WEEKEND PREVIEW: 2018 NCAA DIII Conference Championships

It’s Conference Championship Weekend in NCAA Division III Cross Country!

Across the nation, teams will vie for league bragging rights as the postseason officially gets underway.

QUICK LINKS: Conference Championships Central | This Weekend’s Meets

If this season has proven anything so far, it’s that we can expect some incredible racing. Just look at what happened two weeks ago at the KollegeTown Sports Invitational, which served as the NCAA DIII Pre-National Invitational, and the Connecticut College Cross Country Invitational, among others.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the meets this weekend, starting with two that will have the most combined ranked teams from the most recent National Coaches’ Polls that were released last week.

UAA Championships

Date: Sunday, October 28 | Location: Somers, Wis. (U of Chicago)
2017 Champions: WashU (Men), WashU (Women)
Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 2 Washington (Mo.)
No. 2 Washington (Mo.)
No. 12 Carnegie Mellon
No. 8 Brandeis
No. 18 U of Chicago
No. 12 U of Chicago
No. 30 Case Western Reserve
No. 17 Emory
No. 31 Emory
No. 18 Rochester (N.Y.)
No. 34 NYU
No. 25 Carnegie Mellon
No. 32 Case Western Reserve

QUICK HITS: There is a staggering number of ranked teams competing in the UAA Championships this weekend. Seven teams that were ranked in the most recent Women’s National Coaches’ Poll and six teams that were ranked in the most recent Men’s National Coaches’ Poll bring the overall total to 13 … Washington (Mo.) enters the meet as the favorite to repeat as men’s and women’s champion as its programs are ranked No. 2 in their respective index … Brandeis has rocketed up the Women’s National Coaches’ Poll in recent weeks and is rounding into postseason form at the right time. The Judges started the season ranked 28th, moved up to 25th, then 21st, then 19th, 18th and now sits eighth.

NESCAC Championships

Date: Saturday, October 27 | Location: Medford, Mass. (Tufts)
2017 Champions: Amherst (Men), Williams (Women)
Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 8 Amherst
No. 5 Middlebury
No. 11 Williams
No. 7 Tufts
No. 14 Middlebury
No. 13 Williams
No. 21 Tufts
No. 15 Wesleyan (Conn.)
No. 27 Bowdoin
No. 26 Bates
No. 33 Connecticut College
RV Amherst

QUICK HITS: There will be 11 ranked teams in action this weekend at the NESCAC Championships, the second largest combined total in the country. We’ll see six men’s teams toe the line that were ranked in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll and five women’s teams that were listed in the most recent Women’s National Coaches’ Poll … Many of these teams squared off two weeks ago at the Connecticut College Invitational. Amherst won the men’s crown over Williams and Middlebury, while the Middlebury women topped runner-up Dickinson and Tufts … If the Mammoths repeat, it would be just their second NESCAC title in program history … The Panthers haven’t won the women’s crown since 2014.

Other Meets Of Interest

Centennial Conference Championships

There will be top-10 showdowns in both races as No. 4 Haverford squares off against No. 6 Johns Hopkins in the men’s race (No. 24 Dickinson looms in the distance), while No. 1 Johns Hopkins meets up with No. 6 Dickinson in the women’s race. Both teams from Johns Hopkins are surfing on a wave of confidence after sweeping the team titles at the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle. Don’t count out the Fords, who stood out at both the Paul Short Run and the NCAA DIII Pre-National Invitational. The Red Devil women finished runner-up at the Connecticut College Invitational a few weeks ago and have a formidable 1-2 punch.

Liberty League Championships

We’ll see five ranked teams in action at the Liberty League Championships: No. 9 RPI, No. 26 St. Lawrence and RV RIT in the men’s race; No. 20 St. Lawrence, No. 21 RPI and No. 31 Vassar in the women’s race. The underlying story to follow in the men’s race is the battle between former National Athletes of the Week Sean O’Connor of RPI (September 24) and Otto Kingstedt of RIT (October 8) for the individual title. You can’t rule out Grant O’Connor of RPI, either, as he is a formidable athlete himself. The women’s race should be a good one, especially after what we saw at the Inter-Regional Border Battle. St. Lawrence and RPI finished within two points of each other in the team standings. The Saints were fifth with 220 points, while the Engineers were sixth with 222.

WIAC Championships

Anything can – and will – happen at the WIAC Championships. Over the years we’ve seen some dynamite performances come out of this meet. This year should be no different. On the men’s side, No. 5 UW-La Crosse is looking to win its 34th conference title. No. 13 UW-Stout is its toughest competition, according to the National Coaches’ Poll. The Blue Devils have never won a WIAC crown in cross country. On the women’s side, No. 10 UW-Eau Claire hopes to play the role of ungrateful host and keep the crown for itself. The Blugolds are nine-time champions and are looking to repeat once again (UW-Eau Claire won in 2017 and also won six in a row from 2007 to 2012). No. 24 UW-La Crosse is UW-Eau Claire’s toughest competition, according to the National Coaches’ Poll. The Eagles would like nothing more than to win their 10th title in program history.