Trading Places

Updated: Jun 3, 2019

*Following the publication of this article, TSR was informed that Andy Snyder will be transferring to San Francisco. Please disregard any mentions of Snyder in relation to UW*

After a stellar year at Washington, Andy Powell has continued to use the transfer portal to improve his squad. The two most recent additions, Andrew Jordan and Jack Rowe, will immediately help the Huskies improve on their surprise 6th place finish from XC Nationals this past fall.

Jordan in particular is a huge win for Washington. The current junior has run well at XC Nationals the last two years, finishing 15th and 46th in 2017 and 2018, respectively. He was one of the biggest reasons why I was so high on Iowa State’s chances to earn a podium finish last year. Jordan, much like Tanner Anderson this year, will provide the Huskies with a consistent top finisher and a proven All-American.

Of course, for every gain there is typically a loss and that's exactly what this was for Iowa State. While the Cyclones still have Edwin Kurgat, they are graduating Dan Curts and needed Jordan in order to earn another top 10 finish at Nationals. Instead, the Cyclones will have to rely on Chad Johnson and Milo Greder to take a step forward to fill in for Jordan’s absence.

One last note on Jordan: he ran well indoors, qualifying for Indoor Nationals in the 3000, but he did not run at all during outdoors. Was this due to injury or because he was transferring? Regardless, Jordan is now the star of Powell's Washington Huskies...

The other star transfer, Jack Rowe, will also provide the team with stability and depth. Coming off the best season of his career, the former San Francisco star ran PR's in both the 5k and 10k, running 13:54 and 28:50, respectively. He should slide right into Washington’s top seven and give them another potential All-American.

Best Finish at XC National Championships

Looking forward to next year’s cross country season, earning a spot in Washington’s top seven will be very competitive. This is a look at one of the many potential permutations of the Huskies lineup for the 2019 season. Because Tanner Anderson has run four cross country seasons during his time at Oregon and Washington, the NCAA will not have him for the cross country season (but they might have him for track). Other additions who could make an immediate impact for Washington next season are incoming freshmen Sam Tanner from New Zealand – who has run 3:58 in the mile – and Sam Affolder. As Coach Powell looks to improve on his first season, he will have plenty of new options to put into his lineup in 2019.

Another big transfer involves Sam Affolder’s older brother Noah who left Syracuse for Oregon. Affolder is coming off a disappointing season that saw him finish 190th at XC Nationals. Yet, it would be a mistake to judge him based off this past fall. The new Oregon Duck is one of the top runners in the country for the steeplechase and has run 8:01 in the 3000.

Perhaps a change of scenery will be best for Affolder, as he still has three more years of eligibility. For Oregon, Affolder gives new coach Ben Thomas additional depth. With the exception of James West and Blake Haney, the Ducks brings back their entire top seven from last year’s 15th place team. As seen during indoors, Oregon has elite level talent that seems to be improving as it adapts to Coach Thomas’ training. I am confident that Cooper Teare, Jackson Mestler, Charlie Hunter, and Reed Brown will all be better next year. Moreover, with the addition of Affolder, Oregon has a good chance of finishing in the top 10 at Nationals.

For Syracuse, Affolder's transfer is a big blow to first-year coach Brien Bell. After a disappointing season that saw the Orange finish 26th at Nationals, next year will be an important year for Syracuse. The program had some much momentum after winning Nationals, but after the loss of Justyn Knight and Coach Fox, the team has regressed. Losing one of the best runners in the NCAA will do that to almost any program, but it is important for the school to show that they can rebound and build the next podium-challenging team.

Let's not forget, they still showed plenty of promise during the fall of 2018. However, inexperience in championship settings got the best of them.

Of course, the men aren't the only ones with big-name transfers. The women, specifically the Colorado Buffaloes, are making just as much noise (if not more).

Next fall, Colorado will lose 2018 Cross Country All-Americans Dani Jones, Makena Morley, Tayler Tuttle, and Val Constien from their lineup. However, the Buffaloes do return All-Americans Tabor Scholl and Sage Hurta (gosh, Colorado was so good last year), but they will need some help.

To fill the gaps, Mark Wetmore has found some of the top transfers in the country. Bringing in Emily Venters of Boise State and Rachel McArthur of Villanova will give the Buffs a ton of stability as well as some additional firepower up front. Venters finished as an All-American last cross country season and ran 15:45 in the 5k during indoors this year.

Rachel McArthur, one of the more surprising transfers this year, gives the Buffaloes more middle-distance speed. With PR's of 2:04 and 4:14, the former Wildcat has the speed to run with almost anyone. The hope is that Colorado can give her the Dani Jones script to help her improve from her 119th place finish at XC Nationals. Still, McArthur was the Mid-Atlantic Region champion this past fall and runner-up at the BIG East XC Championships. It would be entirely incorrect to say that she can't be a lethal scorer on the grass. The only question now is how she will handle living and training at altitude...

Additionally, Colorado will look to get a boost from incoming freshman Emily Covert who finished 4th at NXN. Wetmore's group may lose a handful of stars, but they are not settled on rebuilding. Instead, they will reload.

Best Finish at XC National Championships

For Villanova, McArthur’s absence will hurt for a team that finished 2nd in the Mid-Atlantic region and 24th at Nationals. In addition, the team is losing top runner Nicole Hutchinson due to graduation. The Wildcats will need the rest of their squad to improve in a big way in order for the team to make it back to Nationals next year in a sneaky deep region.