Read & Review: D3 Edition

The Power of the Midwest

Written by Brett Haffner

At the Wheaton Gil Dodds Invite, the University of Chicago women took the team title over Wash U., 34 to 49. It was an impressive performance for the victorious Maroon as they had a 15 second split within their scoring five, led by Abigail Shoemaker. While some may call it an upset, it is important to note the absence of All-American Aly Wayne and returning national champion Paige Lawler for Wash U. Even without those two, it was a solid day for the Bears, with returners Katie Snodgrass and Megan Girmscheid leading the way.

Individually, freshman Anastasia Tucker of Hope stole the show, giving her a victory over All-American Aryn Embretson of Wheaton. Tucker was very solid in high school, and has clearly improved since then based on this great performance. With more 6k experience to come throughout the rest of the season, it will be interesting to see what she can do throughout this fall. She’s proven herself by defeating some All-Americans already, but how high can she go? Maybe we see some single-digit, championship contending potential? We shall find out soon enough.

For the men, North Central once again ran a full squad against some quality competition. After mixing up with some D1 talent last weekend at Illinois State, the Cardinals took a decisive victory over D3 squads Wash U. and the University of Chicago, scoring just 29 points. Matt Osmulski ran unsurprisingly well while Gabe Pommier is really coming around as the Cardinals’ #2 man.

He’s finished near Osmulski in all three of their races this year, creating a good tail-end to a potentially killer 1-2 punch for North Central. Very similarly to their women (with both genders scoring 49 points), the Wash U. men ran solidly, even with the absence of their lead man Nick Matteucci. The Bears had a 30 second split among their top six runners, and were led by Joe Stover and Marco Quaroni. Once Matteucci is back in the lineup, the Bears should be ready to roll right with the best of D3.

Individually, Ryan Cutter from U. of Chicago over Matt Osmulski was a bit of a surprise, finishing just within a second of each other. After finishing 20th at Nationals last year, Cutter had a solid indoor season, culminating with a 10th place finish in the 3k at Nationals. However, he did not race during outdoors at all. While he may be underrated/overlooked, he could be someone to sneakily land in the top five come this November.

At Carleton’s Running of the Cows meet, UW-La Crosse showed their prowess in handily defeating Carleton, 30 to 102. Matt Wilkinson of Carleton took a solid win over Tyler Nault from La Crosse, and the Eagles managed to complete the rest of their scoring five before Carleton’s #2 man. Super studs Joshua Schraeder and Lucas Mueller each sat out for La Crosse and Carleton, respectively. Once they come back to their lineups, if healthy, they will help their teams immensely with some low-stick scoring.

On the women’s side, the tables were turned as Carleton took the victory over UW-La Crosse, 41 to 56, with DII program Minnesota State-Mankato in 3rd with 65 points. Freshman Clara Mayfield took the win for the hometown Knights, followed by fellow Knight Amanda Mosborg finishing runner-up. After those two, there was a bit of a gap, but had 6th, 9th, and 23rd place finishes to round out the scoring.

The only issue is the 1:51 split between their top five runners - they will need to get that down, but having two strong runners up front will certainly help in bigger meets.

For the Eagles, Madeline Sweeney led the way in 7th, Libby Brugger came in 10th, then their next four runners were all within three seconds of each other, giving them a 24 second time spread with their #6 runner not far behind. Their pack will pay great dividends in team scoring if they can stick together through the rest of their races this season.

The Beast(s) out East

Written by Hanna Thorn

Enough of the Midwest, let’s move to the East. A perennial power out of the East is Johns Hopkins. The women’s team has been the more dominant of the two so let’s start there.

They opened their season at the Mount St. Mary’s Duels where they beat D1 teams such as Maryland, Georgetown, and George Washington over the 5k course. Therese Olshanski led the team by finishing in 18:16 for 2nd. She didn’t have teammates far behind as the women had a 30 second spread. That low spread will be crucial as the Blue Jays hope to avenge last year’s defeat.

Of course, they proved that they can keep that spread small at Iona’s Meet of Champions as Rebecca Grusby led the women with a time of 18:14 while the team had a 42 second time spread. It is hard to judge this team because their only meets so far have been 5k's against D1 programs. There is no doubt that they are good, but it is hard to determine just how good over they are over the 6k distance.

As for the men of Johns Hopkins, they also started at the Mount St. Mary’s Duels. Andrew King won the 5k in a time of 15:32, but his teammates weren’t far behind, finishing 3rd, 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, and 12th. They posted an impressive 20 second spread and they had three more runners finishing right behind their top seven. The story was much of the same at the Iona meet where, once again, Andrew King led the team with a 19th place finish in 25:38 for 8k and the spread was impressively small with their top five finishing within 35 seconds of each other. While they might not have the front-runners that other teams boast, their depth could take people by surprise this year.

Williams has also looked impressive for the women and the men. At the Little Three Championship, the women’s team handily beat Amherst and Wesleyan, placing 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 8th over the 4k distance. It was a 19 second spread, which is a good sign for the #3 ranked team in D3. It is disappointing that this was a 4k and that we haven’t gotten the chance to see them compete in a full 6k yet. It makes it hard to gauge their full fitness or potential, but there is still plenty of time.

What wasn’t disappointing was the men’s performance from Williams at the same meet. They scored a perfect 15 points with a spread of 24 seconds. If you take out individual winner Aidan Ryan (18:52), their next four scorers had a time spread of 11 seconds. The men from Williams now have the front-runner (Ryan) and low spread that drives most teams to the podium in November.

An interesting side note is that All-American Ryan Cox (6th at Nationals last year) raced for the first time in eight months, finishing in 15th in 19:42. There is plenty of time for him to regain the fitness that he flexed at last year’s national meet.

The Battle out West

Written by Brett Haffner

One of the storylines of men’s D3 action this year is between two western teams. Two weekends ago at the UC Riverside Invite, perennial SCIAC rivals Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ teams did battle, along with other local D1 and D2 teams.

For the first time in three years, the CMS Stags took down the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens on the grass, with the Stags placing 5th overall and the Sagehens taking 6th. Kyril van Schendel, Thomas D’Anieri, Stevie Steinberg, Miles Christensen, and Will Kimball are forming a very solid top five for CMS, even adding freshman Henry Pick to the mix at this past weekend’s Coyote Challenge.

Their split between five runners has been under 40 seconds in each of their three races so far. Clearly, they are embracing pack-running very well. The Stags are looking like a force to be reckoned with to challenge in the D3 scene this year.

That being said, Pomona Pitzer isn’t one to count out. The Sagehens put together a scoring five not too far off of the Stags at UC Riverside, led by Ethan Widlansky and Owen Keiser. In seeing the talent that they produce year-in and year-out, the Sagehens should be just fine. It will be very interesting to follow these two teams in the battle of the West and to see how they will mix it up with the Midwest and Eastern regions later in the year.

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There have been lots of good small matchups thus far over the first month of cross country. As we get into the start of big invitationals, there are multiple big invites over the next few weeks that will bring many D3 teams together for battle: Purple Valley Classic, Pre-Nats at Louisville, and the Paul Short Classic.

You can bet that we will be following along so stay tuned for more!