The Group Chat: D3 Nationals Recap

First off, Parley Hannan...Did anyone see that dominant performance coming?

Brett: I’m not going to say I called her dominant win, but I did call her over Genny Corcoran, so that counts for something, right? Regardless, Hannan’s win was undoubtedly very impressive. I mean, her and Corcoran broke the field one kilometer into the race! We usually don’t see someone gap the field so early and be able to go wire to wire for the win. However, Hannan was able to break the field, battle with Corcoran, and earn a dominant, 18 second win. Kudos to Parley on a stellar win.

Hannah: We both knew she was going to run well, but I did not expect her to win by 18 seconds. I am sure some people bet on her win, but I would call this an upset. To beat the defending national champion and so many strong women by such a huge margin is incredible.

Was Paige Lawler hurt by a conservative start?

Brett: On a day where the course was absolutely wrecked by the womens’ race, the mud made getting out conservative a challenge. If Lawler was going to have any chance at the individual repeat, going out near or with Hannan and Corcoran would have been ideal. To Lawler’s credit, she moved up very well during the race, from 41st at the first kilometer to 7th at the finish, still getting the job done for her team.

Hannah: It was disappointing for Lawler to not even be a factor in this race. It was purely a Corcoran and Hannan battle the entire way. I would have loved to see Lawler get out quicker and see what she could have done when Hannan made her move four kilometers in. But, at the end of the day, 7th is still a great finish.

Did the Johns Hopkins vs. Wash U. battle play out as expected?

Brett: While the order of the women's teams wasn’t necessarily surprising, the team scores were certainly a little surprising. Wash U. came 13 points away from repeating and I wouldn’t have expected it to be so close beforehand. It seemed as though Johns Hopkins would breeze on through, but Wash U. put up a good fight by making things pretty close. Also, Johns Hopkins had three All-Americans with their #4 runner taking 41st, and regular scorer Therese Olshanski not having her best day. Earning a title while not having their best day is pretty impressive as it surely adds to the testament of their program.

Hannah: Can you imagine being the coach of Johns Hopkins and watching Wash U. move up, thinking last year might repeat itself when Wash U. beat Johns Hopkins by one point? Fortunately for Johns Hopkins, they held on and claimed the team title. We have been commenting all season long on the depth of Johns Hopkins and it really did play a role in this race. They didn't have to panic despite Therese Olshanski having an off day. The rest of the team stepped up and held strong en route to the overall victory. In fact, Johns Hopkins had all of their top seven in before anyone else. Another interesting note is that they return four of their top seven for next year.

What do you make of this men’s team race?

Brett: Seeing the race first-hand, in the opening stages I thought to myself “where is North Central?”, as they only had one guy in the top 140 through the first kilometer. They started off 23rd as a team through one kilometer, moved very well throughout the rest of the race, but they ultimately lost by 18 points to Pomona Pitzer.

Seeing North Central’s movement through that race was extremely impressive. We saw Matt Osmulski move a staggering 132 places from the first kilometer to the finish. Was their overall movement as a team too little, too late? It might have been, considering they came only 18 points away from their fourth straight title. Even so, they were still able to come way with three All-Americans in Matt Osmulski (11th), Gabriel Pommier (33rd), and Nick Licari (40th), the most by any men's team.

There was no clear indication as to who might win the race, and Pomona Pitzer pulled off a shocking win with their second-half push. There were no less than eight teams who were in position at some point during the race to win, with the Sagehens only taking over with less than two kilometers remaining. This made for a classic team battle, giving Pomona Pitzer their first podium finish, let alone a title.

Hannah: Many people thought it would be a two team race between Williams and North Central, so I loved that Pomona was able to break through and take the team title. It was their first as a program and they did it because they simply showed up when it mattered the most. Led by Ethan Widlansky in 7th, they had their top five runners finish in the first 60 places (in the team scoring). That led to a 43 second time spread, which is great when you have a low-stick like Widlansky. Congrats to coach Jordan Carpenter and the rest of the team!

Patrick Watson’s Win: Surprising or Not?

Brett: I wasn’t too surprised to see him win. He showed that his undefeated season out east meant a lot as he easily took down the best of the rest. He made a strong move after the halfway mark, and held a solid lead over Matthew Wilkinson for the rest of the way. A good, convincing win for Watson must have been a good ending to his collegiate cross country career.

Hannah: When the stream started working, I got to see Patrick Watson make his move away from Matthew Wilkinson of Carleton. This wasn’t surprising because Watson has been so good all season long. I think the more surprising part of the race was that Aidan Ryan wasn’t the one with Watson challenging for the win. Ryan ended up finishing in 10th, 27 seconds behind Watson. Not a bad day, but not ideal for someone who was expected to compete for the win.

Which teams over performed the most?

Brett: The Wash U. men ran solidly all season, but their 4th place finish was a great extension of their season. After getting 2nd at UAA’s and 3rd at the Midwest Regional Championships, they ended their season with a place on the podium, only 29 points out of 1st place. Using their smart, conservative race strategy (which North Central seemed to pick up this past weekend), they were 21st at the first kilometer, 15th at three kilometers, and moved all the way to 4th by the race’s end. Even with low-stick Nick Matteucci ending up in 20th, just a little bit off of his game, the rest of their lineup stepped up in a big way. They had the best 5-6-7 runners on the day, taking 65th, 73rd, and 84th, respectively.

On the women’s side, the U. of Chicago women prevailed in a very tight battle for the final podium spot, taking 4th over Carleton and Wartburg by two and 11 points, respectively. Sophie Elgamal was a quality low-stick in 16th, while Maggie Bordeau and Claire Brockway just missed out on All-American honors in 48th and 51st. The Maroons came through for a really solid day when it mattered the most.

Hannah: For the men, I would say MIT. At the NEWMAC conference meet, they flashed their exciting potential, scoring 18 points for the win. They then finished 3rd in the New England region behind Williams and Colby. Coming into Nationals, I had them ranked finishing around 13th, so them scoring 299 points for 9th is a great day. They beat Colby by 82 points yesterday to avenge their loss from their regional meet. They were led by freshman Sanjay Ramen who finished in 30th. In fact, their top three runners were two freshmen and sophomore. The future looks bright for MIT.

For the women, I would agree with Brett that Chicago had a great day. They consistently moved up throughout the race. They were 17th at one kilometer, 8th at three kilometers, 6th at four kilometers, and then finished 4th overall. They had a 35 second time spread between their 2-3-4-5 runners. Pair that with Sophie Elgamal’s awesome 16th place finish, and it is no wonder that they prevailed in the tight team battle to grab that last team trophy.

What team underperformed the most?

Hannah: I would say the MIT women had a rough day. Both Brett and I predicted that they would grab a team trophy, but they finished in 7th. They had a great duo in Izzi Gengaro in 10th and Katie Collins in 15th, but their #5 runner was 159th. That put their time spread at a minute and 45 seconds. It is unfortunate that they ended up not having their best day on Saturday.

For the men, I would say Carnegie Mellon. I had predicted that they would finish 3rd, but that was not the case. They finished in 18th after struggling almost the entire race, but especially the last three kilometers or so. Mathew Karee and Josh Kalapos both underperformed and that hurt them in the team scoring. They had to wait for Evan Yukevich to cross the line in 199th to round out the team scoring. Regardless of what the results say, Carnegie Mellon is a better team than what they showed on Saturday.

Brett: For the women, it wasn’t very obvious, with many of the top contenders faring generally well, but I’d have to go with Dickinson. Low-stick Isabel Cardi had a great day in 3rd place behind Hannan and Corcoran, but a team isn’t made up of just one low-stick. They were looking like a strong contender for the latter two podium spots, but ended up in just 9th place.

The Carnegie Mellon men had a tough day on the course. They established their position well through the opening stages of the race, but would ultimately continue to slide backwards as the race went on. Their 18th place finish was not at all indicative of their season.

I also would say that the Wartburg men had an underwhelming performance. They came into the year looking like a major threat to get onto the podium, but ended up in 13th, seeing only one All-American in Joe Frieburger. They will return six men from this lineup next year, so they should have a good chip on their shoulder going forward.

Which region performed the best?

Hannah: I will pick the men from the West region. They may not have ran the best, but I think they ran better than anyone expected. Pomona Pitzer won, CMS took 6th, and UC Santa Cruz took 22nd. The West is often considered a weaker region, but in the mud of Louisville, they showed up. On the individual side, they had Thomas D’Anieri of CMS have a huge day to take 3rd while Ethan Widlansky placed 7th. Other regions might have had higher placing teams and individuals, but for a region that people often overlook, the West had a huge impact on the race.

Brett: The individuals of the Midwest always seem to make an appearance near the top of D3, and this year was no different. Josh Schraeder, David Fassbender, Tyler Nault, Ryan Cutter, Matt Osmulski, and Zach Klokow all finished in the top 15, while the Midwest teams went 2-4-7-12-21.

On the women’s side, I could argue that the Midwest region performed the best after placing 2-4 on the team side, but I want to highlight the Central region. With only two teams auto-qualifying (Carleton and Wartburg) they were both so close to landing on the podium. Additionally, Kassie Rosenbum and Audrey Miller for Loras also had great days, adding two more All-Americans for the region. Their performance as a region (considering their smaller representation) was impressive.

Any surprises?

Hannah: I think Paige Lawler finishing 7th, Kaitlyn Mooney finishing 34th, and Therese Olshanki finishing 123rd were all not expected. I expected these three women to have more of an impact on the race than they did. For the men, Alec Beutel finishing 103rd, Sam Pinkowski finishing 131st, Toler Freyaldenhoven finishing 153rd, and Sean McAneny finishing 198th were all very surprising finishes as well. I thought all four of them would be All Americans, but they all struggled.

Brett: *anything regarding the men’s team race above*

Any Final Thoughts?

Hannah: I love cross country and the unpredictability it brings. Watching Hannan and Corcoran take it out and wondering if they can hold on. Watching Pomona take down North Central. Watching Patrick Watson rise to the occasion and take the individual title. I cannot wait for August so that we can do this all over again.

Also, I predicted 32/40 women individuals correctly and 28/40 men correctly. Brett predicted 31/40 women, and 27/40 men. So I would like to state my superiority.

Brett: There’s just about no way I could have predicted or foreseen the men’s race like it ended up playing out, and it’s what made for such an exciting day on the course. Pomona Pitzer’s 164 points scored was the second highest total in men’s D3 championship history, and only 19 points separated the top three teams. This was a close battle for sure, with a lot to discuss.