WEEKEND PREVIEW: 2019 NCAA DI Cross Country Regional Championships

Welcome to Regional Championships Weekend Friday in NCAA Division I Cross Country!

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Regional Championships Central

By the end of the day on Friday, we’ll find out which teams automatically punch tickets to the 2019 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, set for next Saturday at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana. Remember: The top-2 men’s and women’s teams in each region jump in the express lane to NCAAs.

Here are the regions with the juiciest matchups and the most nationally-ranked programs.

2019 Great Lakes Region Championships

Date: Friday, November 15 | Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Women’s 6K Race – 11:30 am CT | Men’s 10K Race – 12:30 pm CT

Men’s Teams

Women’s Teams

No. 9 Wisconsin
No. 6 Michigan State
No. 13 Indiana
No. 7 Wisconsin
No. 16 Michigan
No. 11 Michigan
No. 17 Purdue
No. 16 Notre Dame
No. 19 Notre Dame
No. 20 Ohio State
No. 24 Butler

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE RESULTS

Men’s Race

There are five nationally-ranked programs in the men’s race – No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 13 Indiana, No. 16 Michigan, No. 17 Purdue and No. 19 Notre Dame – and we’ve see all of them race each other twice this season. That number could have been three, but Notre Dame isn’t in the Big Ten.

Purdue was the top team both of those times, once at the Joe Piane Invitational in early October and then again at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational a few weeks later. The Boilermakers were followed, in order, by Notre Dame, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin in the former and Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Notre Dame in the latter.

But then at the Big Ten Championships this past weekend, Wisconsin continued its dominance of the conference with its 50th title in program history and was followed by Indiana, Michigan and Purdue.

Needless to say, the Great Lakes is always a roll of the dice.

Women’s Race

Six nationally-ranked programs face off in the women’s race – No. 6 Michigan State, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 11 Michigan, No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 20 Ohio State and No. 24 Butler – and if we’ve seen and as the weather gets cooler, the racing heats up between them.

Just two points decided the top regional team at the Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational – Wisconsin 217, Michigan State 219 – and then six points decided the top teams at the Big Ten Championships – Michigan State 56, Wisconsin 62 – which tied the second smallest margin of victory at the meet in the past 10 years.

Based off recent results, you’d expect a two-horse race between Michigan State and Wisconsin, but three-time defending champion Michigan isn’t about to go down without a fight.

2019 Mountain Region Championships

Date: Friday, November 15 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Women’s 6K Race – 11 am MT | Men’s 10K Race – Noon MT

Men’s Teams

Women’s Teams

No. 1 Northern Arizona
No. 3 BYU
No. 2 BYU
No. 8 Colorado
No. 3 Colorado
No. 9 Utah
No. 20 Utah State
No. 10 New Mexico
No. 25 Colorado State
No. 15 Air Force
No. 16 Northern Arizona

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE RESULTS

Men’s Race

You don’t have to go too far back to find out when the last time the top-3 men’s teams in the National Coaches’ Poll squared off against each other for a regional title. That would be 2016 when top-ranked Northern Arizona faced No. 2 Colorado and No. 3 BYU in Logan, Utah.

Fast forward three years and you’ll see that time is a flat circle.

Northern Arizona is still No. 1, while the only thing that changed is the order of the other two teams behind it. BYU has been ranked No. 2 for the better part of the past two years, while Colorado has made up serious ground since the beginning of the 2019 season.

While those three teams aren’t the only nationally-ranked teams in the field – No. 20 Utah State and No. 25 Colorado State are the others – they’re the ones who will most likely nab the region’s two automatic bids to NCAAs.

If you want to pencil in NAU for one of those two berths, we wouldn’t blame you. The Lumberjacks have been a juggernaut over the past few years and are showing no signs of slowing down (After all, NAU has been ranked No. 1 in the National Coaches’ Poll for 28 weeks in a row).

BYU and Colorado raced each other once this season so far and it was a treat. The Cougars came from behind to beat the Buffaloes at the Pre-National Invitational by just two points. BYU went 1-4-14-18-44 for 81 points, while Colorado finished 8-9-11-17-38 for 83.

Buckle up, folks: It’s going to be a good one.

Women’s Race

You’ll see an NCAA DI-best four top-10 programs in the women’s race: No. 3 BYU, No. 8 Colorado, No. 9 Utah and No. 10 New Mexico.

The Buffaloes have been a dominant force in the Mountain Region over the past six years, winning five of the six regional titles. The only year that Colorado didn’t capture the crown was last year when the Lady Lobos defeated Mark Wetmore’s squad 41-53.

This year could be the first year since 2013 that Colorado or New Mexico doesn’t win the regional title (Weber State). That’s because both the Buffaloes and the Lady Lobos have had roller-coaster seasons to this point and the Cougars and Utes are on the rise.

BYU is 2-1 this season with a pair of dominant wins under its belt. The Cougars steamrolled the field at the Bill Dellinger Invitational and matched the lowest score for a winning team in the history of the West Coast Conference Championships two weeks ago. BYU’s only loss came at the Pre-National Invitational where it finished second, three points back of Washington, but 39 points up on Colorado.

Utah owns two head-to-head wins over the Buffaloes this season, the first coming at the Joe Piane Invitational and the next at the recent Pac-12 Championships. The Utes have a strong 1-2 pacing the way with Poppy Tank and Bella Williams.

Look out for No. 15 Air Force and No. 16 Northern Arizona, as well. Both of those squads are having all-time seasons and will make life difficult for those top-ranked foes.

2019 West Region Championships

Date: Friday, November 15 | Location: Colfax, Washington
Women’s 6K Race – 11:30 am PT | Men’s 10K Race – 12:30 pm PT

Men’s Teams

Women’s Teams

No. 4 Stanford
No. 2 Stanford
No. 6 Oregon
No. 4 Washington
No. 10 UCLA
No. 13 Boise State
No. 11 Portland
No. 19 Oregon
No. 14 Washington
No. 30 Cal Baptist
No. 27 Boise State

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE RESULTS

Men’s Race

Since 2010, four different programs have won the men’s team title at the West Region Championships: Stanford (3), Oregon (2), Portland (2) and Washington (1).

If you can believe it, each of those programs is among the six nationally-ranked squads that will be in action in Colfax, Washington. The other programs that found their way into the top-30 in Week 6 that have yet to capture a team title this decade are Boise State and UCLA.

All signs, at least those in the National Coaches’ Poll, project a tight race between the fourth-ranked Cardinal and the sixth-ranked Ducks for the crown in 2019. After all, they – along with Portland – have been the most successful programs this decade in the West Region.

Stanford and Oregon – as well as No. 10 UCLA and No. 14 Washington – met up at the Pac-12 Championships two weeks ago. Out of those programs, the Ducks came out on top with their runner-up finish, while the Cardinal, Bruins and Huskies were third, fourth and fifth.

Portland always find a way to put itself in contention at this meet, so don’t be surprised to see them with the leaders in the final 2K.

Women’s Race

We’ll see a top-5 battle in the women’s race at the West Region Championships between No. 2 Stanford and No. 4 Washington.

But if recent results have shown anything, it might be a cakewalk for the Cardinal.

Just two weeks ago, Stanford rolled to the team title at the Pac-12 Championships against five nationally-ranked programs. The Cardinal went 1-2-3 and finished with 27 points, the second fewest by a winning program – regardless of gender – at the meet since 2010.

We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, because the Huskies proved to be a clear runner-up two weeks ago as they scored 55 points. Washington also raced Stanford well earlier in the season at the John McNichols Invitational.

While the Cardinal and the Huskies are clear-cut favorites to earn the region’s two automatic bids to NCAAs, No. 13 Boise State, No. 19 Oregon and No. 30 Cal Baptist could shake up the team scoring a bunch.

Other Meets Of Interest

We’ll list these in order of the amount of nationally-ranked programs.

Midwest Region (6)

Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma | Host: Oklahoma State
Women’s 6K Race – 10:30 am CT | Men’s 10K Race – 11:30 am CT

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This is the first time since 2012 that there will be two top-10 programs in the men’s race at the Midwest Region Championships. Seven years ago, it was No. 1 Oklahoma State and No. 6 Oklahoma. Now, it’s No. 5 Iowa State and No. 7 Tulsa … It’s a toss-up as to which two women’s teams earn automatic bids as No. 22 Illinois, No. 25 Oklahoma State and No. 26 Minnesota are all ranked so close to each other and fared well against similar competition.

Southeast Region (6)

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia | Host: Virginia
Women’s 6K Race – 10:30 am ET | Men’s 10K Race – 11:30 am ET

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Will home-course advantage pay off for No. 21 Virginia or will No. 22 Virginia Tech or No. 26 Eastern Kentucky take home the coveted regional title? That’s one of the biggest questions surrounding the meet this year at Panorama Farms. If you want to know a fun fact, five different programs have won the men’s team title since 2013 … No. 5 NC State is the clear favorite in the women’s race, but can No. 14 Furman hold off a hard-charging No. 23 Virginia Tech? The Wolfpack are going for their fourth consecutive regional title, while the Hokies and the Paladins are searching for their first in quite a while.

South Region (5)

Location: Tallahassee, Florida | Host: Florida State
Women’s 6K Race – 8:30 am ET | Men’s 10K Race – 9:30 am ET

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Three nationally-ranked men’s teams will be in the mix: No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 15 Middle Tennessee and No. 28 Alabama. The Rebels are the favorite, but the Blue Raiders are a trendy pick to pull off an upset. Don’t count out the Crimson Tide with Gilbert Kigen and Vincent Kiprop up front … The women’s race features two up-and-coming programs in No. 12 Florida State and No. 27 Ole Miss. Based on past results, though, another unheralded team could come out of nowhere to snag one of two automatic spots and send a favorite scrambling for an at-large bid.

Mid-Atlantic Region (4)

Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania | Host: Lehigh
Women’s 6K Race – 11 am ET | Men’s 10K Race – 12 pm CT

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We should see some excellent racing between No. 24 Villanova and No. 30 Georgetown on Friday. Just a few weeks ago, the Wildcats and the Hoyas went back and forth for the team title at the Big EAST Championships, a crown that was eventually won by the former. Villanova is looking for its first regional title since 2014 … Penn State and Villanova have been the Class of the Mid-Atlantic Region over the past 10 years. Dating back to 2009, the Nittany Lions and the Wildcats have won nine of the past 10 regional titles. Penn State is ranked higher this year at No. 18 and is looking for its fourth title in the past five years.

Northeast Region (4)

Location: Buffalo, New York | Host: Buffalo
Women’s 6K Race – 11 am ET | Men’s 10K Race – 12 pm CT

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NOTE: Due to concerns about poor footing, ice and student-athlete safety, the races at the NCAA Division I Northeast Regional Championships will be run on a road course instead of at Audubon Golf Course. CLICK HERE for updated course maps.

Iona and Syracuse are on a different level compared to the rest of the teams in the Northeast Region. Dating back to at least 2005, the eighth-ranked Gaels and the 18th-ranked Orange have combined for every single regional title in that time. Iona is hoping to snap a six-year streak by Syracuse at the moment. The Gaels haven’t won a regional title since 2012 … Columbia is hoping to make it back-to-back regional titles, while Syracuse wants to get back on top for the first time since 2011. Don’t count out Boston College or Harvard, both of which received votes in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll.

South Central Region (2)

Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas | Host: Arkansas
Women’s 6K Race – 11 am CT | Men’s 10K Race – 12 pm CT

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Texas enters as the only nationally-ranked program in the field at No. 29. The Longhorns are favored to win their first regional title since 2012. You can never count out Arkansas at this meet, though, as this year’s host has won 11 of the past 14 regional titles, including each of the past six … All signs point to a cakewalk for top-ranked Arkansas on its home course. We’ll see just how dominant the Razorbacks choose to be and who joins them as the other automatic bid. Texas, a team that received votes in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll, has earned the second spot out of the region in three of the past four years.