The Warm-Up Lap: XC Season Picks Up Steam at Notre Dame, Lehigh & Others

The Warm-Up Lap: XC Season Picks Up Steam at Notre Dame, Lehigh & Others

NEW ORLEANS – Even as temperatures begin to drop now that the calendar has turned to October, cross country 2013 continues to heat up with not just one but two meets this weekend featuring two-dozen or more ranked teams from all three NCAA divisions.

Many of the nationally ranked teams that didn’t compete at last week’s plethora of meets will be in action this time around — as will some of the teams that did compete last weekend — with huge concentrations of teams at the Notre Dame Invitational and Lehigh’s Paul Short Run among a handful of other significant match-ups over the coming days.

For the second straight weekend cross country fans will be treated to a top-five women’s throwdown as No. 2 Florida State tangles with ACC rival No. 4 Duke at Notre Dame Friday afternoon — highlighting a deep meet with 27 ranked teams between all three divisions and both genders.

Elsewhere in Division I, regional rivals Oregon, Washington and Portland will go at it at Oregon’s Bill Dellinger Invitational, pitting the No. 4 Oregon men against No. 8 Portland and the No. 5 defending champion Oregon women against No. 7 Washington.

Division II and III will take center stage at a handful of other meets around the country — in addition to strong match-ups at both Notre Dame and Lehigh. The Greater Louisville Classic and the Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival both feature top-10 DII tussles, while DIII will shine at its Pre-Nationals.

The map below shows where all the aforementioned hotspots are this weekend, and readers can simply click on the meets about which they’d like to know more to beam directly to its preview.

But first, this week’s headlines:

Cross Country
Coaching & Administrative

SEC commish Slive speaks to NCAA reforms

Board of DI faculty reps proposes a fourth division for the NCAA

Nebraska promotes T.J. Pierce to assistant coach

Eastern Michigan adds Jon Debogory and Lamont Johnson as assistants

NCAA Division II Membership Committee meets, 22 Universities transitioning to DII

Duke Welcomes 6 Volunteers To Staff

Flotrack XC Rankings: Men | Women
Food for Thought

New York freshmen describe cross-country recruitment to OSU (TrackFocus)


Track & Field Q&A: Jenny Simpson (2009 The Bowerman Winner)





Notre Dame Invitational

Friday, Oct. 4 | Meet Program | Host Preview

South Bend, Ind., is the site of this weekend’s premiere Division I cross country meet both in terms of headlining match-ups and sheer number of ranked teams. With a top-five showdown between ACC rivals No. 2 Florida State and No. 4 Duke in the women’s Blue race and a top-10 match-up between No. 7 Tulsa and No. 9 Princeton in the men’s race, the meet is fraught with implications for the National Coaches Polls.

With both FSU and Duke rested after idling this past weekend, look for two fresh teams to open up a series of 2013 showdowns that will include the ACC Championships and almost certainly the NCAA Championships.

Florida State said goodbye to four of its five scorers from its fourth-place team at the 2012 NCAAs, but the 2013 squad has stepped in to fill those gaps in a big way. Lone returning scorer and All-American junior Colleen Quigley is translating her momentum as outdoor NCAA steeplechase runner-up to the trails, joined by junior transfer Hannah Walker as the squad’s formidable 1-2 punch. Quigley won the individual ND Invite crown a year ago to lead her FSU squad to the team title, while Walker has been the top FSU runner and overall winner in each of her two meets so far this season.

Duke has its three top scorers from its seventh-place 2012 NCAA squad back in action this year, including two All-Americans in Kelsey Lakowske and Juliet Bottorff. Notre Dame will be just the second competition of the season for some of the Blue Devils’ top runners, though they looked sharp in a win at the Adidas XC Challenge at NC State as Bottorff set a course record and garnered National Athlete of the Week recognition.

By no means will FSU and Duke be alone in the race, however. No. 15 New Mexico is in action for the first time since its season-opener in early September, and leading a pack of five other ranked squads including No. 19 host Notre Dame, No. 20 Butler, No. 24 San Francisco, No. 28 BYU and No. 30 Princeton. In addition to trying to take down one or both of the top-five squads in competition, they will all be battling for valuable head-to-head wins for potential at-large competition into the NCAA Championships should regionals not play out in their favor.

The men’s match-up between No. 7 Tulsa and No. 9 Princeton should be equally intriguing. The Golden Hurricane appears to be priming its top squad for its debut, as 2012 All-American and indoor mile collegiate-record holder Chris O’Hare leads the squad in South Bend. O’Hare was the individual winner at ND a year ago to lead Tulsa to the title.

Among those joining him is fellow up-and-coming middle distance star Adam Palamar, a redshirt freshman who broke the Canadian junior 1500 meter record this past summer (3:38.92).

No. 9 Princeton is scheduled to split its squad between Notre Dame and the other big meet of the weekend, the Paul Short Run at Lehigh, but most of its top runners will be here in South Bend. The Tigers return four of five scorers and six of seven total runners from its 11th-place squad at NCAAs last season, led by a trio of seniors in Chris Bendsten — a finalist outdoors at 10,000 meters on the track, Alejandro Arroyo Yamin and Tyler Udland.

Notre Dame is the first competition for the squad in two weeks since posting a perfect team score of 15 at the Delaware Invitational led by junior Sam Pons with the overall win.

A dark horse contender could be the New Mexico men, ranked No. 21 in the latest National Coaches Poll — which is exactly where the Lobos finished at the 2012 NCAA Championships. With All-American senior Luke Caldwell leading a squad of six returners from that squad, Flotrack is high on the Lobos, who are ranked No. 5 in their rankings, and LetsRun had the Lobos No. 10 in their preseason Returners Rankings. This will serve as the season debut for most of their top runners.

Also battling for crucial head-to-head victories in the men’s race are No. 16 Colorado State after a runner-up finish at the Roy Griak Invitational last weekend, No. 22 host Notre Dame, No. 24 Virginia, No. 26 Florida State, No. 29 Michigan and No. 30 Columbia.

Notre Dame Gold Races

After holding strong against Division I competition this past weekend at the Roy Griak Invitational, the No. 1 defending champion Grand Valley State women and the No. 3 men won’t be in the top division at Notre Dame, but will still face tough competition from divisions both above and below them. Most of the field will be Division I, but the women will match-up with GLIAC rival No. 16 Hillsdale and No. 8 Calvin of Division III.

The GVSU men will have a tougher test as they take on Division III powerhouse No. 1 North Central (Ill.), the defending national champions. The Cardinals’ John Crain — already a two-time National Athlete of the Week in 2013 — headlines a field that includes a regional rivalry between Division III’s No. 12 Wabash and No. 22 Calvin.

Both teams hail from the Great Lakes Region, which has been won by Calvin in each of the past 17 seasons. Wabash has pulled ahead of the Knights in the Regional Rankings and the National Coaches Polls and will pose a serious challenge later this fall.

Wabash will be splitting squads between Notre Dame and the Division III Pre-National Meet, but will run its top student-athletes here in South Bend.


Lehigh Paul Short Run

Saturday, October 5 | Meet Home
Race Assignments: Men | Women

Friday’s conflux of ranked teams may be at Notre Dame, but the focus shifts to the east Saturday morning to Pennsylvania for the 40th running of the Paul Short Run at Lehigh. In total between both genders and the three NCAA Divisions, 30 ranked teams will be represented.

The No. 10 Cornell women are the defending team champions at the event, but the Big Red will face stiff competition in the Gold division of the meet, not the least of which is No. 6 Georgetown and Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino, the individual top returner (runner-up) from last season’s NCAA Championships and a three-time 2013 NCAA track champion.

Cornell is coming off a third-place finish at the Boston College Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown behind No. 1 Providence and No. 5 defending national champion Oregon, led by returning All-American Rachel Sorna in fifth place individually. Sorna and the full squad will be back in action again, as they’ll all be needed to compete against the strong field.

The stiffest team competition will likely come from Georgetown, the 2011 national champions who are in action for the first time since winning the Dartmouth Invitational in mid-September. The Hoyas return three of its scorers and five total runners from its 2012 NCAA team that finished 12th, all of whom would make their 2013 season debuts at Lehigh. Juniors Madeline Chambers and Katrina Coogan are the top two returners.

Right behind the meet’s two top-ranked teams are No. 12 Villanova and No. 13 Penn State, along with No. 22 Boston College, No. 25 Iowa State and No. 29 West Virginia.

Aside from D’Agostino, other returning All-Americans looking to figure prominently into the individual race are No. 12 Villanova’s Emily Lipari and Cornell’s Sorna.

Division II will be represented in the Gold division by No. 11 Indiana (Pa.), while three top-10 teams from Division III will be in action.  No. 1 defending champion Johns Hopkins, which finished eighth among 13 Division I squads at Boston College last weekend behind former National Athlete of the Week Hannah Oneda’s 21st-place finish, headlines Division III involvement, joined by No. 6 Williams and No. 10 St. Lawrence.

Williams will be looking to rebound after narrowly finishing third at its home Purple Valley Classic last weekend behind now-No. 3 Middlebury and No. 4 MIT.

No. 11 Iona headlines the men’s race, up against a trio of other top-30 squads in No. 15 Indiana, No. 20 Georgetown and No. 27 Villanova.

The Gaels of Iona are looking to take control of the Northeast Region, as at No. 2 in the region and No. 11 they currently sit just one spot back of Syracuse in both regards. A strong showing could push the Gaels ahead of the Orange in both respects. After cruising to a team victory at their own Br. Doyle Meet of Champions two weekends ago, freshman Kieran Clements, junior Jake Byrne and the squad will likely be more race-minded this weekend.

Indiana will compete as the No. 1 team in the Great Lakes Region for the first time this season after displacing 11-time consecutive region winner Wisconsin atop the Regional Ranking.

In addition to No. 13 American International of Division II — led by former National Athlete of the Week Mike Biwott, who defeated all of Iona’s runners at the Br. Doyle Meet of Champions — the Gold division will also be a showcase for a number of top Division III squads.

No. 3 Haverford slipped out of a tied for the No. 2 spot in the National Coaches Poll earlier this week, but will look to rebound this weekend behind Chris Stadler, who finished just behind Villanova’s No. 3 runner at the Main Line Invitational this past weekend.

Two other top-10 DIII teams will toe the line in No. 8 Dickinson and No. 9 Williams. Also from DIII are No. 15 SUNY Cortland, No. 19 Johns Hopkins and No. 28 Allegheny (Pa.)


Oregon Bill Dellinger Invitational

Saturday, October 5 | Live Results | Host Preview

Not to be lost in the shuffle of these large invitationals is a smaller meet out in Oregon, where the Ducks will play host to the Bill Dellinger Invitational. Despite only having 12 teams in both the men’s and women’s races, the meet still features top-10 match-ups just as tantalizing as those at Notre Dame and Lehigh.

Following an eight-spot increase in the rankings to No. 4 after dispatching three ranked teams at Boston College including then-No. 8 Wisconsin, the Oregon men will have a shot at the team that assumed the Badgers’ spot at No. 8 — regional rival Portland.

The Ducks will run a team largely similar to last week’s squad in Boston — meaning no debut for Northeastern transfer Eric Jenkins, 1500 meter champ Mac Fleet or French steeplechase transfer Tanguy Pepiot — but freshman sensation Edward Cheserek will have the opportunity to extend his collegiate unbeaten streak after winning in his debut last week. Fellow freshman and runner-up Jake Leingang will not compete.

Keep an eye out for a bounceback effort by three-time track All-American Parker Stinson, who finished outside Oregon’s top seven last week.

The Pilots have an axe to grind after the Ducks flew past them in both the regional and national rankings — but that will wait for another time as Portland will rest its top runners for the weekend.

A Pac-12 top-10 tussle is in store for the women’s race as No. 5 defending champion Oregon takes on No. 7 Washington. Like the men’s team, the Duck women will be without the services of their top transfers, but will roll out the mostly the same squad that finished runner-up to No. 1 Providence last week in Boston. Senior Megan Patrignelli led the way with a sixth-place finish, while young Ducks freshman Maggie Schmaedick and sophomore Molly Grabill were 11th and 12th, respectively.

Washington is back in action for the first time since hosting their Sundodger Invitational in mid-September. After not competing during the track season and a tough 2012 XC season, senior Katie Flood is rounding back into form after winning the Sundodger. She was a seventh-place finisher at XC NCAAs in 2011 and an individual NCAA track champion outdoors at 1500 meters that spring, and is striving toward reaching that status once more in her final season.

After losing top 2012 returner Megan Goethals to injury, the Huskies will need Flood at full strength and returning scorers Justine Johnson and Liberty Miller — both seniors — to step up to fill the void, and an early test against Oregon will be a good measuring stick.


Greater Louisville Classic

Saturday, October 5 | Meet Home | Meet Entries

On the site of Division I’s national championships from a year ago at the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, Division II and III competition slugging it out with one another and Division I schools will be the main attraction at Louisville as far as ranked competition goes. Highlights in the Division I competition include former National Athlete of the Week and this past weekend’s Cowboy Jamboree individual champion Cally Macumber of Kentucky leading her Wildcats in a rivalry match-up against Louisville.

The Southern Indiana women are ranked an all-time program-best No. 8 in the National Coaches Poll, and they’ll be put to the test with three other ranked DII squads — along with No. 26 Vanderbilt of DI — in the field. Senior Erika Wilson ran a 21:48 at the Spartan Invitational in mid-September for the sixth-fastest 6K time in school history en route to an unofficial third-place finish among non-DI schools in the Screaming Eagles’ most recent showing.

They’ll take on No. 12 UW-Parkside, No. 14 Edinboro and No. 19 Tampa.

Former National Athlete of the Week and Spartan Invitational individual champion Johnnie Guy and his men’s Screaming Eagles will only have one other ranked DII squad to deal with, but it’s a top-10 match-up against No. 8 Edinboro. Southern Indiana leads by 22 votes in the National Coaches Poll over the Fighting Scots, but a close result or an upset would go a long way in tightening that race.

Also in the men’s field are a pair of ranked Division III squads in No. 4 Washington (Mo.) — led by former National Athlete of the Week Drew Padgett — and No. 17 Carnegie Mellon.


Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival

Saturday, October 5 | Meet Schedule & Live Results

A pair of top-10 teams from Division I will be in action at the Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival — host Arkansas’ No. 6 men’s team, led by a strong group including former National Athlete of the Week Stanley Kebenei; and the No. 9 Arkansas women.

Both the men’s and women’s races will feature ranked teams from Division II, which is where the most impactful head-to-head competition will take place in terms of significance toward the National Coaches Polls.

The men’s race will feature four top Division II squads including No. 6 Augustana (S.D.) and No. 9 Missouri Southern. Augustana’s Vikings are coming off a Division II team title on a difficult, rainy course at the Roy Griak Invitational behind second- and third-place individual finishes by senior Paul Yak and junior Adam Braun, while Missouri Southern is rested following its home Stampede a couple weekends ago.

The duo from Augustana will be tested by former National Athlete of the Week Eric Schott of MSSU, who will also get his third race against the Arkansas men.

No. 11 New Mexico Highlands will get its first test after skyrocketing from unranked to No. 11 in the National Coaches Polls. West Texas A&M at No. 20 rounds out the top DII competition.

Reigning National Athlete of the Week Runa Falch is back in action this weekend as the No. 3 Augustana women — tied with No. 3 Western State in the poll — look to build on their resounding Maroon II women’s team crown at the Griak.

Their main DII challenger will be No. 24 Dallas Baptist, which will get its first big test since being ranked nationally for the first time since the middle of 2010. Last time out, junior Kelsey Bruce was the individual champ at the West Texas A&M Buffalo Stampede where the Patriots finished runners-up as a team.


Division III Pre-Nationals (Hanover)

Saturday, October 5 | Host Preview

In less than two months the L.S. Ayres Athletic Complex in Hanover, Ind., will rumble under the feet of Division III’s top programs and runners. This weekend, a number of teams will preview the course at Division III Pre-Nationals. Among the more than 20 teams scheduled to compete are four ranked men’s squads and three ranked women’s teams.

Last season, Johns Hopkins took the individual team title for the women en route to its first NCAA Division III team title. Will the eventual champion be in the field this weekend? Stay tuned to find out.

No. 6 Bowdoin and former National Athlete of the Week Coby Horowitz headline the men’s competition against No. 12 Wabash — which is splitting its squad between here and Notre Dame, where most of its top runners will compete — No. 18 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and No. 32 Manchester.

The women’s field includes No. 5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, which was the top-finishing Division III squad at the Stanford Invitational led by senior Lisa Beem in 64th overall in the mostly DI, DII and NAIA race. The Athenas finished runners-up to Johns Hopkins last year before going on to finish third at the NCAA Championships.

Up against the Athenas in Hanover will be No. 9 Trinity (Texas) and No. 22 St. Scholastica with reigning National Athlete of the Week Chelsea Johnson, who will be going for her fourth individual win of the season after winning the Suzy Wilson women’s Maroon III race at the Griak this past weekend in wire-to-wire fashion.

Trinity dominated the non-Division I competition at the UTSA Ricardo Romo Classic two weekends ago, led by individual winner senior Maddie Murphy to nine of the top 10 non-DI individual places.


Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival DIII Pre-Nationals Notre Dame Invitational Greater Louisville Classic Lehigh Paul Short Run Oregon Bill Dellinger Invitational