XC Top 50: Week 11 - FINAL (11/18)

Updated: Jun 14, 2019


KEY

(Unranked): Was not ranked the week before.


(#/#):

First number indicates the change in a runner's ranking from week prior

Second number indicates where the runner was ranked last week

50. Olin Hacker, Junior, Wisconsin (-6 / 44)

His 56th place finish at Nationals was a decent performance, but his 19th place finish at Nuttycombe shows us that he's a top talent. His last few races weren't great, but they weren't terrible either. He'll likely be the #2 man to Oliver Hoare next year for Wisconsin.


49. George Kusche, Freshman, Nebraska (-6 / 43)

Let's give kudos to this Nebraska freshman who was 3rd to McDonald and Hoare and BIG 10's and then 4th in the Midwest region. He has so much talent, but his inexperience got the best of him at Nationals where he finished 55th overall.


48. Andrew Jordan, Junior, Iowa State (-7 / 41)

It was a solid season for Andrew Jordan, nothing more, nothing less. He finished 46th this weekend after finishing 5th at BIG 12's and 6th in the Midwest region. He is absolutely someone who is an All-American caliber athlete, but he didn't seem to have the same spark as last year.


47. Gilbert Boit, Junior, Arkansas (-22 / 25)

It was an ugly day for Boit who dropped to 126th overall. Despite the ugly finish, this is someone who still came out on top in a handful of meets. He was 4th at Penn State before winning the SEC title. His Nationals performance may not have been what we expected, but his 2018 season was still very strong.


46. John Aho, Sophomore, Michigan (Unranked)

The Michigan men lacked a true low-stick for most of the season, but John Aho finally gave them a top scorer this past weekend. His 38th place finish is a huge performance for someone who was only 53rd in the Pre-Nats Cardinal race. That said, Aho improved throughout the postseason as he finished 22nd at BIG 10's and then 10th in the Great Lakes region. This experience will likely benefit him for the next two years.


45. Waleed Suliman, Sophomore, Ole Miss (Unranked)

He never blew you away, but Suliman put together a handful of strong performances after finishing 10th at Beantown, 26th at Pre-Nats, 4th at SEC's, and 6th in the South region. He ended his season with a 36th place finish at Nationals. The NCAA has two more years of dealing with Suliman and a heavy portion of this Ole Miss squad.


44. Danny Kilrea, Freshman, Notre Dame (Unranked)

It took some time for the Fighting Irish freshman to adjust to collegiate competition. He opened up his season with a 36th place finish in the Pre-Nats White race. After that, Kilrea began to gain some momentum, finishing 10th at ACC's and 9th in the Great Lakes region. His 33rd place finish at Nationals establishes Kilrea as the best true freshman of the 2018 season (and there's not much of an argument).


43. Kyle Mau, Junior, Indiana (-4 / 39)

He wasn't an All-American, but we need to give a lot of credit to Kyle Mau who emerged as a crucial low-stick for an Indiana team that didn't have Ben Veatch this season. His consistency gave the Hoosiers a top scorer to lean on. Although he was only 49th this past weekend, the mile/3k runner showed that he was capable of handling the longer distances.


42. Cameron Griffith, Senior, Arkansas (-8 / 34)

The Arkansas senior didn't always race against the best competition, but he was consistent and often walked away with a top five finish (he was 3rd at both SEC's and the Penn State Open). Griffith ended his season with a 42nd place finish at Nationals. It wasn't an All-American finish, but he will likely earn that honor on the track.


41. Geordie Beamish, Rs. Junior, Northern Arizona (-5 / 36)

His 39th place finish at Nationals was impressive, but it didn't matter in terms of scoring as the Lumberjacks had all five of their scorers in the top 30. On almost any other team, he would be a key low-stick.


40. Tibebu Proctor, Sophomore, Washington (+6 / 46)

He had some up and down performances throughout the season, but Proctor has shown that he is truly one of the NCAA's best in 2018. Between a 6th place finish in the Pre-Nats White race and a 38th place finish at Nationals, Proctor has become a key reason why Washington had so much success.


39. Casey Comber, Rs. Junior, Villanova (Unranked)

With teams like Villanova and Georgetown, it's always difficult to get a perspective for just how good some of these athletes are. With the BIG East and Mid-Atlantic region both lacking top-tier competition, Casey Comber was able to cruise to two wins. Of course, Comber wasn't content with those two wins. At Nationals, the Villanova ace secured an All-American finish by placing 34th overall. This guy has no fear and is often willing to challenge the top group in any race. Sure enough, that mentality paid off for him.


38. Addison DeHaven, Senior, Boise State (Unranked)

Addison DeHaven may be one of the most clutch postseason performers in the NCAA. After a surprising 31st place finish at Nationals in 2017, DeHaven returned to the big stage and secured a 28th place finish. He didn't always have great performances like this throughout the season, but a 6th place finish at the Mountain West Championships indicated that he still had enough talent to repeat as an All-American.


37. Yared Nuguse, Sophomore, Notre Dame (-5 / 32)

The Notre Dame men had so much success this season and a lot of that can be attributed to Nuguse who was a strong performer with a handful of top finishes. His 59th place finish at Nationals was far from ideal, but Nuguse is clearly better than what we saw this past weekend.


36. Clayson Shumway, Rs. Senior, BYU (+1 / 37)

Shumway always had to settle for a finish behind his teammates, but he was such a crucial scorer for BYU this season and a big reason why the Cougars were able to at least challenge NAU at Nationals. His 32nd place finish adds yet another strong performance to his 2018 resume.


35. Brent Demarest, Rs. Senior, Virginia (+7 / 42)

He may have been one of the most consistent runners in the NCAA this season. He was 7th (Beantown), 6th (Penn State), 4th (ACC's), and 6th (Southeast) leading up to Nationals. His 31st place finish this past weekend affirms the idea that he is a high caliber scorer.


34. Logan Orndorf, Senior, Portland (Unranked)

The first time we saw Orndorf this season was at the West Regional Championships where he finished 14th overall. One week later, the Portland senior had a breakout race to finish 25th overall. Last year it was Matt Welch, this year it was Logan Orndorf. It seems like Coach Rob Conner likes to keep some of his top talent hidden until championship season.


33. Ashenafi Hatte, Junior, Oklahoma State (+5 / 38)

He was 1st at Arturo Barrios Invite, 3rd at BIG 12's, 5th in the Midwest, and now 27th at Nationals. Overall, this was a very solid year for Hatte, but his lack of competition for most of the season made it difficult to figure out his true talent level.


32. Jaret Carpenter, Junior, Purdue (-5 / 27)

Yes, it was an ugly race for Carpenter who finished 119th overall after winning the Great Lakes title the week before. Nonetheless, this guy gave the Boilermakers so much life throughout this season. He was 16th at Nuttycombe, 9th in the Pre-Nats White race, and 5th at BIG 10's. He'll be back in 2019 with vengeance.


31. Aidan Reed, Junior, Southern Utah (-3 / 28)

With Knevelbaard and Collins both being redshirted, many people dismissed Southern Utah from being a top ranked team in the NCAA. However, the emergence of Aidan Reed as a true low-stick gave the Thunderbirds life. Reed had a great season, but fell to 51st at Nationals. He's still a top distance runner in my mind after finishing 4th in the Mountain region.


30. Lawrence Kipkoech, Rs. Senior, Campbell (-12 / 18)

3rd at Beantown, 9th at Pre-Nats, 5th in the Southeast region, 37th at Nationals. None of these performances blow you away, but his consistency is super undervalued. Although his cross country career is done, he'll be remembered as one of the men who put Campbell on the map.


29. Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse, Junior, Portland (-5 / 24)

I know he finished 21st at Nationals, but when I compare his regular season resume to the performances of others, it's simply not as strong. Regardless, Roudolff-Levisse had a nice finish to the end of his season despite struggling in his opener.


28. Tanner Anderson, Senior, Washington (+20 / 48)

I'll admit, Anderson didn't get the credit he deserved throughout most of the season. He was 6th at Beantown, 11th at Pre-Nats, 9th at PAC 12's, 4th in the West region, and now 19th at Nationals. I thought the PAC 12 was (slightly) weaker than usual this year and that the Pre-Nats White race was far less competitive than the Cardinal race. Of course, Anderson made me look silly this past weekend with his performance. It looks like his decision to follow Powell to Seattle was the right choice.

27. Alek Parsons, Rs. Sophomore, Stanford (-5 / 22)

Parsons has been so strong this season. He was a key reason why Stanford was in contention for a podium spot. With finishes of 11th at Pre-Nats and 3rd at PAC 12's, there's no doubt that Parsons brings plenty of scoring potency to the table. A 30th place finish at Nationals is respectable, but I was hoping we would see him closer to the top 20.


26. Blaise Ferro, Rs. Sophomore, Northern Arizona (-6 / 20)

I don't like giving athletes the same rank as their national finish, but 26th seems like the perfect spot for Ferro. The CBA alum had a phenomenal season and was one of the key reasons why the Lumberjacks were able to be such overwhelming favorites. 8th at Nuttycombe and 18th at Pre-Nats are two very strong performances on his resume.


25. Aidan Tooker, Junior, Syracuse (-12 / 13)

Tooker had such a strong start to his season, finishing runner-up at both Beantown and the Pre-Nats White race. So what happened to him in the postseason? He was 8th at ACC's, held back at the Northeast Regional Championships, and then struggled at Nationals where he finished 123rd.


Did he peak too early? Maybe not, but it's a fair question. Regardless of his postseason performances, Tooker is still a top talent and someone who will be among the best once again in 2019.


24. Connor McMillan, Rs. Senior, BYU (-3 / 21)

24th at Nationals, 24th in our rankings. McMillan has been around this spot for most of this season. He has been a key top scorer for BYU who would typically be a low-stick for almost any other program. 7th at Pre-Nats and runner-up at WCC's should make him a top 25 runner in the NCAA.


23. Luis Grijalva, Sophomore, Northern Arizona (-6 / 17)

5th at Nuttycombe, 15th at Pre-Nats, and 23rd at Nationals. When you put him in the nation's biggest meets, Grijalva thrives. For someone as young as him, the sophomore showed tremendous maturity this season.


22. Paul Roberts, Junior, Wyoming (+7 / 29)

The transfer from CSU-Pueblo has given life to the men from Wyoming. His Mountain West title and 20th place finish at Nationals showed us that he had no problem adjusting to D1 competition.


21. Eric Hamer, Senior, Colorado State (+20 / 41)

When Cole Rockhold went down, Hamer stepped up. The Colorado State senior was one of the best postseason performers of the 2018 season after finishing runner-up at the Mountain West Championships, 5th in the Mountain region, and now 18th at Nationals.


20. Rory Linkletter, Rs. Senior, BYU (-11 / 9)

Linkletter could have been in the top five or outside of the All-American spots. It was hard to gauge his talent relative to his opponents this season, but a 22nd place finish is a perfect middle-ground for the BYU veteran.


19. Oliver Hoare, Junior, Wisconsin (0 / 19)

Hoare is such an underrated talent. 15th at Nuttycombe, runner-up at BIG 10's, and now 17th at Nationals are solid performances. He was consistent all season and never had a poor performance. While others jumped up and down the rankings, Hoare maintained his position. For that, he earns the 19th spot in our Top 50.


18. Ryan Forsyth, Rs. Senior, Colorado (+30 / 48)

Throughout the season, I wasn't quite sure how to rank Forsyth. He showed glimpses of inconsistency (ie. Nuttycombe), but when he was at his best, he was very difficult to beat. After a 34th place finish at Nuttycombe, Forsyth earned back-to-back-to-back 10th place finishes before having a monster 11th place finish at Nationals.


17. Peter Lomong, Senior, Northern Arizona (-8 / 10)

The clear #3 Lumberjack had such a strong season and I don't think many people realize just how great he was. My main concern with Lomong entering the season was his consistency and whether or not he could validate his 8th place finish from last year's National Championship.


Sure enough, Lomong accepted the challenge and thrived in nearly every race he toed the line for. He was 7th at Nuttycombe, 7th at Pre-Nats, and 7th at the Mountain Regional Championships. Talk about consistency...


His 29th place finish at Nationals wasn't what we hoped to see from him, but it was still a solid All-American performance.


16. John Dressel, Senior, Colorado (+13 / 29)

His 11th place finish at Nuttycombe was strong and a 16th place finish at Pre-Nats proved that he was healthy enough to be a top scorer. Still, he never had an explosive performance that really wowed us...until this weekend. A 9th place finish at Nationals is a phenomenal race for Dressel. To come back from such a tricky injury and earn a top 10 finish at the National Championships has to be an incredible boost to his confidence.


15. Nick Hauger, Senior, Portland (-8 / 7)

Hauger finished 6th at Nuttycombe and then posted back-to-back wins at the West Coast Conference Championships and the West Regional Championships. His 40th place finish at Nationals wasn't what we expected from him, but his overall season was very strong. He is still a top 15 talent.


14. Peter Seufer, Senior, Virginia Tech (0 / 14)

Entering Nationals, Seufer never finished lower than 2nd in any race he had toed the line for. Finishing 16th this weekend validated his top two finishes and proved that he had made a very legitimate jump in fitness this season.


13. Alfred Chelanga, Senior, Alabama (-1 / 12)

Despite not having teammates Vincent Kiprop and Gilbert Kigen by his side, Chelanga still stepped up on the big stage and had the best race of his career. His 12th place finish at Nationals matched last week's ranking.


12. Conner Mantz, Rs. Sophomore, BYU (+11 / 23)

I like guys who are aggressive in big races like this. Not only does it keep things interesting, but it forces most athletes to put forth their best effort. A 10th place finish at Nationals was the performance I had been looking for from Mantz.


11. Alex Ostberg, Rs. Junior, Stanford (0 / 11)

Ostberg's 13th place finish at Nationals was about what we expected. When you look at this season as a whole, he was incredibly consistent and proved to be such a valuable scorer. 8th in the Pre-Nats Cardinal race and 3rd at PAC 12's are two performances that were overlooked.


10. Joe Klecker, Rs. Junior, Colorado (+5 / 15)

The Colorado boys kept things interesting by putting three in the top 11. Klecker led the way with an 8th place finish and was with the top group late in the race. He might be one year away from contending for the national title.


9. Isai Rodriguez, Rs. Freshman, Oklahoma State (+22 / 31)

We didn't see Rodriguez until the Arturo Barrios Invite where he cruised across the line with his teammate. He was runner-up to Edwin Kurgat at both the conference and regional meets, but it was hard to gauge his talent until his 4th place finish at Nationals. His aggressive racing strategy mixed with impressive composure yielded one of the greatest breakout races of the 2018 season.


8. Matthew Baxter, Senior, Northern Arizona (-4 / 4)

Much like Sugira, Baxter's 15th place finish wasn't what most people expected from him. Still, there is no denying that Baxter is a top NCAA talent after finishing a narrow 3rd in the Pre-Nats Cardinal race before cruising through his conference and regional meets.


7. Amon Kemboi, Sophomore, Campbell (+1 / 8)

Was Kemboi one of the more underrated distance runners in the nation this year? It's very possible. He took the win at Beantown over Aidan Tooker, was 9th in the Pre-Nats Cardinal race, and was now 7th at Nationals. Kemboi wasn't really in the conversation to be an individual title contender, but he kept things interesting at the front of most races.


6. James Sugira, Freshman, Eastern Kentucky (-1 / 5)

Sugira's 14th place finish was far from where he was expected to finish, but his overall season was still very impressive. He was 4th at Nuttycombe before putting together three straight wins heading into Nationals. That warrants a #6 ranking.


5. Aaron Templeton, Rs. Senior, Furman (+11 / 16)

We knew Aaron Templeton was good, but I'm not sure anyone expected him to be this good in 2018. He has slowly developed into one of the NCAA's elites, and after finishing 5th at Nationals, it's hard to think that he isn't a top five runner.


4. Tyler Day, Junior, Northern Arizona (0 / 3)

Day didn't always look like someone who could contend for an individual national title, but he did enough to be in the top five and was far more consistent than a number of individuals. When you barely lose to Grant Fisher at Pre-Nats, there is no denying that you're a top five talent.


3. Edwin Kurgat, Junior, Iowa State (+3 / 6)

He was runner-up to McDonald at Nuttycombe, a conference and regional champion, and just finished 3rd at the National Championships. He's beaten Sugira and Day twice, and now Baxter once. It's hard to argue that he shouldn't be in the top three.


2. Grant Fisher, Senior, Stanford (-1 / 1)

Had Fisher not been blocked by Kurgat on McDonald's right shoulder in the final straightaway, he may have pulled away for the win. Regardless, he was 2nd best runner in the nation this year and much like McDonald, I don't think many people will argue that.


1. Morgan McDonald, Rs. Senior, Wisconsin (+1 / 2)

The undeniable #1. He had the best regular season, the best postseason, and the best race at Nationals. No argument here.

ADDED

Logan Orndorf (Portland)

Addison DeHaven (Boise State)

Casey Comber (Villanova)

Waleed Suliman (Ole Miss)

Danny Kilrea (Notre Dame)

John Aho (Michigan)


DROPPED

Chris Olley (San Francisco)

Azaria Kirwa (Liberty)

Talon Hull (Washington)

Carlos Villarreal (Arizona)

Ben Kendell (Detroit Mercy)

Zach Facioni (Wake Forest)


JUST MISSED (in no order)

Christian Ricketts (Southern Utah)

Emmanuel Cheboson (Louisville)

Ehab El-Sandali (Iona)

Carson Hume (Colorado State)

Jacob McLeod (Belmont)

Chris Olley (San Francisco)

Azaria Kirwa (Liberty)

Talon Hull (Washington)

Carlos Villarreal (Arizona)

Ben Kendell (Detroit Mercy)

Zach Facioni (Wake Forest)


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK

Isai Rodriguez (Oklahoma State)

He was solid all season, but if you would have told me that Rodriguez was going to finish 4th at Nationals, I'm not sure I would have believed you. Young guys like him may be risky picks due to their lack of experience, but they also have tremendous upside. Rodriguez couldn't have been a better example of that.


RUNNER OF THE WEEK

Morgan McDonald (Wisconsin)

He won a national title. Pretty sure that's all we need to say.


NOTES

  • Despite falling out of the rankings, Chris Olley (San Francisco) would likely be our #51 runner.