The Warm-Up Lap: The Spiked Shoe Invite, The Return of the King, and More

The Warm-Up Lap: The Spiked Shoe Invite, The Return of the King, and More

NEW ORLEANS – Week two of the NCAA cross country season is upon us.

While the true racing doesn’t begin until September 25 (the first countable date for NCAA Championships at-large competition), these exhibition weekends still provide some insight as teams shake off the summer rust.

Speaking of shaking off the rust, here are some helpful links provided by us (the USTFCCCA) to help you re-acclimate to your cross country fandom after a long track & field season:

DI regional rankings are released Monday at 12pm ET, and DI National Coaches’ Polls will be announced via a live podcast every Tuesday at 12pm ET.

DII and DIII regional rankings are out Tuesday, with National Coaches’ Polls on Wednesday.

Now, onto this weekend’s action. Among the more intriguing storylines this weekend are:

More on those below, or by clicking the links above..

Entry information was not available at publication for Fresno State or UC Riverside, which will feature Stanford and Arkansas’ women, respectively.

The full schedule of nationally ranked action can be found at the bottom of the article.


Penn State Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational

Friday, September 11 | State College, Pennsylvania

If you’re looking for the best team battle of the weekend, look no further than State College, Pennsylvania, for the Penn State Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on Friday.

The men’s race should feature our first look at most of, if not the entire, the “A” squad of No. 3 Syracuse against much of the “A” squads from No. 12 Michigan and host Penn State (receiving votes nationally). Plus, three top-25 teams will square off in the women’s race as No. 10 West Virginia, No. 17 Syracuse and No. 23 Penn State get together.

First, the men. For Syracuse, All-American Martin Hehir is slated to make his season debut, as are near-All-American Dan Lennon, outdoor track 5000 All-American Justyn Knight, top-100 finisher Colin Bennie and Tulsa transfer Adam Palamar.

Michigan will run without two-time All-American Mason Ferlic – the winner of this past weekend’s Eastern Michigan Celebration – but will field last year’s 2-3-4 combination in Ben Flanagan, August Pappas and Tony Smoragiewicz. Flotrack’s Saucony Flo50 profile of the Wolverines last week detailed the battle for the No. 5 spot between Aaron Baumgarten, Alex Moran and Nicholas Posada; all three are slated to run for U of M.

Host Penn State will be without top Big Ten Championships returner Glen Burkhardt in this race, but the Nittany Lions will be led by Wade Endress and Robby Creese.
Onto that women’s race. No. 10 WVU will not be running at full strength, as top returner Jillian Forsey is not scheduled to make her season debut, nor are last year’s No. 3 Maggie Drazba and No. 5 Sydney Scott. Brynn Harshbarger, last year’s No. 4 at NCAAs, will be leading the charge for the Mountaineers.

No. 17 Syracuse, however, is slated to run with most of its “A” squad. Returning No. 1 Margo Malone (63rd) leads the Orange’s four returning NCAA scorers set to compete at Penn State, alongside Maura Lindle, Rebecca Skodis and Sydney Leiher. Joining the fray for Syracuse are DIII Saint Lawrence transfer (and last week’s Harry Lang Invite winner) Cassia Hameline and Margo’s younger sister Shannon.

So, too, is No. 23 Penn State. Jillian Hunsburger is back as last year’s lone NCAA qualifier (161st), but expecting to join her in the push for a team berth are Elizabeth Chikotas and Tori Gerlack, both of whom are coming off strong track seasons. All three are in the field for the young Nittany Lions, who will be relying on numerous underclassmen to get them to Louisville in November.

Oregon Bill Dellinger Invitational

Friday, September 11 | Eugene, Oregon | LIVE RESULTS

While there’s no premier team match-up like there was in 2014 when eventual women’s national champion Michigan State came to town, the debut of the host Oregon Ducks give the 2015 Bill Dellinger Invite all the intrigue it needs. Gonzaga and Portland State are also in the field.

It’ll be the debut of two-time defending national champion Edward Cheserek, the leader of a reloaded men’s squad that replaces each of the next four scorers behind the King from last year’s sixth-place NCAA team.

We know what we’re going to get from Mr. Cheserek, the returning champion of this particular meet. This, however, will be the first look at his updated supporting cast post-Eric Jenkins. Last year’s No. 6 and No. 7 runners are back in Travis Neuman and Matthew Melancon – both of whom are in the field this weekend, along with expected Oregon scorers Jeramy Elkaim and Jake Leingang. We won’t get a first look at highly touted recruits Matthew Maton and Tanner Anderson, or NCAA 1500-meter third-place finisher Blake Haney.

While only one male Duck scorer returns, four of the five women who scored for Oregon’s sixth-place squad a year ago – and six of seven overall – are back in the fold, though only a handful of them will be in action on Friday. Alli Cash and Waverly Neer – last year’s No. 1 and No. 2 from NCAAs – are entered, as are No. 5 Frida Berge and No. 7 Maggie Schmaedick.

Another point of intrigue will be the potential debut of Sarah Baxter, who is entered into the field. Injury cut short her senior year of high school track after winning her fourth consecutive California State cross country title in the fall, and she subsequently redshirted her entire 2014-15 year at Oregon.

Boise State – San Francisco Dual & Utah Open

Friday, September 11

Perhaps no recruiting class generated as much buzz this year as head coach Corey Imhels’ at Boise State, and between a pair of meets in San Francisco and Salt Lake City we’ll get to see much of it in action this weekend against several regional top-10 squads.

2014 Nike Cross Nationals champ Allie Ostrander will make her collegiate debut for the No. 20 Bronco women (No. 4 in the West Region) in a dual against San Francisco (ranked No. 13 in the West Region), alongside the BSU debut of Lamar transfer Minttu Hukka, who is expected to be a scorer for the Broncos.

Top returner from 2014 Sarah Hastings will lead a contingent at Utah, where the Broncos will face the host Utes (No. 7 Mountain Region). A junior, Hastings was 206th at NCAAs a year ago but 38th in a deep Mountain Region.

The national-vote-receiving men (No. 8 West Region) are also in action both in Cali and Utah. Sophomore Michael Vennard will make his Boise XC debut against San Francisco (No. 13 West) after a strong debut track campaign, while fellow sophomore Jack Curran will lead the contingent at Utah, a meet that also features Utah Valley (No. 13 Mountain Region).

 Full Top 30 Schedule


Team Meet
2. Stanford Fresno State Invitational
3. Syracuse Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
4. Wisconsin Illinois State Invite
6. Oregon Bill Dellinger Invitational
7. Villanova Big 5 Invitational
12. Michigan Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
16. Georgetown Salty Dog Invitational
18. Furman Furman Classic
25. Providence Bryant Nassaney Invitational
30. Portland Ash Creek Preserve Invitational
Boise State (RV) DUAL: Boise State-San Francisco
  Utah Open
Eastern Michigan (RV) Running Fit Detroit Titan Invitational
Illinois (RV) Kentucky Bluegrass Cross Country Invitational
Minnesota (RV) Oz Memorial Run
Penn State (RV) Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
Southern Utah (RV) UC Riverside Invitational
UTEP (RV) Lori Fitzgerald Classic



Team Meet
6. Oregon Bill Dellinger Invitational
7. Stanford Fresno State Invitational
8. Providence Bryant Nassaney Invitational
9. Arkansas UC Riverside Invitational
10. West Virginia Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
11. Wisconsin Illinois State Invite
17. Syracuse Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
20. Boise State DUAL: Boise State-San Francisco
  Utah Open
23. Penn State Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
24. Villanova Big 5 Invitational
27. Minnesota Oz Memorial Run
28. Baylor Ken Garland Invitational
29. Princeton TRI: Harvard-Yale-Princeton (Cross Country)
Boston College (RV) Bryant Nassaney Invitational
Boston College (RV) Minutemen Invitational (cross country)
Columbia (RV) Brother Jasper Invitational (Cross Country)
Dartmouth (RV) Dartmouth Invitational
Furman (RV) Furman Classic
New Hampshire (RV) The Wolfie Invitational
SMU (RV) Ken Garland Invitational