The Warm-Up Lap: Nationally Ranked College XC Showdowns From Coast-to-Coast This Weekend

The Warm-Up Lap: Nationally Ranked College XC Showdowns From Coast-to-Coast This Weekend

NEW ORLEANS – After a couple weeks of nationally ranked teams largely doing their own thing over the course of the first couple weeks of the collegiate cross country season, the week three schedule has several much-welcomed, intriguing head-to-head match-ups.

Sick of hearing about the state of Michigan yet? Better get used to it. On the rivalry between the No. 1 Michigan women and No. 6 Michigan State, Mitch Kastoff writes for Running Times, "This year, the rivalry will play out nationally: The neighboring schools—only 55 minutes of farmland-bordered highways separate Ann Arbor from East Lansing—could finish one-two at the NCAA championships."

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Joanna WarmingtonJoanna Warmington
Minn. Duluth

Mike McGuire
Mike
McGuire

Michigan

Phil
Lundin

St. Olaf

The No. 1 Wolverines will be dormant in Ann Arbor until next weekend, but East Lansing will be the host of Michigan State’s Auto Owners Spartan Invitational in just one day’s time. While the Spartans are a top-10 team nationally coming off a successful weekend in Oregon featuring a team win and National Athlete of the Week honors for Rachele Schulist, they will have a fight on their hands from another school that can make a legitimate claim as the Mitten State’s most successful.

Hitting the trails for the first time since decisively claiming its third Division II cross country title in the past four years, No. 1 Grand Valley State could be on a mission with six of seven returning from its dominant squad a year ago to show that it deserves to be the third point in a triangular Michigan rivalry.

This will be the first of two times the Spartans and Lakers could face off – the other being Minnesota’s Roy Griak at the end of the month – and a GVSU v. Michigan showdown could be in the cards at Notre Dame in early October.

The depth of Michigan’s nationally prominent cross country programs doesn’t stop with those three. Also from Division II, No. 8 Hillsdale and No. 9 Saginaw Valley will be in on the action Friday in East Lansing.

Speaking of Division II, the USTFCCCA archives for Division II National Coaches Polls now (with the exception of a few weeks) dates all the way back to the turn of the new millennium. Remember when both the Adams State men and Grand Valley State women both had double-digit preseason ranks next to their names, and GVSU was the third-ranked team in the state of Michigan? You’d certainly be excused for not remembering with significantly more important and tragic world events in New York City unfolding that day 13 years ago, but find out here.

But enough about Michigan (for now). The biggest gathering of top-ranked Division I squads so far this young season is on tap to the south and east of Michigan at Penn State with the Harry Grove Spiked Shoe Invitational on Saturday.

The women’s race in particular could be entertaining with four nationally ranked DI Mid-Atlantic Region rivals in No. 5 Georgetown, No. 13 Syracuse, No. 20 West Virginia and No. 29 Penn State, along with SUNY Geneseo,  the No. 10 team in Division III.

Expectations are high for the No. 8 Syracuse men, who will face off with No. 29 Georgetown and a pair of top-20 DIII squads in No. 13 SUNY Geneseo and No. 19. SUNY Cortland.

Southwestward now to Lexington, Kentucky, home of Saturday’s Bluegrass Invitational. No. 4 Oklahoma State – which has won three national titles in the past five years – continues its quest to reclaim its 2012 NCAA crown against No. 21 Eastern Kentucky, in addition to a national DII contender in No. 6 Southern Indiana.

On the other side of the country, BYU will host its annual Autumn Classic on Saturday. The No. 9 BYU men men will face off with No. 24 UCLA, while the women’s race will feature No. 25 Minnesota and No. 28 Weber State.

The West Coast also features one of this weekend’s biggest Division II showdowns on Saturday as the UC-Riverside Invitational will see three top-25 men’s teams in No. 21 UC San Diego, No. 24 Cal Poly Pomona and No. 25 Cal Baptist square off against one another, along with DIII’s No. 16 Pomona-Pitzer and No. 24 Occidental.

Another potentially big showdown could be Saturday’s Western State Mountaineer Open. These teams faced off just a week ago at Colorado State, so who knows which runners will compete for them, but the No. 3 Western State women and No. 7 Metro State will go head-to-head, as will the No. 3 Western State men and No. 10 Metro State.

Concluding our haphazard nationwide tour of nationally prominent XC action on the other side of the country is Division III’s top meet this week at Saturday’s Saratoga Invitational. National runners-up a year ago, the No. 2 Williams women open up their season against No. 9 NYU, No. 20. St. Lawrence and No. 22 Ithaca. The men’s race will feature No. 3 Williams, No. 25 St. Lawrence and No. 30 RPI.

The full breakdown of where nationally ranked teams are competing this weekend can be found below.

Men’s Top 30 – DI

Team Meet
4. Oklahoma State Kentucky Bluegrass Cross Country Invitational
8. Syracuse Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
9. BYU BYU Autumn Classic
10. Villanova Friend Big 5 Invitational
16. Providence The Wolfie Invitational
19. Princeton TRI: Harvard-Yale-Princeton (Cross Country)
21. Eastern Kentucky Kentucky Bluegrass Cross Country Invitational
24. UCLA BYU Autumn Classic
29. Georgetown Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational

Women’s Top 30 – DI

Team Meet
5. Georgetown Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
6. Michigan State Spartan Invitational (cross country)
13. Syracuse Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
14. Villanova Friend Big 5 Invitational
17. Boston College Minutemen Invitational (cross country)
18. Providence The Wolfie Invitational
19. Oklahoma State Kentucky Bluegrass Cross Country Invitational
20. West Virginia Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
22. SMU Gerald Ritchey Invitational
23. Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Commodore Classic
24. Dartmouth Dartmouth Invitational
25. Minnesota BYU Autumn Classic
25. William and Mary William and Mary Invitational
28. Weber State BYU Autumn Classic
29. Penn State Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational

 

Men’s Top 25 – DII

Team Meet
2. Grand Valley State Spartan Invitational (cross country)
3. Western State Mountaineer Open
6. Southern Indiana Kentucky Bluegrass Cross Country Invitational
10. Metro State Mountaineer Open
11. Mount Olive Furman Classic
12. Lock Haven Kutztown Division II/III Challenge
13. West Texas A&M Texas Tech Red Raider Open
15. American International Bruce Kirsh Cross Country Cup
18. Western Washington Central Washington Invitational
19. Edinboro Edinboro Rag Relays
20. Ferris State Spartan Invitational (cross country)
21. UC San Diego UC Riverside Invitational
22. Franklin Pierce Bruce Kirsh Cross Country Cup
23. Southwest Baptist Central Missouri Mule Run
24. Cal Poly Pomona UC Riverside Invitational
25. Cal Baptist UC Riverside Invitational

Women’s Top 25 – DII

Team Meet
1. Grand Valley State Spartan Invitational (cross country)
3. Western State Mountaineer Open
7. Metro State Mountaineer Open
8. Hillsdale Spartan Invitational (cross country)
9. Saginaw Valley State Spartan Invitational (cross country)
10. Winona State UW-Parkside Midwest Open
11. Cal Baptist UC Riverside Invitational
12. West Texas A&M Texas Tech Red Raider Open
14. Edinboro Edinboro Rag Relays
16. Simon Fraser Ash Creek Preserve Invitational
  Central Washington Invitational
17. UC-Colorado Springs Rust Buster Open
19. Western Washington Central Washington Invitational
22. Stonehill Kutztown Division II/III Challenge
23. U-Mary Randy Smith Invitational

 

Men’s Top 35 – DIII

Team Meet
2. North Central (Ill.) Illinois Intercollegiate (cross country)
  Illinois State Invite
3. Williams Saratoga Invitational
7. Johns Hopkins Salty Dog Invitational
8. UW-La Crosse Falcon Invitational (Concordia Wisconsin)
9. UW-Platteville Warhawk Invitational
12. Middlebury Dartmouth Invitational
13. SUNY Geneseo Golden Eagle Invitational (cross country)
  Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
15. Dickinson TRI: Dickinson/Franklin & Marshall/Gettysburg (Little Three Meet)
16. Pomona-Pitzer UC Riverside Invitational
19. SUNY Cortland Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
22. Amherst Minutemen Invitational (cross country)
23. Calvin Knight Invitational (cross country)
24. Occidental UC Riverside Invitational
25. St. Lawrence Saratoga Invitational
26. Carleton Les Duke Invitational
28. UW-Oshkosh UW-Parkside Midwest Open
30. RPI Saratoga Invitational

Women’s Top 35 – DIII

Team Meet
1. Johns Hopkins Salty Dog Invitational
2. Williams Saratoga Invitational
3. Middlebury Dartmouth Invitational
7. Calvin Knight Invitational (cross country)
9. NYU Saratoga Invitational
10. SUNY Geneseo Golden Eagle Invitational (cross country)
  Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
12. Dickinson TRI: Dickinson/Franklin & Marshall/Gettysburg (Little Three Meet)
14. SUNY Oneonta SUNY Oneonta Airfield Invitational
14. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps UC Riverside Invitational
17. Carleton Les Duke Invitational
18. Hope Spartan Invitational (cross country)
19. UW-La Crosse Falcon Invitational (Concordia Wisconsin)
20. St. Lawrence Saratoga Invitational
22. Ithaca Saratoga Invitational
23. UW-Stevens Point Falcon Invitational
25. Wartburg Les Duke Invitational
30. Luther Luther All-American
31. Emory Furman Classic
32. Mount Union Penn State Behrend Invitational
34. Case Western Reserve Knight Invitational (cross country)
  Penn State Behrend Invitational
35. North Central (Ill.) Illinois Intercollegiate (cross country)
  Illinois State Invite
35. St. Benedict Luther All-American