XC Top 25: Week 2 (9/17)


KEY

(Unranked)Was not ranked the week before.


(#/#)

First number indicates how much the team has moved in the rankings.

The second number indicates where that team was ranked the week before.

25. Eastern Kentucky Colonels (Unranked)

It's tough not to get excited this early in the season, but gosh did Eastern Kentucky look good. They may have lost Jamaine Coleman, but other men on this roster clearly stepped up in the summer and did the work to elevate their fitness.


The Colonels went 1-3-4-5-7 at the Commodore Classic, dominating their competition. Admittedly, other teams in this field were either not running their best lineups or simply a tier below EKU. Still, there are a lot of interesting names on this varsity squad.


James Sugira, the 13:46 man from Rwanda, looks like someone who could be an elite ace for this team and maybe one of the best in the NCAA. Between Corrales, Romo, Kirk, and Abascal, EKU has an encouraging mix of youth and experience.

We haven't even mentioned Erik Rotich who had a rough day and dropped to 37th overall. To see the Colonels do so well without him is encouraging, but it does make you wonder if Rotich can become the top scorer we expected him to be. Consistency hasn't always been his best quality.


The season is long and the future holds greater challenges, but all signs are pointing up for EKU.


24. Air Force Falcons (0 / 24)

23. Georgetown Hoyas (0/23)

22. Washington Huskies (0/22)


21. Arkansas Razorbacks (0/21)

The Razorback men traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to get a taste of what the National Championship course was going to look like. Although they held out top runners Cameron Griffith, Gilbert Boit, Robert Murphy, Kyle Levermore, and Andrew Ronoh, we still got to see a good portion of their varsity lineup.


Senior Ethan Moehn placed 5th overall while Schillinger, Cates, and Brown took spots 7-8-9. Freshman Samuel Boone was Arkansas' final scorer in 11th. The men from Fayetteville would settle for runner-up behind Wisconsin, 23 to 40.


Overall, this wasn't anything special for Coach Bucknam's squad. This was simply to get experience on the National Championship course and to shake off the summer rust.


20. Charlotte 49ers (0/20)

19. NC State Wolfpack (0/19)

18. Ole Miss Rebels (0/18)

17. Virginia Cavaliers (0/17)

16. Oregon Ducks (0/16)

15. Colorado State Rams (0/15)

14. Furman Paladin (0/14)

13. Texas Longhorns (0/13)

12. Syracuse Orange (0/12)

11. Campbell Camels (0/11)

10. UCLA Bruins (0/10)

9. Boise State Broncos (0/9)


8. Wisconsin Badgers (0/8)

The Wisconsin men took care of business on their home course with Olin Hacker securing the win after not racing for an entire year. His win is a very encouraging sign for the Badgers. If he turns out to be a low-stick who can hang with McDonald and Hoare, Wisconsin will be far more dangerous than expected.


McDonald, Hoare, Eidenschink and a few others were held out of the Wisconsin lineup, but that didn't stop Mick Byrne's group from besting Arkansas (who also held out some of their top runners). Tyson Miehe was runner-up while freshman Derek Peters was a nice surprise in 4th overall. Sophomore Tanner Wagner was 5th while freshman Shuaib Aljabaly (a Footlocker National Championship qualifier) rounded out the scoring in 10th. So far, it looks like Wisconsin is building their roster and developing depth with younger athletes.


It's important to not get too excited about such a small meet without top runners, but there are a lot of good things happening with this team.


7. Colorado Buffaloes (0/7)

6. Portland Pilots (0/6)

5. Alabama Crimson Tide (0/5)

4. Iowa State Cyclones (0/4)

3. Stanford Cardinal (0/3)


2. BYU Cougars (0/2)

The Cougars looked awfully strong at the BYU Autumn Classic, but for the most part, that was expected. The men from Povo, Utah took the top seven spots in what seemed to be a hard, but controlled effort. Clayton Young didn't run, but Clayson Shumway stepped up to emerge as the winner. Assuming Young is healthy, Shumway may be the missing piece BYU was looking for in order to contend with NAU. Time will tell, but this was certainly an encouraging result.


1. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (0/1)

ADDED

Eastern Kentucky Colonels (#25)


KICKED OFF

Washington State Cougars (#25)


JUST MISS (in no order)

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Illinois Fighting Illini'

Butler Bulldogs

Army Black Knights

Michigan State Spartans

Villanova Wildcats

Utah State Aggies

Princeton Tigers


WHO TO WATCH (in no order)

Indiana Hoosiers

Columbia Lions

Purdue Boilermakers

Michigan Wolverines

Florida State Seminoles

Temple Owls

Penn Quakers

Liberty Flames


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

Temple Owls

The Temple men easily handled a strong lineup from Army. The Owls took the top three spots at the Army West Point Open (led by Zach Seiger), and closed out their scoring by taking 5th and 8th. Coach Snyder's squad took care of business and did so convincingly.


TEAM OF THE WEEK

Eastern Kentucky Colonels

Even with Erik Rotich having a bad day, they put five in the top seven at the Commodore Classic. They didn't race any top teams at full strength, but almost all of their scorers competed with (or beat) some of the top individuals in this field. For that, they have earned our Team of the Week honors.


NOTES

  • What was Middle Tennessee State doing? Why would you hold out your top lineup? This was the perfect opportunity for them to earn one or two potential Kolas points. Illinois was holding out three of their top runners, but that still means they were running an A squad (assuming four of their top seven from this weekend race at Regionals). Eastern Kentucky had a great race, but if the MTSU transfers are as good as everyone says they are, then they would have had a great chance to beat EKU. If Illinois and Eastern Kentucky were to make the National Championships, MTSU would earn two HUGE Kolas points. Do the Blue Raiders think they're good enough to not need those points? Do they think they are guaranteed to secure a top two spot in the South Region? Alabama will most likely beat them this year and Ole Miss has proven to be a problem for any team they face. With Caden Hercules underwhelming in his first two races, I'm not convinced that Middle Tennessee State is as strong as everyone thinks they are. In my opinion, this was a missed opportunity.


  • Villanova looked strong in their season debut, placing five in the top 12 to edge out Penn, 33 to 37. Comber took the individual win while Marston settled for an unusual 9th place finish. If Marston is completely healthy, this is a team that can win the BIG East title in two to three months.


  • The Michigan State men opted to take their MSU Spartan Invite as a simple workout for many of their top runners. However, we did get to see top scorer Morgan Beadlescomb compete for a 3rd place finish. The catch? He ran unattached. Is he someone who will be redshirting the 2018 season? If so, that could be huge for Michigan and other teams in the Great Lakes region.


  • Florida State walked into Boston and comfortably beat the Terriers on their home course, 21 to 40. Redshirt freshman Caleb Pottorff cruised to an individual win over Paul Luevano, setting the tone for the rest of his teammates. Who knows? Maybe the 'Noles best athletic team in 2018 will be on the cross country course instead of the football field...


  • The Michigan Wolverines chose to hold out Isaac Harding, Andrew Lorant, Jacob Lee, and freshman Brian Hill (among others) from racing this past weekend. We didn't see Ryan Robinson either, due to the in-conference rule that prohibits athletes who transferred to a different school in their athletic conference from competing for one year. That actually might work out for Coach Sullivan who understands that his team is still very young and will need some time to develop in order to become a true threat in the Great Lakes region next year.


  • Indiana looked awfully good without Ben Veatch at the Iona Paddy Doyle Invite. Kyle Mau ran very well, finishing 3rd overall while freshman recruit Dustin Horter got the job done in 10th. Another freshman, Reece Jordan, was a nice surprise in 12th while Bryce Millar capped the scoring in 14th. They weren't perfect, but the young guys stepped up and Kyle Mau contended with the top group. Overall, it was a very solid performance from the Hoosiers.

  • Iona and Columbia had respectable performances at the Paddy Doyle Invite while Liberty showed that they have enough to top scorers to stay competitive. Those could be three key names to watch during the 2018 season.


  • We didn't see anything too crazy at the John McNichols Invite, but the Purdue duo of Eckstein and Carpenter look healthy and ready to compete at the highest level this fall. Brody Smith also looked strong in his season debut, placing 5th overall.


  • Notre Dame made their season debut at the National Catholic Invite, but Zach Kreft was the only superstar recruit who we saw compete (he placed 11th overall). If we had to guess, the rest of the recruits are being redshirted, but that is only speculation.