Welcome to October!

That means cooler temperatures are on the way* and the true start to the cross country season is here. (*Unless you live in New Orleans, where the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is based. We’ve had record heat the first three days of the month)

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets This Weekend

We’ll see high-caliber racing across the nation this weekend as nationally-ranked teams in each collegiate division are jockeying for position ahead of the rapidly-approaching postseason (Conference Championship Weekend in NCAA Division II is just three weeks away).

Here are some of the meets we’re keeping an eye on.

Joe Piane Invitational

Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 4 Colorado
No. 1 Colorado
No. 9 Notre Dame
No. 2 New Mexico
No. 10 Wisconsin
No. 6 Washington
No. 13 Colorado State
No. 8 NC State
No. 14 Ole Miss
No. 9 Wisconsin
No. 15 NC State
No. 12 Notre Dame
No. 16 Michigan
No. 14 Ole Miss
No. 18 Wyoming
No. 16 Iowa State
No. 19 Indiana
No. 17 Florida State
No. 21 Purdue
No. 25 Boston College
No. 26 Eastern Kentucky
No. 29 Minnesota
No. 29 Alabama


It’s only fitting that in the year that its namesake will be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame that the Joe Piane Invitational is ABSOLUTELY STACKED.

There will be 23(!) nationally-ranked teams in action on Friday at the Burke Golf Course on the campus of Notre Dame.

Yes, you read that correctly: 23 nationally-ranked teams.

SEE MORE: Men’s National Coaches’ Poll | Women’s National Coaches’ Poll

It’s a near-even split between men’s and women’s teams as we’ll see 12 on the men’s side and 11 on the women’s side, including two of the top-3 teams in the most recent Women’s National Coaches’ Poll, No. 1 Colorado and No. 2 New Mexico (We say two of the top-3, because the Lady Lobos are tied with Arkansas at No. 2).

This will be the second time in the past three years that Colorado and New Mexico have tangled at the Joe Piane Invitational when they’ve been ranked among the best teams in the nation.

Back in 2017, the then-ranked No. 1 Buffaloes and the then-ranked No. 3 Lady Lobos delivered a thrilling battle over the 5K distance. Each team put four runners in the top-10 – New Mexico went 1-2-6-8 for 17 points; Colorado went 3-7-9-10 for 29 points – but it was the Buffs’ depth that earned them the 47-51 victory (Colorado put two runners across the finish line before New Mexico’s fifth could complete the circuit).

Fast forward a few years and it should be another exciting match-up. Both the Buffs and the Lady Lobos have yet to truly open up their season despite what their schedule says, so this will be a great first test for their top athletes – Tabor Scholl and Sage Hurta for Colorado; Weini Kelati and Ednah Kurgat for New Mexico – to let the legs go a little bit.

Don’t hand either of those individuals or teams the first-place trophy just yet, as they’ll contend with nine other top-30 teams and the star athletes they’ve entered, including No. 6 Washington (Katie Rainsberger), No. 8 NC State (Elly Henes) and No. 9 Wisconsin (Alicia Monson), among others.

Over on the men’s side, Colorado owns the top-ranked team in the field at No. 4, five spots better than host Notre Dame at No. 9. Then you’ll have to go down four spots to No. 13 to find the next ranked team (Colorado State) – but after that, just about every single ranked team from No. 13 to No. 21 will be involved in the Men’s Blue Division Race.

Expect to see a great race for the men’s individual title between seven All-Americans from the 2018 cross country season – Joe Klecker (Colorado), John Dressel (Colorado), Oliver Hoare (Wisconsin), Paul Roberts (Wyoming), Danny Kilrea (Notre Dame), John Aho (Michigan) and Waleed Suliman (Ole Miss) – as well as any other athlete that wants to make a statement.

The Women’s Blue Division Race opens the afternoon at 1 pm ET with the Men’s Blue Division Race scheduled to start 45 minutes later.

Live In The Lou Cross Country Classic

Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 1 North Central (Ill.)
No. 1 Johns Hopkins
No. 5 UW-La Crosse
No. 7 MIT
No. 9 Johns Hopkins
No. 11 RPI
No. 11 MIT
No. 13 UW-La Crosse
No. 14 Otterbein
No. 14 Oberlin
No. 16 RPI
No. 15 St. Thomas (Minn.)
No. 18 Case Western Reserve
No. 16 Hope
No. 18 Emory
No. 22 Washington and Lee
No. 22 UC Santa Cruz
No. 22 Case Western Reserve
No. 23 John Carroll
No. 25 UC Santa Cruz
No. 28 Berea (Ky.)
No. 28 Centre
No. 34 Connecticut College
No. 31 John Carroll
No. 34 Emory


The annual midseason meet held at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky, has had a lot of names over the years: The Greater Louisville Classic, the Louisville Cross Country Classic and the Live in the Lou Cross Country Classic, to name a few.

But the one thing you can be certain of is that when a national championship meet will be held on the course in a few months’ time, that this meet will be loaded with talent.

That’s the case this year as the 2019 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships will be held in Louisville on November 23, which means the Live in the Lou Cross Country Classic will serve as the NCAA DIII Pre-National Invitational this weekend.

Twenty-five nationally ranked programs will converge on E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park on Saturday, including both teams that headline the latest National Coaches’ Polls: The North Central (Ill.) men and the Johns Hopkins women.

SEE MORE: Men’s National Coaches’ Poll | Women’s National Coaches’ Poll

The women’s race features 13 of those nationally-ranked teams – including six in the top-15 – while the men’s race welcomes 12 into the fold – including three in the top-10.

We should get a good idea of the balance of power at the NCAA Division III level after this weekend.

And you’ll want to be sure to check out the new National Coaches’ Polls when they’re released on Wednesday afternoon.

Other Meets of Interest

Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival

There will be ranked teams galore at the Chile Pepper Festival this weekend.

  • Men’s 8K Race
    • NCAA Division I – #8 Oklahoma State, #25 Arkansas
    • NCAA Division II – #1 Colorado School of Mines, #3 Western Colorado, No. 6 Missouri Southern
    • NJCAA Division I – #1 Cloud County CC, #2 Iowa Central CC, #9 Allen CC
    • NAIA – #1 Oklahoma City, #3 Saint Mary (Kan.)
  • Women’s 5K Race
    • NCAA Division I – #2 Arkansas, #19 Oklahoma State
    • NCAA Division II – #6 Western Colorado, No. 16 Missouri Southern
    • NJCAA Division I – #1 Iowa Central CC, #7 Cowley CC

We have our eyes locked on that Men’s Race, where you’ll see three of the top-6 teams in NCAA Division II – namely No. 1 Colorado School of Mines – going up against the top-2 teams in NJCAA Division I – No. 1 Cloud County CC and No. 2 Iowa Central CC.

Paul Short Run

Nationally-ranked teams always find their way to the Paul Short Run.

This year is no different as there will be 25 nationally-ranked teams across each of the three NCAA divisions in action on Saturday, including NCAA DII powerhouse Adams State. The Grizzlies will send both their No. 1-ranked women and their No. 5-ranked men to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.