UPDATED XC Top 50 Individuals: Week 5 (10/2)


(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. Andrew Johnston, Senior, Air Force (Wasn't Ranked)

We saw glimpses of excellence from Johnston last season and in 2017, he is looking like a legitimate ace. The Air Force senior placed 9th at Notre Dame and established himself as a name to watch throughout the rest of this season.

49. Alex Palm, Senior, New Mexico (Wasn't Ranked)

One of the more surprising results of this weekend was seeing Alex Palm place 7th at Notre Dame. When we think of New Mexcio, many of us typically think of superstar miler Josh Kerr. However, I think it's fair to say that Palm has made a name for himself after that breakout performance.

48. Clark Ruiz, Rs. Senior, Michigan State (+1 / 49)

47. Azaria Kirwa, Junior, Liberty (Wasn't Ranked)

After a strong spring track season, plenty of attention was on Azaria Kirwa to see what he could do during cross country. This past weekend, we saw Kirwa hang with Dillon Maggard and Jonathan Green enroute to a 2nd place finish. He's definitely Top 50 material.

46. Sylvester Barus, Senior, Oklahoma State (Wasn't Ranked)

The Oklahoma State senior defended his 2016 title and walked away from the Cowboy Jamboree over teammate Hassan Abdi. Usually I would be super pumped, but this exact thing happened last year and Barus was never able to replicate that performance.

45. Garrett Reynolds, Sophomore, UCLA (0 / 45)

44. Emmanuel Rotich, Junior, Tulane (0 / 44)

Emmanuel Rotich may have raced at Notre Dame this past weekend, but the Tulane coaching staff opted to compete in the Gold section rather than Blue section. This led to Rotich absolutely destroying the field and walking away with an easy win.

It's a nice performance, but I want to see Rotich race against guys that are more at his caliber.

43. Erick Rotich, Junior, Eastern Kentucky (Wasn't Ranked)

After placing 5th at the Kentucky Bluegrass Invitational and now 9th at Notre Dame, Erick Rotich has proven that he deserves a spot in our Top 50. Consistent finishes will only help his ranking for the future.

42. Aaron Baumgarten, Rs. Senior, Michigan (-12 / 30)

55th at Notre Dame is a disappointing way to begin the season if you're Aaron Baumgarten. However, just like Michael Williams and Euan Makepeace, this race shouldn't be the sole indicator of what his fitness is like. Everyone is allowed to have a down day, but he'll need to be better at Wisconsin in two weeks.

41. Jacob Thomson, Rs. Senior, Kentucky (-4 / 37)

17th place at the Greater Louisville Classic is never a bad finish, but I was looking for Thomson to place top 10 in this race. Nonetheless, it was a solid performance and hopefully a building block for a more impressive finish later on in the season.

40. Michael Williams, Senior, Washington State (-11 / 29)

Williams' season debut was an ugly one after finishing 121st at Notre Dame. The Washington State senior is definitely better than that performance, but it's not the way you want to start your season.

39. Jonah Koech, Junior, UTEP (-13 / 26)

The UTEP roster is constantly being added to and they continue to put up bizarre finishes (just look at UTEP in the Notre Dame results). We didn't see Koech race this past weekend, but until I actually see him have a somewhat decent race, I'm not ready to say he's a top 30 individual.

38. Euan Makepeace, Rs. Sophomore, Butler (0 / 38)

It was a rough day for Makepeace who placed 87th at Notre Dame this past weekend. Obviously, a lot of us were expecting a top 10 (or at least a top 20) finish from the Butler sophomore. Then again, this is the same guy who beat Jacob Choge at the Commodore Classic a few weeks ago. I'm not ready to say that this was a race truly indicative of his talent and fitness.

37. Ben Flanagan, Rs. Senior, Michigan (-1 / 36)

14th place at Notre Dame is a respectable finish for Flanagan, but I thought he could've been Top 10. Still, this is a guy who shows up in the postseason so I'm not really looking too much into this performance.

36. Amon Kemboi, Rs. Freshman, Campbell (+3 / 39)

35. Conor Lundy, Sophomore, Princeton (-3 / 32)

34. Robert Brandt, Junior, UCLA (+1 / 35)

33. Brent Demarest, Rs. Junior, Virginia (+1 / 34)

32. Brian Barraza, Rs. Senior, Houston (+1 / 33)

31. Thomas Pollard, Rs. Sophomore, Iowa State (0 / 31)

30. Kasey Knevelbaard, Junior, Southern Utah (Wasn't Ranked)

29. Mike Tate, Rs. Senior, Southern Utah (+12 / 40)

The Southern Utah Thunderbirds have looked incredible so far this season and a lot of that can attributed to Mike Tate and Kasey Knevelbaard who are on top of their game right now. This past weekend at Notre Dame, we saw Tate place 5th and Knevelbaard finish 6th to defeat some of the best names in the nation. It's hard to dislike this duo right now.

28. Philo Germano, Rs. Senior, Syracuse (0 / 28)

27. Geordie Beamish, Rs. Junior, Northern Arizona (Wasn't Ranked)

26. Andy Trouard, Rs. Senior, Northern Arizona (+20 / 46)

Everyone knew how talented Baxter and Day were, but having two other guys finishing with them is absolutely incredible. The NAU Lumberjacks took the top four spots in a loaded Louisville field with Trouard placing 3rd and Beamish placing 4th. Prior to the start of the season, I questioned whether or not Trouard could perform in the regular season like he did at the 2016 National Championships. Sure enough, he has done just that.

25. Chartt Miller, Rs. Senior, Iona (0 / 25)

24. Gilbert Kirui, Senior, Iona (0 / 24)

23. Sean Tobin, Senior, Mississippi (-2 / 21)

3rd at the Cowboy Jamboree is about what I expected for Tobin. It will be interesting to see how he performs at a larger invite like Pre-Nats in a few weeks.

22. Matthew Maton, Junior, Oregon (-5 / 17)

I'm not penalizing Maton for not yet racing, but others deserved to move up a few spots.

21. Jonathan Green, Rs. Senior, Georgetown (-12 / 9)

After a 2016 season filled with struggles and injuries, Green had a solid debut by finishing 3rd at Paul Short. It was a solid race, but he may have been over ranked a bit in our preseason Top 50.

20. Hassan Abdi, Senior, Oklahoma State (-9 / 11)

Admittedly, Abdi probably doesn't deserve to drop nine spots after finishing 2nd at the Cowboy Jamboree. It just so happens that the individuals ahead of him had better or more exciting performances.

19. John Dressel, Junior, Colorado (-3 / 16)

Tough day for Dressel at Notre Dame as the Colorado low-stick finished 20th in his season debut. It's obviously not a great first race, but he has almost never had a poor race before. I'm willing to give him a little bit of cushion for one off day.

18. Jacob Choge, Sophomore, Middle Tennessee State (-5 / 12)

The NAU Lumberjacks and Yusuke Uchikoshi proved to be too much of a challenge for the Middle Tennessee State star at Louisville this past weekend as he settled for 6th place overall. Choge may not have placed in the top five, but let's not act like this wasn't a good race. He's had some really solid performances to start off his season and he's still one of the best runners in the nation. Yet, at the same time, he doesn't look like the 12th best runner in the nation. Because of that, he'll drop a few spots in our rankings.

17. Yusuke Uchikoshi, Senior, Boise State (+3 / 20)

It was very exciting to see such a great finish from Uchikoshi who fought off a stud in Jacob Choge and hung tough with an impressive group from NAU. I would even argue that this was the best regular season performance of his career.

16. Rory Linkletter, Junior, BYU (+3 / 19)

Linkletter didn't take the win at the Bill Dellinger Invite this past weekend, but when you and three other teammates take the top four spots, there's not really much of a reason to battle for positioning. I felt like I needed to give him more credit for beating Maggard a few weeks ago and that's why I'm bumping up his spot. Plus, the other guys on this list just weren't doing it for me at the 16th spot.

15. Joe Klecker, Rs. Sophomore, Colorado (0 / 15)

You have to commend Klecker for giving that Alabama trio a hard fought battle to the line at the Greater Louisville Classic. The Colorado ace finished a respectable 4th overall and still beat some really solid names in that field. 

14. Jack Bruce, Senior, Arkansas (-1 / 13)

Bruce may be moving back a spot in the rankings, but that was only to make room for the Alabama trio. Bruce is still looking strong after his runner-up finish at Chile Pepper Festival. He's staying consistent and that's pretty much the only thing that matters at this point.

13. Alfred Chelanga, Junior, Alabama (+5 / 18)

12. Vincent Kiprop, Junior, Alabama (+10 / 22)

11. Gilbert Kigen, Junior, Alabama (+12 / 23)

My goodness, this trio is LEGIT. They took the top three spots at Louisville this past weekend against a field that held some of the top names in the nation. Joe Klecker of Colorado tried to hang with this group, but simply didn't have enough at the end to hang on. When you have three guys who can drop a grade-A talent like Klecker, you know you have something special.

10. Lawrence Kipkoech, Rs. Junior, Campbell (0 / 10)

9. Tyler Day, Junior, Northern Arizona (+5 / 14)

Coming into this seaosn, I was curious to see if Baxter could fill the shoes (or spikes) that Futsum Zienasellassie left after graduating. Baxter did that this past weekend, but he was closely followed by Tyler Day who seems to be just as good Baxter in 2017. These two are looking like the best 1-2 punch in the nation right now.

8. Dillon Maggard, Senior, Utah State (0 / 8)

After losing to Linkletter a few weekends ago, Maggard redeemed himself and took the win at Paul Short over some top-tier individuals like Azaria Kirwa (Liberty) and Jonathan Green (Georgetown). It's a nice win for the Utah State senior and a great way to restart his momentum.

7. Colin Bennie, Senior, Syracuse (0 / 7)

6. Jerrell Mock, Rs. Senior, Colorado State (0 / 6)

5. Matthew Baxter, Rs. Senior, Northern Arizona (0 / 5)

With the loss of Futsum Zienasellassie, many questioned whether or not Baxter could step up to become the elite low-stick that Futsum was. After seeing the results at Notre Dame, you could probably argue that he has taken that next step. Baxter crossed the line in first to take home the 2017 individual title with a time of 23:11. I don't typically discuss times during cross country, but that time is insanely fast, even if the course is relatively flat.

4. Alex George, Senior, Arkansas (0 / 4)

George dominated the competition (which was pretty much just his teammates) this past weekend at the Chile Pepper Festival where he placed 1st overall in a time of 29:45 for 10k.

3. Morgan McDonald, Senior, Wisconsin (0 / 3)

2. Grant Fisher, Junior, Stanford (0 / 2)

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


#50 Andrew Johnston (Air Force)

#49 Alex Palm (New Mexico)

#47 Azaria Kirwa (Liberty)

#46 Sylvester Barus (Oklahoma State)

#43 Erick Rotich (Eastern Kentucky)

#30 Kasey Knevelbaard (Southern Utah)

#27 Geordie Beamish (Northern Arizona)


Jeff Thies (Portland) (Formerly #50)

Andrew Ronoh (Arkansas) (Formerly #48)

Jacob Burcham (Oklahoma) (Formerly #47)

Gabe Arias-Sheridan (St. Mary's of California) (Formerly #43)

Arsene Guillorel (Samford) (Formerly #42)

Miguel Bautista (Texas Tech) (Formerly #40)

Cory Glines (Northern Arizona) (Formerly #27)

JUST MISS (in no order)

James Quattlebaum (Clemson)

Meshack Kipruto (Campbell)

Evan Stifel (Ohio State)

Iliass Aouani (Syracuse)

Thomas Ratcliffe (Stanford)

Lachlan Cook (Virginia)

Michael Ward (Bradley)

Chase Weaverling (Virginia)

Zach Perrin (Colorado)

Eduardo Herrera (Colorado)

Aaron Templeton (Furman) Andrew Ronoh (Arkansas)

Jeff Thies (Portland)

Cory Glines (NAU)

Jacob Burcham (Oklahoma)

Arsene Guillorel (Samford)

Miguel Bautista (Texas Tech)

Gabe Arias-Sheridan (St. Mary's of California)

WHO TO WATCH (in no order)

Tom Nobles (Charlotte)

Kigen Chemadi (MTSU)

Peter Lomong (NAU)

Jesse Reiser (Illinois)

Jonathan Davis (Illinois)

Festus Lagat (Iowa State)

Cameron Griffith (Arkansas)

Michael Vennard (Boise State)

Ben Young (Kentucky)

Cole Rockhold (Colorado State)

Colin Abert (Penn State)

Ryan Thomas (Columbia)

Sean Torpy (Miami, OH)

Trent Powell (Colorado State)

Clayson Shumway (BYU)

Colby Gilbert (Washington)


Alex Palm (New Mexico): Placing 7th at Notre Dame is no joke. He beat a slew of impressive names and was barely edged by Kasey Knevelbaard of Southern Utah.


Matt Baxter (NAU): It was pure dominance for the NAU senior who destroyed a strong Notre Dame field and kept his teammates close behind. It's only one legitimate race, but he is looking scary good so far...


- Rumors suggest that Morgan McDonald will be redshirting the 2017 cross country season while teammate Olin Hacker is injured and out for the season. If that is the case, then McDonald could be opening up another Top 50 spot for someone in the coming weeks...

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