RECAP: 2018 Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational

We got our first true taste of what could happen come November at the 2018 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on Friday afternoon at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.

It was in Madison, Wisconsin, where 33 teams that were ranked between the most recent Men’s National Coaches’ Poll (18) and the most recent Women’s National Coaches’ Poll (15) did battle over 8K and 6K, respectively.

When the dust settled on the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course, the top-ranked men from Northern Arizona and the second-ranked women from Colorado captured the team titles, while the Wisconsin duo of Morgan McDonald and Alicia Monson swept the individual crowns.

See below for the top-10 teams in each championship race as well as recaps from an exciting afternoon in the Badger State.

2018 Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational Standings

Men’s Teams
Points
Women’s Teams
Points
No. 1 Northern Arizona
46
No. 2 Colorado
80
No. 9 Wisconsin
135
No. 5 Boise State
91
No. 3 Portland
140
No. 1 New Mexico
130
No. 5 Iowa State
152
No. 8 Villanova
156
No. 26 Boise State
160
No. 9 Arkansas
173
No. 10 Colorado State
253
No. 7 Wisconsin
192
No. 17 Air Force
267
No. 19 Indiana
208
No. 7 Colorado
278
No. 15 Michigan State
268
NR Purdue
317
No. 17 Iowa State
276
No. 14 Southern Utah
332
No. 6 NC State
283

Reminder: The next National Coaches’ Polls come out Tuesday afternoon at 1 pm CT.

Men’s Race

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Stop us if you heard this before: Northern Arizona is pretty good.

The Lumberjacks showed why they are the longest reigning No. 1 team in the Men’s National Coaches’ Poll in the past decade.

NAU suffocated an otherwise stout field as it ran as a navy-and-gold cloud throughout the proceedings. By the 4K split, the Lumberjacks opened up a 44-point lead over No. 3 Portland (62-106) and two kilometers later, they extended it to 67 points (37-104).

Wisconsin’s Morgan McDonald and Iowa State’s Edwin Kurgat pulled away late to battle for the individual title, but NAU was comfortable letting them go. Tyler Day (third overall, 23:21.3), Luis Grijalva (fifth, 23:23.8), Peter Lomong (23:26.8) and Blaise Ferro (23:29.0) all finished in the top-8 within eight seconds of each other. Geordie Beamish rounded out the Lumberjacks’ scoring lineup in 25th place.

McDonald’s victorious return to the grass circuit propelled the Badgers to a runner-up finish. Wisconsin hadn’t finished better than 11th place at its own meet since 2014 when it placed third behind Syracuse and Iona.

The aforementioned Pilots debuted their top runners and finished third behind NAU and Wisconsin. Nick Hauger led Portland in sixth place.

Kurgat helped the fifth-ranked Cyclones to fourth place in the team standings, while No. 26 Boise State surprisingly rounded out the top-5. The Broncos are due for a big jump in the next National Coaches’ Poll after betting their projected finish by 11 places. Boise State, led by Yusuke Uchikoshi (12th, 23:37.0) posted the second best spread of any team in the men’s race (23.2 seconds) behind RV Michigan (22.5 seconds).

Keep your eyes on Purdue as well. The Boilermakers, who have never been ranked in the National Coaches’ Poll, finished ninth this afternoon. Purdue was sixth in the Great Lakes Region entering the meet.

Women’s Race

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No. 2 Colorado captured the women’s title at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational with an 80-point performance in their first appearance at the meet, while the individual crown remained in Madison as hometown Wisconsin Badger Alicia Monson won her second consecutive race to open the season with a mark of 19:33.3.

The Buffs placed four athletes in the top-20 – Dani Jones (fourth overall, 19:36.6), Makena Morley (sixth, 19:45.2), Sage Hurta (13th, 20:00.5) and Tabor Scjoll (19th, 20:08.0) – as the unit made a strong statement early in the season.

Boise State finished team runner-up and continued its impressive run to open the season. The fifth-ranked Broncos were led by Allie Ostrander, who took fifth (19:40.4), and also placed two others in the top-ten with Emily Venters coming in ninth (19:58.2) and Clare O’Brien taking 10th (19:58.4).

Top-ranked New Mexico – the defending meet champions – finished third. It was still a solid showing for the Lady Lobos, who placed two in the top-3 (Weini Kelati and Ednah Kurgat) and three in the top-10 (with Charlotte Prouse joining them).

No. 8 Villanova came in fourth, while No. 9 Arkansas finished fifth to round out the race’s top-5 teams.

Based on their standings in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll, No. 8 Villanova, No. 9 Arkansas, No. 15 Michigan State, No. 17 Iowa State, No. 19 Indiana and No. 29 Portland all exceeded expectations with their performances.

One of the biggest jumps next Tuesday could come from those aforementioned Hoosiers. Indiana was predicted to finish 11th based off their national ranking, but came through with a seventh-place showing. The Hoosiers’ spread between its first and fifth runners was 46.2 seconds, one of the best marks in the field.