon Kemboi who has been closely followed by Liberty's Azaria Kirwa on multiple occasions. Kemboi got the best of Kirwa at the BIG South Championships, but it was only by two seconds. Could we see the roles reversed on Friday? In-state rivals Brent Demarest and Peter Seufer will be another great matchup to watch. After struggling at Wisconsin, Demarest pulled out an incredible 2nd place finish at ACC's to once again establish himself as a true ace. Seufer, who was 2nd at Pre-Nats, didn't have his best day at ACC's where he placed 7th overall. We also can't forget about Jacob Thomson who has been very consistent throughout this entire season. An experienced veteran like Thomson should do well at the 10k distance and give him an edge against a field that is relatively young.

From a team perspective, Furman and Virginia Tech are the favorites to grab the top two spots. Furman's depth is arguably the best in the NCAA when you consider how experienced they are and how consistent they have been. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech can attribute much of their success to low-stick Peter Seufer and #2 man Dan Jaskowak. With a strong top two and slew of reliable scorers, the Hokies have been able to thrive in some of the most competitive meets in the nation this year like the Greater Louisville Classic, Pre-Nats, and ACC's. They are deep through seven scorers, but they'll need to close their gaps to compete with Furman. Other programs like Campbell, Eastern Kentucky, NC State, and Virginia are all programs that will be fighting for a spot to NCAA's. Campbell has arguably the best top four in the field, but their 5th man is lacking. Eastern Kentucky is a complete squad through five men, but they haven't been all that consistent. NC State is deep and experienced, but without a low-stick, they may not be able to separate themselves from the field. Virginia's top three runners are some of the best in the Southeast region, but their underclassmen at the 4th and 5th scoring positions have not been reliable.

Individuals

1. Amon Kemboi (Campbell)

2. Azaria Kirwa (Liberty)

3. Brent Demarest (Virginia)

4. Peter Seufer (Virginia Tech)

5. Jacob Thomson (Kentucky)

6. Erick Rotich (Eastern Kentucky)

7. Lawrence Kipkoech (Campbell)

8. Aaron Templeton (Furman)

9. Josh Brickell (Furman)

10. Lachlan Cook (Virginia)

11. Dan Jaskowak (Virginia Tech)

12. Tanner Hinkle (Furman)

13. Tom Nobles (Charlotte)

14. James Quattlebaum (Clemson)

15. Meshack Kipruto (Campbell)

16. Frank Lara (Furman)

17. Troy Reeder (Furman)

18. Vincent Ciattei (Virginia Tech)

19. Jamaine Coleman (Eastern Kentucky)

20. Justin Moakler (Morehead State)

Teams

1. Furman Paladins

2. Virginia Tech Hokies

3. Campbell Camels

4. Eastern Kentucky Colonels

5. NC State Wolfpack

6. Virginia Cavaliers

WEST

Analysis

Sure, Edward Cheserek has graduated, but Grant Fisher is still a top-tier ace who will be the heavy favorite when he toes the starting line on Friday. After Fisher crosses the line, any spot is up for grabs. Alex Ostberg has looked awfully good this season after placing 12th at Wisconsin and 4th at PAC 12's. He will once again battle against the men from Portland who have proven to be one of the bigger surprises of this season. We may have him at 7th in our predictions, but Emmanuel Rouldolff-Levisse is someone who could make some noise this weekend. The french transfer has experience on the global cross country championship stage back in Europe and based on comments made in interviews by the Portland team, ERL has apparently run 29 minutes and change in the 10k before. With this information in mind, he should be able to handle the transition to 10k quite well. Others like Cooper Teare and Garrett Reynolds have had strong performances all season, but their youth and lack of experience could be an interesting factor to consider when they race 2000 meters longer.

The top two teams in this meet will most likely be Stanford and Portland. These teams have a strong group of scorers up front and haven't shown too much weakness at the 4th and 5th scoring positions (although Stanford's last few scorers have been inexperienced freshmen). Both of these teams would need to tragically fall apart during the race to not place in the top two. As we transition to the other teams, things begin to get a bit more crowded. For the 2nd year in a row, UCLA pulled off an upset against Oregon at PAC 12's to establish themselves as the favorites to place 3rd this Friday. With Matthew Maton no longer in the lineup, UCLA's combination of Robert Brandt and Garrett Reynolds gives the Bruins a low-stick advantage that the Ducks simply don't have. Boise State is in a similar situation as UCLA, but they have lacked consistency, especially from their top ace Yusuke Uchikoshi has not been himself this season. On paper, Boise State is a team that can place 3rd at this meet, but now we just need to see it. Washington and Washington State are also two teams that will battle it out with the rest of the field. They have the experience and depth on their side, but gaps and inconsistency will be their biggest weakness in a large race like this.

Individuals

1. Grant Fisher (Stanford)

2. Alex Ostberg (Stanford)

3. Jeff Thies (Portland)

4. Robert Brandt (UCLA)

5. Nick Hauger (Portland)

6. Emmanuel Rouldolff-Levisse (Portland)

7. Miler Haller (Boise State)

8. Steven Fahy (Stanford)

9. Michael Williams (Washington State)

10. Yusuke Uchikoshi (Boise State)

11. Troy Fraley (Gonzaga)

12. Cooper Teare (Oregon)

13. Garrett Reynolds (UCLA)

14. Thomas Madden (UC Davis)

15. Trent Brendel (California)

16. Tanner Anderson (Oregon)

17. Ben Alcock (San Francisco)

18. Jack Keelan (Stanford)

19. Andrew Gardner (Washington)

20. Chandler Tiegen (Washington State)

Teams

1. Stanford Cardinal

2. Portland Pilots

3. UCLA Bruins

4. Oregon Ducks

5. Boise State Broncos

6. Washington Huskies

7. Washington State Cougars

8. California Golden Bears

9. San Francisco Dons

MID-ATLANTIC

Analysis

The individual battle will most likely be won by Jonathan Green who is on his 2017 comeback tour by consistently stringing together strong performances. Hopefully, Colin Abert and Andrew Marston will make Green work for his title. Those three will be the candidates primed for a potential upset. At the same time, you can't count out Conor Lundy. His performances in 2017 haven't been quite as strong as his 2016 results, but he is certainly an x-factor that can never be ruled out.

The Mid-Atlantic region will most likely be the region where we see the most Kolas points given out to other teams. In my mind, Georgetown's history of success paired with their depth and superstar low-stick gives them the edge that others teams just don't have. Sure, they haven't been super impressive this season, but have enough to defend their regional title. After Georgetown, the 2nd automatic berth that becomes a little more uncertain. After such a dominant performance at the Ivy League Championships, Princeton is looking like the team that is favored to grab the 2nd spot. Princeton may have impressed many of us at Heps, but the other teams in this field simply failed to show a "wow" factor. Penn State fell to 8th at BIG 10's, Penn dropped to 91 points and 3rd overall at Heps, Navy was edged out by Army at the Patriot League Championships, and Villanova was upset by Butler at BIG East's.

Individuals

1. Jonathan Green (Georgetown)

2. Colin Abert (Penn State)

3. Andrew Marston (Villanova)

4. Casey Comber (Villanova)

5. Conor Lundy (Princeton)

6. Noah Kaupila (Princeton)

7. Reilly Bloomer (Georgetown)

8. Jack Van Scoter (Georgetown)

9. Garrett O'Toole (Princeton)

10. Patrick Reilly (Lehigh)

11. Tim McGowan (Penn State)

12. Cory Donley (Navy)

13. Kevin Murray (Navy)

14. Spencer Brown (Georgetown)

15. Christopher Luciano (Penn)

Teams

1. Georgetown Hoyas

2. Princeton Tigers

3. Penn State Nittany Lions

4. Navy Midshipmen

SOUTH

Analysis

Any time Alabama races, it seems rather obvious that their top three will secure six points. On Friday, I don't see that scenario changing as the 10k distance only benefits these three even more. Of course, they will not have an easy time trying to stay together. They lost to MTSU ace, Jacob Choge, earlier this season and will need to battle him again. I'd also like to point out that Edwin Kurgat deserves plenty of respect in this race. He has quietly been one of the best performers in the southern portion of the NCAA this season after finshing 9th at the Greater Louisville Classic, 5th at the Crimson Classic (behind the Alabama trio and Choge), and later went on to win a very underrated Ohio Valley Conference title. Others like Sean Tobin, Nahom Solomon, and Bryan Kamau have all shown that they can be contenders at any big-meet, but there are plenty of sleepers that could potentially upset them.

The South region team race is where the biggest debate of the season is finally answered. Ole Miss has looked strong throughout most of the season after placing 5th at Pre-Nats while Middle Tennessee State has been quietly finished 6th at the Greater Louisville Classic and 1st at the Crimson Classic over Alabama (on a tie-breaker). Of course, it's hard to forget that the Crimson Tide pulled off a huge upset at SEC's where they upended Ole Miss by one point to finish 2nd overall. The team race between these three is close and unfortunately, one team is going to be left outside of the top two. If that team is Mississippi, it won't be much of an issue due to the amount of Kolas points they already have. If it's Middle Tennessee State or Alabama, then one of them may not make it to the Big Dance. At the end of the day, I just don't see Ole Miss losing. They are too deep and too experienced for teams without a complete top five to upset them (again). As we transition to the 10k distance, I trust MTSU's final two scorers more than Alabama's final two scorers. For that reason alone, I have Alabama placing 3rd overall.

Individuals

1. Vincent Kiprop (Alabama)

2. Gilbert Kigen (Alabama)

3. Alfred Chelanga (Alabama)

4. Jacob Choge (MTSU)

5. Edwin Kurgat (Tenn. - Martin)

6. Sean Tobin (Mississippi)

7. Nahom Solomon (Georgia Tech)

8. Bryan Kamau (Georgia)

9. Arsene Guillorel (Samford)

10. Derek Gutierrez (Mississippi)

11. Zach Long (Tennessee)

12. Gilbert Boit (Tenn. Tech)

13. Kigen Chemadi (MTSU)

14. Parker Scott (Mississippi)

15. Austin Sprague (Georgia)

16. David Barney (Florida State)

17. Kevin Wyss (Auburn)

18. Parker Scott (Mississippi)

19. Wesley Robinson (Tennessee)

20 Stanley Linton (Florida State)

Teams

1. Mississippi Rebels

2. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

4. Florida State Seminoles

COMING ON THURSDAY . . .

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MIDWEST

WEST

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