Weekend Roundup For October 16-18
This is the biggest weekend of the fall cross country season so far!
Fans saw incredible action across the nation across just about every division.
Here are some of the meets we wanted to highlight.
Keep checking back for more as this post will continue to grow.
(BTW: If you think any of the athletes who starred this weekend should be named National Athlete of the Week on Tuesday, let us know. OUR INBOX IS OPEN!)
The Mountain Region was champing at the bit to race again.
You better believe it hit the ground running on Saturday when it finally got the opportunity at the OSU Invitational in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Athletes from BYU, Northern Arizona, Southern Utah and unattached athletes from Colorado took eight of the top-10 spots in the women’s race and seven of the top-10 spots in the men’s race, including both of the individual titles. Luis Grijalva of NAU won the men’s crown in 23:30.2, just ahead of Conner Mantz of BYU. Whittni Orton of BYU surged to top women’s honors over the final 2K, putting nearly 11 seconds between herself and Taylor Roe of Oklahoma State to win in 20:27.8.
NAU won the men’s team title with 36 points, six fewer than runner-up Oklahoma State. The Lumberjacks and the Cowboys were actually tied at 25-all through four runners, but Drew Bosley crossed the finish line six places ahead of Ryan Schoppe to give NAU the win.
Defending national champion BYU, led by a 2-3 finish by Mantz and Casey Clinger, took third (Fans might remember Clinger from finishing 24th as a freshman for the Cougars at the 2017 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. This was his first collegiate competition after serving a two-year mission).
It wasn’t that close in the women’s team standings as BYU romped to victory. The Cougars put five other runners in the top-10 behind Orton and rolled to a 40-point win over Southern Utah. Other BYU athletes finishing in the top-10 included Aubrey Frentheway (third), Lexy Halladay (sixth), Anna Camp (seventh), Sara Musselman (ninth) and Sophie Lasswell (10th). The Thunderbirds were led by fifth-place finisher Allison Pray. Roe paced the host Cowgirls to a third-place team effort.
UAB Blazer Classic
An incredible finish and utter domination highlighted the UAB Blazer Classic on Friday.
The former came in the Men’s 8K Green Race, where four men finished within one second of each other: Individual champion Amon Kemboi of Arkansas (23:25.46), Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss (23:25.75), Cole Bullock of Ole Miss (23:26.00) and Emmanuel Cheboson of Arkansas (23:26.15).
Business really picked up at the 6.9K split when Cheboson surged 10 spots from 11th to first, which caused the pace to quicken. Cheboson and Kemboi worked together through the final 1.1K with Bullock, Garcia Romo and Paul Stafford of Florida State not too far behind.
Kemboi, a transfer from Campbell, ultimately held off Garcia Romo, who was a former National Athlete of the Week for his victory back on September 19 at the SEC Preview Meet. Bullock kept pace with the duo, clocking the fastest final 1.1K of the race at 2:48.01.
Arkansas won the men’s team title by 21 points over Ole Miss, 29-50. Kemboi and Cheboson gave the Razorbacks two strong low sticks, but Luke Meade, Andrew Kibet and Gilbert Boit cemented the victory by finishing, in order, from seventh to 10th place.
A team title sweep was in the cards for Arkansas as its women captured their third consecutive crown earlier in the morning. The Razorbacks used an 11-second spread between fourth-place individual Lauren Gregory and 12th-place finisher Krissy Gear to put up 42 points, 58 fewer than runner-up Georgia Tech (102). Florida State took third place with 115 points.
Katie Thornson of Tennessee earned the individual title in the Women’s 6K Green Race at 20:13.15. Thornson worked her way up the pack throughout the proceedings, going from seventh place at 1.6K and 3K to second at 4.9K and then first at the finish line. She turned in the fastest split over the final 1.1K of the race, covering that span of grass in 3:11.66.
Here’s that utter domination part: Christian Noble of Lee (Tenn.) won the Men’s 6K Gold Race by 51 seconds in 23:24.41. Noble led by 10 seconds at 1.6K, opened that up to 32 seconds by 4.9K and kept pouring it on the rest of the way for his third consecutive individual title.
What makes it even more impressive is that Noble would have won the Men’s 6K Green Race by one second with that time – and he soloed that effort.
ACC Triangulars Recap
A number of ACC programs mixed it up at tri-meets.
Virginia’s men and Duke’s women captured team titles at the Panorama Farms Invitational on Friday. Two-time National Athlete of the Week Rohann Asfaw lead the Cavaliers as he picked up his third consecutive individual title, winning the men’s race in 23:52.5. Amanda Beach won the women’s race in 16:53.0, just 0.9 seconds ahead of teammate Michaela Reinhart. Finishing right behind Beach and Reinhart was Samantha Schadler, as the Blue Devils went 1-2-3 and 7-10 for 23 points.
Wake Forest edged North Carolina by one point (30-31) in an incredible battle for the men’s team title at its triangular with NC State on Friday. Jack Tiernan led the Demon Deacons with an individual victory and his teammates went 2-6-8-13 behind him; Patrick Anderson paced a convoy of Tar Heels across the line from third through fifth, but it wasn’t enough. North Carolina got some revenge in the women’s race, though, romping to a 19-51 triumph over NC State. Former National Athlete of the Week Sasha Neglia won the individual title in 21:07.6.
Arturo Barrios Invitational
Texas made quick work of the Arturo Barrios Invitational on Saturday.
The Longhorns easily won the men’s title with 18 points, putting seven runners in the top-10. Haftu Knight led the way with his second career individual title, crossing the finish line in 23:52.1, nearly eight seconds ahead of teammate Abraham Avila-Martinez. LSU finished runner-up with 66 points, while Texas A&M held down third with 78.
Texas dominated the women’s race, too. The Longhorns put their entire scoring lineup in the top-10, led by a 1-2 finish by individual champion Beth Ramos (20:23.8) and Madeline Vondra (20:34.6). LSU ended up second in the team standings with 52 points, while Baylor took third with 76.
Indian Hills CC Invitational
One of the biggest JUCO meets of the weekend lived up to the hype.
NJCAA DI No. 2 Iowa Western CC topped NJCAA DI No. 1 Iowa Central CC in the men’s race, 46-57. Yonas Mogos earned the individual title, covering the 8K tract in 24:45.8, 19 seconds ahead of Hunter Klimek of Iowa Central CC (It should be mentioned that the Tritons didn’t race either of their National Athletes of the Week – Pur Biel or Kelvin Bungei). NJCAA DII No. 3 North Iowa Area CC finished third in the team standings thanks to a 4-5 finish by Melvin Kipkemboi and Jorge Ruiz.
NCAA Division II Missouri Western cruised to a win in the women’s race over NJCAA DII No. 3 Hawkeye (Iowa) CC, 23-59. NJCAA DI No. 5 Iowa Western CC took third place behind Faith Linga’s dominant performance (She won by more than one minute), while NJCAA DI No. 1 Iowa Central CC placed fourth (It should be noted that the Tritons didn’t race reigning National Athlete of the Week Eleonora Curtabbi).
Top-ranked JUCO teams did battle in Kearney, Nebraska.
The men’s race featured NJCAA DI No. 4 Hutchinson (Kan.) CC and NJCAA DI No. 7 Cloud County (Kan.) CC with the former getting the best of the latter, 62-68 (Although both lost to NCAA Division II Nebraska Kearney, which easily won with 25 points). Former National Athlete of the Week Habtamu Geta of Cloud County CC beat fellow former National Athlete of the Week Teagan Flanagan of Hutchinson CC for the individual title, 25:07.3 to 25:11.3.
The women’s race saw three teams that were ranked in the top-10 of the most recent National Coaches’ Poll: No. 3 Cloud County (Kan.) CC, No. 7 Dodge City (Kan.) CC and No. 8 Hutchinson (Kan.) CC. The T-Birds finished runner-up to Nebraska Kearney by four points after they put three runners in the top-6 (It wasn’t enough as the Lopers had four in the top-9). The Blue Dragons finished a distant third, right in front of the Conquistadors.
Bethel College Invitational
Cowley (Kan.) College ran like the highly-ranked NJCAA Division II programs that they are at the Bethel College Invitational on Saturday. The top-ranked women, led by an individual title from Lubna Suied, captured the team title with a 26-point effort. The second-ranked men finished a close runner-up to NAIA No. 4 Saint Mary (Kan.) – and by close, we mean two points separated the Tigers and Spires. Amos Pkiach paced the men from Cowley College with a runner-up individual finish.
Angelo State Blue & Gold Invitational
Teams from the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference gave its fans a little preview of what they could see at the championship meet on October 31. There were six men’s teams and five women’s teams in action on Friday in San Angelo, Texas. West Texas A&M held off a strong challenge by Dallas Baptist for the men’s title, while the Dallas Baptist women ran away with their gender’s crown. Individual titles went to Nicodemus Rotich of West Texas A&M on the men’s side and Madison Brown of Dallas Baptist on the women’s end.