Weekend Roundup For October 23-25
The fall cross country season is showing no signs of slowing down!
Just this past weekend we saw a number of strong performances across the nation, especially at the NCAA Division II level as conference bragging rights were up for grabs, as well as at several notable meets featuring those from the NCAA Division III, NJCAA and NAIA ranks.
Let’s take a closer look at what happened this weekend!
RMAC Cross Country Championships
Hold those trophies a mile high, Colorado Mines and Western Colorado!
Team titles at the RMAC Cross Country Championships went to the Oredigger men – for the fourth time in the past five years – and the Mountaineer women – for the first time since 2011.
Colorado Mines looked in control the entire time, using a pack mentality to ward off all challenges. When the dust settled in the Men’s 8K – and there was a lot of dust after an early race pileup – the Orediggers put their entire lineup – not just scoring lineup – in the top-12. Dylan Ko led the way with the individual title as he crossed the finish line in 24:18.4, nearly four seconds ahead of runner-up Isaiah Rodarte of Adams State. Colorado Mines took six of the next 10 spots behind Rodarte.
Western Colorado finished a distant second as a team behind the Orediggers with Colorado Christian taking a surprising third in front of Adams State. It has been a steady rise for the Cougars, as they were ninth at the 2018 RMAC Championships and seventh last year.
Speaking of Western Colorado, its women made sure they weren’t going back to Gunnison without the team title, especially not after finishing so close to the top in each of those next eight years after its last conference crown (The Mountaineers were always in the top-3, including a narrow nine-point loss to Adams State in 2018 where it held the lead after three runners and was tied after four finishers).
Bailey Sharon and Katie Doucette paced the Mountaineers in fourth and fifth, respectively, while Alexia Thiros also took a top-10 spot in seventh. Malindi Congour provided the Mountaineers their fourth finisher in 11th place, which gave them 27 points. Once Hannah Mae Gigstad crossed the finish line 17th – far enough ahead of the next Colorado Mines finisher, which was Western Colorado’s toughest challenger – the celebration could start.
Aforementioned Colorado Mines ended up second behind the Mountaineers, while MSU Denver took a notable third in front of eight-time defending champion Adams State.
GLVC Cross Country Championships
Lewis‘ men and Southwest Baptist‘s women made a splash at the GLVC Cross Country Championships on Saturday at the North Farm Course in Elsah, Illinois.
The Flyers won their first conference title since 2004, ending a 15-year win streak by Southern Indiana in the process. In fact, Lewis was the last team not named the Screaming Eagles to earn the GLVC’s top prize. It turned out to be a dogfight for the Flyers, who won by six points over USI. Lewis didn’t take the lead for good until four runners scored: Illinois Springfield came out firing on all cylinders as the only team with three runners in the top-10 (The Prairie Stars next two runners came through in 22nd and 34th).
The Bearcats just joined the conference last year and finished a close runner-up to USI’s women in 2019. This year was quite different as SBU steamrolled the field on its way to a 19-point win over Drury. The Bearcats were the only team with three runners in the top-10, led by a runner-up effort by Elysia Burgos. Tabitha Weber and Tessa Valdivia were the other SBU athletes in the aforementioned top-10.
Blake Jones of Illinois Springfield and Lauren Bailey of UIndy won their respective gender’s individual titles. Jones won by 10 seconds in 24:41.3; Bailey won by nearly 27 seconds in 20:23.5.
Great Midwest Cross Country Championships
Walsh swept the proceedings at the Great Midwest Championships this morning at the Seneca Hills Golf Course in Tiffin, Ohio.
This marked the fourth title in the past four years – and second consecutively – for the men’s team (2017, 2019, 2020), while the women nabbed their second in the past three years (2018, 2020).
It wasn’t close in the men’s race as the Cavaliers took four of the top-5 places, led by individual champion Noah Murray (24:57.4) and runner-up Drew Roberts (25:03.1). Murray and Roberts were 20 seconds clear of the next batch of finishers, which included teammates Jared Bugaj (fourth, 25:28.6) and Beau Boyden (fifth, 25:30.2). When Xavier Foehl crossed the finish line in ninth place, it completed the rout.
Walsh ended up with 21 points, followed by Malone (78) and Cedarville (91).
The women’s race was closer, especially since four different teams had a different finisher among the top-4 athletes, led by individual champion Mackenna Curtis-Collins of Malone in 21:24.2. Alexa Leppelmeier gave Walsh its first finisher as the runner-up, while Maryssa Depeis and Gabrielle Lawrence aided Hillsdale and Findlay in third and fourth place, respectively.
But that’s when the Cavaliers took over the proceedings, ending up with four of the next five finishers to put their entire scoring lineup in the top-10: Claire Robertson (fifth, 22:04.6), Bridget Hahn (sixth, 22:05.6), Alyssa Viscounte (22:08.6) and Teja Young (ninth, 22:10.6).
Walsh totaled 30 points, 16 fewer than defending champion Hillsdale (46).
Midwest XC Challenge
Taylor (Ind.)‘s No. 1 men and No. 2 women welcomed 12 other ranked teams in the most recent NAIA Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll to the TUXC Farm in Upland, Indiana, for the Midwest XC Challenge on Saturday. By the end of the afternoon, all of those other teams left empty-handed as the Trojans swept the proceedings, cementing their status among the nation’s elite.
Neither of Taylor (Ind.)’s teams had too much of a challenge, despite all of those ranked teams in attendance. The Trojan men won the team title by 21 points over No. 20 Cornerstone (Mich.), while the women had a far more comfortable 33-point win over No. 4 St. Francis (Ill.).
Individual titles in both races went to athletes from Huntington (Ind.): Adriene Gentie and Emma Wilson, both of whom were former NAIA National Athletes of the Week. Gentie won the men’s race by nearly 18 seconds in 25:14.8; Wilson by nearly 25 seconds in 17:11.5.
Former National Athletes of the Week took to the Max Cross Country Course at the Wartburg Triangular on Saturday in Waverly, Iowa.
Kassie Rosenbum of Loras won the biggest battle of the afternoon and set a course record in the process. Rosenbum, running against former National Athlete of the Week Aubrie Fisher and 2019 A-R-C champion Carina Collet (Rosenbum was runner-up in that race), covered the 6K tract in 21:13.3, 19 seconds faster than Fisher did two weeks ago to set the former tract best. Fisher ended up third on this day, one spot behind Collet.
Two-time National Athlete of the Week Joe Frieburger easily handled the field to remain undefeated this season. Freiburger won by 13 seconds in 24:32.0 and lowered his course record by 15 seconds. The senior held a near 18-second lead at 5K and put it in cruise control the rest of the race.
Other Meets Of Note
Saint Mary (Kan.) swept the Mid States Classic hosted by Southwestern College. The fourth-ranked men in the NAIA ran off four of the top-5 spots and seven of the top-10 for a 17-point score. The 19th-ranked women put six runners in the top-10 as they won by 74 points over Kansas Wesleyan … It turned out to be a JUCO party atop the team standings of the men’s race at the Mustang XC Jamboree as NJCAA Division I No. 1 Iowa Central CC – led by individual champion Pur Biel – won the team title with 46 points, 29 fewer than runner-up and NJCAA Division II No. 4 Hawkeye (Iowa) CC.