Defending Champs Adams State Men, GVSU Women Named Preseason DII XC Favorites

By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA

August 28, 2013   

NEW ORLEANS - The Adams State men and Grand Valley State women were already the teams to beat in Division II cross country after claiming national titles in 2012, but the targets on their backs became more pronounced Wednesday as the two squads were announced as the coaches’ preseason favorites in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Preseason National Coaches Poll.

FULL POLLS: Men’s | Women’s

National PDFs: Top 25 Summary | Week-by-Week 2013 | Week-by-Week All Time
Regional Rankings PDF: Summary

Division II XC Rankings Central

Having won four of the past five NCAA Championships and been ranked No. 1 in each of the last four preseasons prior to 2013, opening the season as the favorite is a position almost expected of the Adams State men. They are followed in the top five by RMAC rival No. 2 Western State, No. 3 Augustana (S.D.), No. 4 Chico State and No. 5 Grand Valley State

Meanwhile, the Grand Valley State women, despite having won two of the past three NCAA titles, enter as the preseason favorites for the first time during their recent run of success. Hot on the Lakers’ trail are the No. 2 Adams State women, looking to reclaim the title for the first time since a run of 15 titles in 18 years was halted by GVSU in 2010. Joining them in the top five are No. 3 Western State, No. 4 Augustana (S.D.) and No. 5 Chico State.

Recent history shows the men’s preseason No. 1 more often than not ends up with the trophy at the conclusion of the season, as Adams State has been the favorite the past four years and won three titles, interrupted only by Western State winning in 2011. Women’s preseason favorites have had a rougher go of it, as the last preseason favorite to win the title was Adams State in 2009.

Notably, this is the first edition of the Division II National Coaches Poll, as previous iterations of the Division II rankings have been compiled by single individuals.

The NCAA Division II National Championships will be held November 23 in Spokane, Wash.

MEN

The Adams State men (200 points) will be going for their fifth title in the past six seasons in 2013, and with all eight first place votes cast in favor of the Grizzlies, the voting committee believes the Grizzlies are poised to do just that. Adams State has the returning firepower to back up such a run, with four scorers and five of their seven runners from the 2012 championship team back in action in 2013 — all of whom finished 30th or better.

Included in those returnees are a trio of top-four national performers from 2012 in juniors Kevin Batt (national runner-up), Tabor Stevens (third) and Matthew Daniels (fourth). Fellow junior John Luterbach (15th) rounds out the returning scorers for the Grizzlies, and senior Jovanny Godinez (28th) will also return.

After a sixth-place showing at NCAAs a year ago, Adams State’s RMAC rival No. 2 Western State (188 points) will look to challenge the Grizzlies’ dominance and reclaim the title it last won in 2011. With all six runners from its national team returning in 2013, the Mountaineers will be right in the thick of the national title discussion. A group of young talent returns that includes junior Ian Butler (40th), and sophomores Vegard Olstad (42nd) and Michael Cernoia (63rd). Also returning is senior Garrett Wilson (73rd).

Another team that has the championship experience to make a run at Adams State is No. 3 Augustana (S.D.) (178 points), which returns four of five scorers and six of seven total runners from its fourth-place team in 2012. Junior Adam Braun (24th) is the top returner, followed by younger runners in sophomores Harald Karbo (58th) and Nathan Hauge (64th) and junior Shane McCallum (66th) who gained valuable experience in 2012.

Championship experience is also in no short supply at No. 4 Chico State (174 points), with four of five scorers returning from their fifth-place 2012 team and a recent history of three top-five finishes in a row. Seniors lead the way for the Wildcats, highlighted by Isaac Chavez’s 13th-place showing a year ago. Also returning are two more seniors in Alfonso Cisneros (50th) and Dayne Gradone (60th), along with junior Johnny Sanchez (70th).

Rounding out the top five is Grand Valley State (170 points), projected two spots ahead of its seventh-place result at the 2012 championships. Three scorers return for the Lakers, including senior Josh Moskalewski (53rd), sophomore Joe Duff (78th) and senior Brent Showerman (82nd).

No. 6 Colorado Mines, the 2012 runner-up; No. 7 Missouri Southern, No. 8 Edinboro, No. 9 Alaska Anchorage and No. 10 Southern Indiana comprise the remainder of the top 10.

Though not in the top 10, the inclusion of No. 19 Malone is notable for the fact that this is the program’s first year of active Division II membership.

The RMAC, and by extension, the South Central Region, both have the potential to be among the most difficult conferences and regions in the country with three teams in the top six. No other conference placed multiple teams in the top 10, while only the Central Region with two top-10 teams can join in on the South Central’s claim of multiple top-10 squads.

In total, the RMAC placed five teams in the top 25, followed by the GLIAC with four.

WOMEN

Despite the fact that two of the past three NCAA Division II cross country national championship trophies reside in Allendale, Mich., the Grand Valley State women (197 points) are the preseason favorites for the first time in program history. Five returning scorers and six of seven total nationals runners back in 2013 could not be ignored, as the voters bestowed seven of the eight first-place votes to the Lakers.

A pair of young front-runners from NCAAs a year ago return in sophomore Jessica Janecke, who was just a freshman when she finished fourth overall in 2012, and junior Allyson Winchester, who finished just behind her teammate in sixth. Juniors Hannah Osborn (26th) and Madie Rodts (42nd) and senior Courtney Brewis (51st) will also return for a shot at a third title in four seasons.

Looking to reclaim the mantle of "Most dominant team in Division II," the No. 2 Adams State women (193 points) were the recipient of the final first-place vote. After having their run of 15 titles in 18 years snapped by GVSU in 2010, the Grizzlies have yet to return to the top of the podium. Despite the loss of individual national champ Alicia Nelson, Adams State returns its remaining four scorers from its third-place 2012 team. Senior Kelly Lamb (13th), junior Lauren Martin (38th), senior Alyssa Selve (39th) and junior Jesse Brunett (49th) are all back to try to bring the title back to Alamosa, Colo.

No. 3 Western State (184 points) finished fourth in 2012 and runner-up the prior two seasons, and with four returning scorers the Mountaineers are projected to maintain or improve upon that form. Sophomore Julie Pack finished ninth overall in her first season last year, and she leads a corps of returners that includes seniors Cassandra Ortiz (45th) and Anna Marshall (65th), along with junior Tara Richardson (90th).

No. 4 Augustana (S.D.) (172 points) claimed the team title in 2011 and finished runner-up last season, but the loss of three scorers from a year ago caused the drop to fourth. Their two returning scorers are certainly heavyweights, however, in seniors Runa Falch and Kristin Brondbo who finished eighth and 10th, respectively, in 2012.

Completing the top five is No. 5 Chico State (169 points), which brings back three scoring members of its team from 2012 that finished in the same position. Top two scorers and seniors Sara Mikesell (14th) and Ayla Granados (46th) return, as does junior Jessica Varela (63rd).

Completing the top 10 are No. 6 Shippensburg, No. 7 Alaska Anchorage, No. 8 UC Colorado Springs, No. 9 Winona State and No. 10 West Texas A&M.

As on the men’s side the South Central Region could potentially be the deepest in the country with four top-10 teams.

The RMAC and PSAC both claim four top-25 teams.

 

USTFCCCA NCAA Division II

Men’s Cross Country National Rankings

2013 Preseason — August 28

next release: September 18
Rank Institution (FPV) Points Region Conference Head Coach (Yr*)
2012 FINAL
1 Adams State (8) 200 South Central RMAC Damon Martin (19th)
1
2 Western State 188 South Central RMAC Jennifer Michel (7th)
6
3 Augustana (S.D.) 178 Central NSIC Tracy Hellman (13th)
4
4 Chico State 174 West CCAA Gary Towne (18th)
5
5 Grand Valley State 170 Midwest GLIAC Jerry Baltes (15th)
7
6 Colorado Mines 160 South Central RMAC Chris Siemers (2nd)
2
7 Missouri Southern 149 Central MIAA Bryan Schiding (1st)
8
8 Edinboro 141 Atlantic PSAC Rick Hammer (1st)
9
9 Alaska Anchorage 138 West GNAC Michael Friess (24th)
3
10 Southern Indiana 131 Midwest GLVC Mike Hillyard (16th)
17
11 Ashland 118 Midwest GLIAC Trent Mack (4th)
9
12 UC-Colorado Springs 113 South Central RMAC Mark Misch (7th)
11
13 American International 103 East Northeast-10 Leo Mayo (8th)
12
14 Southwest Baptist 90 Central MIAA Corey McElhaney (6th)
14
15 Cedarville 89 Midwest G-MAC Paul Orchard (11th)
15
16 Western Washington 82 West GNAC Pee Wee Halsell (27th)
21
17 Lock Haven 73 Atlantic PSAC Aaron Russell (16th)
18
18 Humboldt State 57 West CCAA Scott Pesch (4th)
16
19 Malone 45 Midwest GLIAC Jack Hazen (47th)
NR
20 Fort Lewis 43 South Central RMAC Mark Dutro (2nd)
23
21 Mount Olive 41 Southeast Conf. Carolinas Matt van Lierop (5th)
28
22 Minnesota State 39 Central NSIC Loren Ahonen (1st)
20
23 Eastern New Mexico 23 South Central Lone Star Michael Barbee (1st)
18
24 Cal Baptist 16 West PacWest Ben Gall (2nd)
NR
25 Ferris State 14 Midwest GLIAC Steve Picucci (6th)
13
Also Receiving Votes: Stonehill 8, King College 7, Slippery Rock 4, Alabama-Huntsville 2, West Texas A&M 2, Columbus State 2
(* year as head coach of that team in men’s cross country, officially NCAA-recognized coach listed)

 

USTFCCCA NCAA Division II

Women’s Cross Country National Rankings

2013 Preseason — August 28

next release: September 18
Rank Institution (FPV) Points Region Conference Head Coach (Yr*)
2012 FINAL
1 Grand Valley State (7) 197 Midwest GLIAC Jerry Baltes (15th)
1
2 Adams State (1) 193 South Central RMAC Damon Martin (26th)
3
3 Western State 184 South Central RMAC Jennifer Michel (7th)
4
4 Augustana (S.D.) 172 Central NSIC Tracy Hellman (13th)
2
5 Chico State 169 West CCAA Gary Towne (18th)
5
6 Shippensburg 159 Atlantic PSAC Steve Spence (16th)
7
7 Alaska Anchorage 154 West GNAC Michael Friess (24th)
6
8 UC-Colorado Springs 142 South Central RMAC David Harmer (2nd)
10
9 Winona State 137 Central NSIC Brett Ayers (1st)
9
10 West Texas A&M 121 South Central Lone Star Kimberly Dudley (16th)
11
11 Hillsdale 118 Midwest GLIAC Andrew Towne (3rd)
NR
12 Mansfield 96 Atlantic PSAC Mike Rohl (11th)
NR
13 Simon Fraser 88 West GNAC Brit Townsend (14th)
NR
14 Minnesota Duluth 87 Central NSIC Joanna Warmington (3rd)
NR
15 Ferris State 76 Midwest GLIAC Steve Picucci (6th)
22
16 Midwestern State 75 South Central Lone Star Koby Styles (7th)
NR
17 Humboldt State 66 West CCAA Scott Pesch (4th)
15
18 Indiana (Pa.) 54 Atlantic PSAC Joey Zins (5th)
18
19 Stonehill 50 East Northeast-10 Karen Boen (16th)
23
20 Southern Indiana 48 Midwest GLVC Mike Hillyard (17th)
16
21 Tampa 37 South Sunshine Jarrett Slaven (15th)
25
22 Southwest Baptist 32 Central MIAA Corey McElhaney (6th)
NR
23 Metro State 31 South Central RMAC Nick Maas (1st)
NR
24 Edinboro 29 Atlantic PSAC Rick Hammer (1st)
14
25 Cal State Stanislaus 27 West CCAA Diljeet Taylor (7th)
20
Also Receiving Votes: Missouri Southern 14, Adelphi 12, Columbus State 11, Nova Southeastern 9, Saginaw Valley State 7, Wayne State (Mich.) 4, King College 1
(* year as head coach of that team in women’s cross country, officially NCAA-recognized coach listed)