UPDATED XC Top 50 Individuals: Week 12 (11/20)



KEY

(Wasn’t Ranked): Was not ranked the week before.

(#/#):

First number indicates how much the individual has moved in the rankings. A plus (with green) means they have improved in the rankings. A minus (with red) means they have regressed in the rankings. Colors may not show on mobile.

The second number indicates where they were ranked the week before.

50. Ben Veatch, Sophomore, Indiana (-4 / 46)

- 28th at Wisconsin and back-to-back 4th place finishes at BIG 10's and the Great Lakes Regional Championships is enough to balance his sub-par 87th place finish at Nationals. 

49. Aaron Templeton, Rs. Junior, Furman (-2 / 47)

- In general, it was just an ugly day for the Furman men. Not a single Paladin broke into the top 120. While I'm sure it's disappointing for most Furman fans, Templeton did enough this season to keep his spot in our top 50 despite placing 148th at NCAA's. Thanks to a 7th place finish at Louisville, 20th place finish at Wisconsin, and a 5th place in the Southeast region, Templeton should still be considered one of the top distance runners in the nation. 

48. Miler Haller, Rs. Sophomore, Boise State (Wasn't Ranked)

- With Boise State's usual low-stick (Yusuke Uchikoshi) underperforming, the Broncos looked to Miler Haller to lead this team throughout the 2017 season. It wasn't always pretty which is evident by his 63rd place finish at Wisconsin, but 12th at Louisville, 6th in the Mountain West, and 8th in the West region set Haller up perfectly for his All-American performance at Nationals (where he finished 36th). When the team needed a leader, he stepped up and gave them someone to rally around.

47. Luis Grijalva, Freshman, Northern Arizona (-5 / 42)

- 10th at Louisville and 21st at Wisconsin were the highlights of Grijalva's regular season. He didn't score for the Lumberjacks at NCAA's, but 60th place at Nationals is a solid finish for any freshman.

46. Nahom Solomon, Senior, Georgia Tech (Wasn't Ranked)

- Much like Edwin Kurgat, our focus on other individuals and teams in the same conference or region is what led to talents like Solomon going unnoticed. He never finished outside of the top 10 at any meet he raced in (prior to NCAA's) and ended his season with a 22nd place finish at NCAA's. Hopefully we get to see more of him on the track.

45. Emmanuel Rotich, Junior, Tulane (-10 / 35)

- Fun Fact: Emmanuel Rotich was undefeated as he entered NCAA's. Not-So Fun Fact: Emmanuel Rotich finished 191st at NCAA's. 

Rotich was an animal all season, but his only notable wins came against Brian Barraza (Houston) and the field at the South Central Regional Championships where most of the top individuals were holding back. He's a talented top runner, but he needs to start competing against better individuals during the regular season.

44. Brent Demarest, Rs. Senior, Virginia (Wasn't Ranked)

- After unimpressive finishes of 5th at Panorama Farms and 56th at Wisconsin, Demarest began to find his groove once more after placing runner-up at ACC's, 7th in the Southeast region, and a huge 19th place finish at Nationals. It may have been a slow start, but he was on fire as the season ended. 

43. Clark Ruiz, Rs. Senior, Michigan State (-7 / 36)

- Ruiz was the reliable veteran that the Spartans leaned on all season. He was 4th at Roy Griak, 15th at Wisconsin, 3rd at BIG 10's, and 8th in the Great Lakes region. Unfortunately, Ruiz just had an off day on the big stage and fell to 126th overall.

42. Aidan Tooker, Sophomore, Syracuse (-15 / 27)

- It was a rough day for Tooker who simply didn't have the experience to thrive in a 10k field as intense as NCAA's. Tooker's 109th place certainly doesn't look great, but he had enough solid performances throughout the season to keep him as a relevant part of our rankings.

41. Edwin Kurgat, Sophomore, Tennessee-Martin (Wasn't Ranked)

- While most of our attention in the South region were focused on the Alabama trio, the complexity of Mississippi's depth, and the legitimacy of Jacob Choge, no one was paying attention to Edwin Kurgat. The UTM sophomore finished 9th at Louisville, 5th at the Crimson Classic, 8th in the South region, and now 21st at NCAA's. One thing is for sure, he won't be under the radar any longer.

40. Oliver Hoare, Sophomore, Wisconsin (-7 / 33)

- Hoare struggled in the larger invites this season after placing 114th at Wisconsin and 185th at NCAA's. Still, you can't discredit his BIG 10 title or 3rd place finish in the Great Lakes region. When he returns next year, he'll give Wisconsin a dangerous 1-2 punch alongside Morgan McDonald.

39. Nadeel Wildschutt, Freshman, Coastal Carolina (-1 / 38)

- He was undefeated entering regionals, placed 4th at the Southeast Regional Championships, and ended his season with a 28th place finish. I'd love to rank him better than 39th, but the competition he faced during the regular season wasn't exactly the most competitive.

38. Colin Bennie, Senior, Syracuse (-12 / 26)

- 14th at Wisconsin and 3rd at ACC's is enough for Bennie to stick around in the top 40. Still, 56th at NCAA's when Syracuse needed someone to complement Knight is not the kind of performance you'd expect out of Bennie.

37. Cole Rockhold, Junior, Colorado State (0 / 37)

- Even when team ace Jerrell Mock faltered, Rockhold rose to the occasion. 32nd at NCAA's is a nice reward for someone who took a backseat to Mock for most of the season.

36. Geordie Beamish, Rs. Junior, Northern Arizona (-11 / 25)

- Beamish gave Northern Arizona some stability throughout the season. He never faltered on the big stage and consistently crossed the line with respectable finishes. 40th at NCAA's seems about right for someone of his caliber.

35. Connor McMillan, Rs. Junior, BYU (-5 / 30)

- McMillan was the backbone of BYU's success this season. 3rd at Bill Dellinger, 6th at Pre-Nats, 1st at WCC's, 4th at the Mountain Region Championships, and 30th in the nation is an absolutely monster season for a guy who found himself in 84th at the NCAA Championships in 2015. Yes, he probably deserves a better ranking than 35th, but this darn thing called math doesn't allow you to put 50 guys in the top 30.

34. Sean Tobin, Senior, Mississippi (+9 / 43)

- Tobin may have been slightly overrated in our rankings this season, but his miraculous 12th place finish at NCAA's finally gave validation to the importance of what he means to his team. Experience is the key to success at NCAA's and Tobin further proved that.

33. Ben Flanagan, Rs. Senior, Michigan (-1 / 32)

- Flanagan's postseason racing was absolutely incredible. He finished 6th at BIG 10's, won the title in the Great Lakes region, and secured 20th at NCAA's. He will certainly be missed in Ann Arbor next year.

32. Mickey Davey, Junior, Air Force (Wasn't Ranked)

- One of the more underrated individuals in the NCAA this year was Mickey Davey. He was 15th at Notre Dame, 30th at Wisconsin, 9th in the Mountain West, 8th in the Mountain region, and now 18th at Nationals! Davey prospered at the 10k distance and only got better as the season progressed. 

31. Alex George, Senior, Arkansas (-15 / 16)

- George was solid all season and gave the Razorbacks a consistent low-stick to lean on. Still, he just didn't seem to have the same edge that he did last season. 51st at NCAA's is a great finish, but after placing 15th last year, the expectations that many people had for him weren't quite met.

30. Peter Seufer, Junior, Virginia Tech (-8 / 20)

29. Robert Brandt, Junior, UCLA (-7 / 22)

- Seufer's 45th place finish and Brandt's 88th place finish at NCAA's wasn't exactly what we were looking for. Still, they had strong performances all season. It's hard to ignore Seufer's runner-up finish at Pre-Nats and Brandt's 7th place finish at Wisconsin.

28. Nick Hauger, Rs. Junior, Portland (-1 / 27)

- Much like Clinger, it pains me to put Hauger in a rank that is a few spots back of where he actually finished at NCAA's. Yet, the other guys ahead of him just had better overall seasons. Still, he was one of the unsung heros of the Portland Pilots this season. He stepped up to a new level of fitness that was much needed if the Pilots were going to make the podium.

27. Casey Clinger, Freshman, BYU (+4 / 31)

- The two-time NXN champion entered this season with so much poise. He immediately began running with BYU's top runners and never finished outside of the top 10 with the exception of NCAA's where he placed 24th overall (to lead the Cougars). It's hard to place Clinger three spots away from his NCAA finish, but the others ahead of him just had too many great performances this season.

26. Andrew Jordan, Sophomore, Iowa State (Wasn't Ranked)

- Despite great performances throughout the entire season, Andrew Jordan somehow couldn't grab a spot in our Top 50. Now, after his 15th place finish at NCAA's, Jordan has established himself as one of the top returners in the nation. 

25. Steven Fahy, Junior, Stanford (Wasn't Ranked)

- After an uninspiring finish at Bill Dellinger and a 65th place finish at Wisconsin, Fahy began to find his groove in the postseason with back-to-back 3rd place finishes at PAC 12's and the West Regional Championships. He would later cap off his epic run with a 17th place All-American finish. 

24. Jonathan Davis, Sophomore, Illinois (-6 / 18)

23. Hassan Abdi, Senior, Oklahoma State (-8 / 15)

- The top two Midwest representatives held their own at NCAA's with finishes of 47th (Abdi) and 49th (Davis) overall. They didn't exactly blow away the field, but when you look at their regular season performances, I think it's fair to say that they did enough to at least maintain a spot in the top 25.

22. Lawrence Kipkoech, Rs. Junior, Campbell (+12 / 34)

- The 10k distance has treated Kipkoech well for the past two weeks. After dominating the Southeast region with a huge 28:45 win, the Campbell redshirt junior continued to thrive off of fast paces and ended the day in 9th overall. For someone who had underwhelmed all season, this is a huge performance for him.

21. Jerrell Mock, Rs. Senior, Colorado State (-8 / 13)

- I feel bad for Mock who left everything he had out on the course. He was fighting for a top 10 spot throughout most of the race, but locked up in the final 2k in an attempt to respond to the demanding pace. 169th may be a disappointing finish, but it doesn’t tell the story of someone willing to put it all on the line.

20. Alex Ostberg, Rs. Sophomore, Stanford (+9 / 29)

- I was a huge fan of Ostberg during his time in high school. I admired his gutsy running and willingness to race the best. After three years of development under Coach Milt at Stanford, Ostberg can now walk away as a team All-American and an individual All-American (16th overall).

19. Jack Bruce, Senior, Arkansas (+2 / 21)

- Early in his collegiate racing career, Bruce lacked consistency in his performances. Yet, placing 13th at NCAA's only validates the idea that this guy is a postseason star who can thrive in almost any championship race.

18. Azaria Kirwa, Junior, Liberty (-4 / 14)

- 2nd at Paul Short, 4th at Pre-Nats, 2nd at the BIG South Championships, and 3rd in the Southeast region is an impressive string of races for any athlete at any level. Kirwa was probably looking for something a little better than 25th at NCAA's, but his overall season was still incredibly impressive.

17. Joe Klecker, Rs. Sophomore, Colorado (-5 / 12)

- It was just an off day for Klecker who finished 67th overall. He wasn't perfect this season, but he ran some gutsy races and began to find his stride in the later portion of the season. For that, he stays in the top 20. 

16. Peter Lomong, Junior, Northern Arizona (Wasn't Ranked)

- I think we all knew that Peter Lomong was good, but to finish 8th at NCAA's? That is just absurd. His regular season performances were solid, 11th at Louisville and 43rd at Wisconsin, but nothing he had done before indicated that he could finish 8th in the nation.

15. Amon Kemboi, Rs. Freshman, Campbell (-4 / 11)

- Youth and a lack of experience on the big stage are most likely the biggest reasons why Kemboi failed to match his TSR ranking. Still, 29th is not bad at all and it only boosts his impressive 2017 resume.

14. Alfred Chelanga, Junior, Alabama (-4 / 10)

- 37th at NCAA's. Ideal? No, but he stuck around with that Alabama group for the most year and to say that he's really 30+ spots worse than them would be misleading.

13. Jacob Choge, Sophomore, Middle Tennessee State (-3 / 7)

- 34th at NCAA's is probably not the finish Choge was looking for, but he finished ahead of the Crimson Tide trio earlier this season and has shown a lot of consistency. He has struggled on the big stage (relative to his regular season performances), but his overall season is better than what his NCAA finish shows.

12. Jeff Thies, Rs. Senior, Portland (+12 / 24)

11. Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse, Sophomore, Portland (+12 / 23)

- My goodness these two were good. ERL's experience in cross country on the global stage paired with the underrated talent of veteran Jeff Thies gave the Pilots a lethal 1-2 punch. Roudolff-Levisse would go to place 11th while Thies wasn't far behind in 14th. 

10. Jonathan Green, Rs. Senior, Georgetown (+9 / 19)

- What a huge day for Green! After a stellar breakout season in 2015 where he placed 5th overall at NCAA's, Green dealt with injuries throughout 2016 and was essentially a non-factor for the entirety of his junior year. Fast forward to now and Green has regained the role of superstar after cruising to wins in the BIG East and Mid-Atlantic Championships. He capped off his comeback season with a 10th place finish overall.

9. Andy Trouard, Rs. Senior, Northern Arizona (-3 / 6)

- Trouard's 35th place finish at NCAA's wasn't exactly what many were expecting, but when you look at his body of work throughout this season, I think it's hard to dismiss his talent.

8. Dillon Maggard, Senior, Utah State (+9 / 17)

- He started the season 8th in our preseason rankings, so it's only appropriate that he finishes there. Maggard had a variety of consistent and solid performance throughout the 2017 season, but to come out of nowhere to place 6th overall just goes to show how resilient and experienced he is. 

7. Vincent Kiprop, Junior, Alabama (+1 / 8)

- Despite all of the madness that took place during NCAA's, Vincent Kiprop quietly put together a 7th place finish. He may not have been the top Crimson Tide finisher, but he was a big reason why Alabama finished 14th in the team scoring.

6. Rory Linkletter, Junior, BYU (-3 / 3)

- It wasn't the day that Linkletter or anyone was expecting. The top group was simply putting in too many hard moves and created a gap that even some of the best runners in the nation failed to respond to. Still, Linkletter hung tough and walked away in 39th. Was it ideal for him? No, but if this is the "worst" race of his season then I'm not ready to penalize him too much.

5. Gilbert Kigen, Junior, Alabama (+4 / 9)

- What a huge race from the former JUCO star! Kigen was able to react to a variety of moves made by the leaders and even took on some pacing duties earlier in the race. The 10k distance has treated him rather well over the past few weeks.

4. Grant Fisher, Junior, Stanford (-2 / 2)

- After getting pinned in the back of the pack and having to work his way up throughout the race, Fisher had to settle for 5th overall. In a post-race interview, Fisher explained that making any gutsy or big move to catch the lead pack could have come back to hurt him and jeopardize the team score. Still, could he have really caught up with that group up front?

3. Tyler Day, Junior, Northern Arizona (+1 / 4)

2. Matthew Baxter, Rs. Senior, Northern Arizona (+3 / 5)

- What a gutsy effort by these two men! They weren't leaving anything to chance as they flexed their strength by taking the race out hard from the gun. They had a race plan and they executed it to perfection.

1. Justyn Knight, Senior, Syracuse (0 / 1)

- He cramped up at 4k and still didn't relinquish a potential NCAA title. Despite the NAU men moving hard, Knight hung tough and can now walk as an individual NCAA champion.

ADDED

Peter Lomong (NAU)

Steven Fahy (Stanford) Andrew Jordan (Iowa State)

Mickey Davey (Air Force)

Edwin Kurgat (Tenn. - Martin)

Brent Demarest (Virginia)

Nahom Solomon (Georgia Tech)

Miler Haller (Boise State)

DROPPED

Brian Barraza (Houston) (Formerly #39)

Mike Tate (Southern Utah) (Formerly #40)

Kasey Knevelbaard (Southern Utah) (Formerly #41)

Garrett Reynolds (UCLA) (Formerly #44)

Andrew Johnston (Air Force) (Formerly #45)

Josh Brickell (Furman) (Formerly #48)

Clayton Young (BYU) (Formerly #49)

Jacob Thomson (Kentucky) (Formerly #50)

JUST MISS (in no order)

Joe Hardy (Wisconsin)

Ryan Forsyth (Colorado)

Eduardo Herrera (Colorado)

Kigen Chemadi (MTSU)

Gilbert Kirui (Iona)

Addison DeHaven (Boise State)

Johannes Motschmann (Iona)

Tanner Anderson (Oregon)

Andrew Johnston (Air Force)

Cooper Teare (Oregon) Brian Barraza (Houston)

Jacob Thomson (Kentucky)

Clayton Young (BYU)

Josh Brickell (Furman)

Mike Tate (Southern Utah)

SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

Peter Lomong (Northern Arizona): Wow. 8th at Nationals, or even an All-American finish, isn't what most people were expecting from Peter Lomong. The training plan that he and Mike Smith put together is the reason why NAU dominated and didn't just "win".

RUNNER OF THE WEEK

Justyn Knight (Syracuse): It's hard not to cheer for one individual in particular, but you have to be happy for Knight. He worked his way up the ladder and became an elite athlete that had accomplished it all...except an NCAA title. That finally all changed this past weekend. Justyn Knigth can now call himself an NCAA team champion and an NCAA individual champion.

NOTES

- Despite great finishes from certain runners at Nationals, the overall season is being evaluated. Some individuals may have finished better than their ranking from Week 11, but if there is just too much talent ahead of them, then they will fall in the rankings (whether I like them or not). 

- If I had to choose a #51, it would most likely be Kigen Chemadi (MTSU)

#rankings #Top50 #gzatlin #analysis #Nationals #XC #ncaa