The Cool Down/Warm Up (Week of Sept. 24)

Cross country is back!

It had been far too long since we saw collegians race against each other, so it was a sight for sore eyes.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Weekly Scoreboard (Beta)

Here is a look back at the Weekend That Was and a look ahead to the Weekend That Will Be.

NCAA Division I

As it stands right now, there are four full conferences committed to competing during this fall segment – Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big 12 Conference, Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Sun Belt Conference. The American Athletic Conference (AAC) reversed course in late August and decided to delay the season until the spring, so it could align with the NCAA schedule. Both the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and Conference USA left it up to each individual institution.

The Weekend That Was

Arkansas swept the proceedings at the rain-soaked SEC Preview Meet, hosted by LSU. The Razorback men held off Ole Miss by a score of 29-37, while the Razorback women posted a perfect score to take down four conference opponents. Talented freshman Taylor Ewert made her debut for Arkansas and won the 5K competition in 16:53.7.

Iowa State took both individual crowns and team titles at the Bob Timmons Classic, hosted by Kansas. The Cyclone men, led by junior transfer Wesley Kiptoo, won 20-40 over Kansas State, while the women barely missed a perfect score as Cailie Logue led the way with a 42-second victory and eight others finished in the top-10 (1-2-3-4-6 for the top-5 runners).

Other meets of interest included victories by Kentucky’s men and women at the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic, Notre Dame sweeping Louisville at the Irish Classic, Florida State’s men and Georgia Tech’s women winning the Mountain Dew Invitational, as well as Charlotte’s men and Appalachian State’s women earning first place at the Mountains to Sea Duals.

The Weekend That Will Be

We’ll see a number of ACC teams competing this weekend in tri-meets. Virginia Tech hosts Duke and NC State at the Buford Meredith Cross Country Course. Virginia hosts North Carolina and Wake Forest at Panorama Farms. Boston College hosts Army and Syracuse on the Coogan Course at Highland Park. It marks the first competition of the season for several of those programs, including North Carolina, NC State and Virginia. We should also see the debut of several impact freshmen who joined the collegiate ranks this offseason, namely those for the Tar Heels and Wolfpack.

Conference USA and Sun Belt teams will compete at the Troy-hosted John “Doc” Anderson Invitational and the UTA-hosted UTA Cross Country Invitational. Confirmed teams for the UTA Cross Country Invitational, other than host UTA, are Little Rock, North Texas, TCU, Texas State and UTSA.

Expect A LOT more action next weekend as a majority of teams from the Big 12 open up, in addition to the hosting of the 19th Annual Live in the Lou Cross Country Classic at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park as well as the FSU Invitational in Tallahassee, Florida.

NCAA Division II

As it stands right now, there are six full conferences committed to competing during the fall segment – Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC), Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC), Gulf South Conference, Lone Star Conference, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) and the Peach Belt Conference.

The Weekend That Was

There was a strong contingent of NCAA DII programs in action at the UAH Chargers Open hosted by Alabama-Huntsville. The men’s race saw a close battle for the team title between UAH and Lee (Tenn.), which the hosts ultimately won 28-37. Christian Noble nabbed the individual title for the Flames, but the Chargers put five in the top-10. Over in the women’s race, Lee (Tenn.) earned the team title thanks to five runners in the top-10, led by individual champion Celine Ritter. The Flames scored a total of 23 points, compared to Mississippi College’s 41.

RMAC teams split between a few different meets, including the Mountaineer/Cowboy Invite as well as the UCCS Open. Western Colorado won both team titles at the former, while Colorado Christian’s men and the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs women reigned at the latter. It was an incredible battle for the men’s team title at the UCCS Open as Colorado Christian and UCCS were tied at 18-all with one runner to go. Robbie Jordano gave the Cougars a two-point win as he crossed the finish line in ninth, five seconds in front of the next UCCS runner.

Cedarville won the men’s team title at the Ray Bullock Invitational. The Yellow Jackets competed primarily against NAIA programs and handled business with four runners in the top-10, paced by a runner-up finish by Isaiah Kelly.

The Weekend That Will Be

We’ll see teams from at least four conferences in action this weekend.

A number of GMAC teams will be split between two different meets. Findlay hosts Tiffin and Ursuline at the Findlay Invitational, while Cedarville hosts Ohio Dominican, Ohio Valley and Trevecca Nazarene at the Cedarville Open.

GLVC teams will compete against each other in four different “Triangular Pods” throughout the season. Hosts for this weekend’s competitions include Illinois-Springfield, UIndy, Lindenwood and Truman.

Ten of the eleven programs in the Lone Star Conference will be in action between two different meets. We’ll see Texas A&M Commerce, UT Tyler, Dallas Baptist, Texas A&M Kingsville, UAFS, Oklahoma Christian and Texas A&M International at the Orville Rogers XC Open. Then over at the LCU College Invitational, Lubbock Christian hosts UT Permian Basin and West Texas A&M.

Finally, the teams from the Gulf South Conference will compete at two different meets. Delta State and Mississippi College head to the UNA Open, while Auburn-Montgomery, Montevallo and UAH head to the John “Doc” Anderson Invitational.

NCAA Division III

As it stands right now, there are three full conferences committed to competing during the fall segment – American Rivers Conference (A-R-C), Northwest Conference (NWC) and the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). Other conferences allowed individual institutions to make their own decisions based on local health directives.

The Weekend That Was

Teams from the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) tangled at the Olivet Invitational this past weekend. Calvin swept the proceedings, winning the men’s team title by a score of 15-61 over Olivet and the women’s team title by a score of 15-50 over the same program. Jonathan Ellis of Calvin earned the men’s individual crown, while Sadie Heeringa crossed the finish line first in the women’s race.

The Weekend That Will Be

Competition in the A-R-C picks up this weekend with three different triangular meets. Coe hosts Nebraska Wesleyan and Wartburg in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Buena Vista hosts Central and Luther in Storm Lake, Iowa. Loras hosts crosstown rival Dubuque and Simpson in Dubuque, Iowa.

NJCAA

Full competition is happening across the board at the NJCAA level with the 2020 NJCAA Cross Country Championships still set for Saturday, November 14 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

The Weekend That Was

The biggest collection of NJCAA athletes was at the Muthama-Rogers Invitational hosted by Bethel (Kan.) this past weekend. Allen (Kan.) picked up the men’s team title, while Colby (Kan.) CC was the top-finishing JUCO team in the women’s race at third place. Gudisa Adnow of Fort Scott (Kan.) CC earned the individual victory in the men’s race; Abigael Kemboi of Colby (Kan.) CC crossed the finish line first in the women’s race.

Iowa Central CC swept the team titles at the Morningside Open. Kelvin Bungei led the Tritons with his individual title in the men’s race as they put four runners in the top-10 to hold off Dordt (Iowa) by a score of 31-40. Over in the women’s race, Iowa Central CC put three runners in the top-5 as they nabbed a 39-53 victory over Dordt (Iowa) as well. Faith Linga of Iowa Western CC captured the individual title in the women’s race by three seconds.

The Weekend That Will Be

Tabor Community College hosts the Cottonwood Challenge this weekend, which should attract a number of JUCO programs in the Midwest, notably the third-ranked Cloud Country (Kan.) women and the seventh-ranked men from the same institution. The Women’s 5K begins at 10 am CT with the Men’s 8K following at 10:45 am CT.

Expect to see A LOT of action next week as several top-ranked teams have the Briar Cliff Invitational on their schedule, including No. 1/No. 1 Iowa Central CC and No.3/No.7 Iowa Western CC, among others.

NAIA

After the NAIA postponed its Cross Country Championships to April 9, 2021, it left the decision to compete in the fall up to individual institutions based on local health directives.

The Weekend That Was

Dordt (Iowa) posted the best finishes for NAIA programs at the Morningside Open this past weekend. The Defenders earned runner-up honors in the men’s race and women’s race, as they finished a game second to dual champion Iowa Central CC. Dordt (Iowa) had both of the top individual finishers from the NAIA level as well: Eric Steiger ended up fourth in the men’s race; Taylor Anema took fifth place in the women’s race.

Saint Mary (Kan.) won the women’s race at the Muthama-Rogers Invitational, which was hosted by Bethel (Kan.). The Spires scored 48 points to beat Friends (Kan.) by 21. Maddy Walter-Sherretts and Natasha Ortiz crossed the finish line right next to each other in sixth and seventh place, respectively, to lead the way for Saint Mary (Kan.). In the men’s race, Friends (Kan.) had the best finish by an NAIA program in fourth place.

Taylor (Ind.)’s women defended home turf at the Ray Bullock Invitational, winning the team title by a hefty margin over Indiana Wesleyan (39-91, to be exact). The Trojans put six athletes in the top-15, which included a 1-3 finish by Sarah Haden and Olivia Schroeder. Cornerstone (Mich.) was the top-finishing NAIA program in the men’s race – but it needed a tie-breaker to hold off Indiana Wesleyan. Both programs finished with 71 points. The Wildcats did have the top finishing individual with Landon Miller taking home the individual title.

The Weekend That Will Be

Two meets this weekend stand out at the NAIA level.

Doane (Neb.) hosts the Dean White Invitational. The women’s race begins at 10 am CT and the men’s race gets underway at 10:45 pm CT.

Then, over in Iowa, St. Ambrose hosts the St. Ambrose Invitational at Crow Creek Park. Their website makes it explicitly clear that no spectators will be allowed at the meet. The same was the case a little earlier this month when they opened the season with the Fighting Bee Invitational.