MEET PREVIEW: Battle Born Collegiate Challenge

Less than one month from now, 31 teams from each gender will toe the starting line at the rescheduled 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Teams that declare themselves eligible for selection will be picked based on performance at their respective conference championships, the body of work from all competitions (which includes those who don’t have conference championships) and common head-to-head opponents.

Tomorrow is a great opportunity for 12 nationally-ranked programs to impress the prospective selection committee during the running of the Battle Born Collegiate Challenge in Las Vegas. This is the second spring regular season meet being held at the Craig Ranch Regional Park.

Six of those nationally-ranked programs are scheduled to be in the Men’s 8K, including five top-15 programs: No. 2 Northern Arizona, No. 5 Stanford, No. 9 Washington, No. 10 Colorado and No. 11 Notre Dame. No. 25 Colorado State will also be in the mix – as will RV Southern Utah – looking to shake up the team standings.

It was just a few weeks ago at the Silver State Collegiate Challenge where the shorthanded Lumberjacks lost to BYU and fell from their perch as the nation’s No. 1 program (The Cougars took over the top spot in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll). Both the Huskies and Irish were involved in that meet as well, taking third and fourth place, respectively.

The Cardinal is on a bit of a heater, too (Well, as much of a roll as you can be on after only racing once this season). Stanford dominated the proceedings at the FSU Winter Cross Country Classic in Tallahassee, Florida, putting four athletes in the top-20 to win by 31 points over Iowa State (The Buffs also finished with 98 points, but lost in a 3-2 tiebreaker to the Cyclones).

Fans could potentially see four top-10 teams compete in the Women’s 6K: No. 4 New Mexico, No. 5 Colorado, No. 6 Stanford and No. 9 Washington. Don’t count out No. 11 Boise State or No. 16 Northern Arizona, either, which finished a game third at the meet here a few weeks ago.

The fifth-ranked Buffs and the sixth-ranked Cardinal treated fans to a gem of a race three weeks ago at the FSU Winter Cross Country Classic. Colorado ended up with a five-point win thanks to putting four runners in the top-20 (Stanford could only muster three, despite going 1-3-9).

Look for the fourth-ranked Lady Lobos to make their season debut this weekend. This is actually New Mexico’s lone competition before the postseason, which starts for them on this same course at the Mountain West Championships on March 5.