WEEKEND ROUNDUP (XC): Championship-Level Racing Across The Nation

We’re less than three weeks away from the rescheduled 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on March 15 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Remember that you can watch all of the action from the OSU Cross Country Course LIVE on ESPN U and the ESPN App beginning at 12:30 pm ET.

Not only that, but other divisions are still competing this winter and spring.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets & Results

Let’s find out what happened this past week in collegiate cross country.

West Coast Conference Championships

CLICK HERE FOR RESULTS FROM THE MEET

BYU continued its dominance of the West Coast Conference Championships.

The Cougars swept the proceedings for the third year in a row earlier this week at the Craig Ranch Regional Park in North Las Vegas.

In the men’s race, top-ranked BYU put all five scorers in the top-10 as it totaled 25 points to soundly defeat the rest of the field, which included No. 8 Portland and RV Gonzaga. Conner Mantz captured the individual title in 22:54.4, more than eight seconds faster than James Mwaura of Gonzaga, who led his team to a surprising runner-up effort.

The women’s race saw second-ranked BYU notch three of the top-5 finishers as it totaled 28 points for a 21-point win over No. 25 Portland. Aubrey Frentheway led the way for the Cougars as the individual runner-up behind champion Anna Pataki of Portland. Anna Camp (third) and Sara Musselman (fifth) were the other two BYU athletes in the top-5.

Big Sky Conference Championships

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There was a bit of an upset at the Big Sky Conference Championships.

Southern Utah, which received votes in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll, knocked off No. 2 Northern Arizona, 33-38. Both the Lumberjacks and the Thunderbirds put four runners in the top-10 – and the former held a 22-24 lead through those four runners – but Isaiah Labra finished 11th overall to send the latter to its second conference crown (The next NAU runner was Aldo Marquez in 16th place).

Reigning National Athlete of the Week Abdihamid Nur captured the individual title at the meet for the Lumberjacks, winning by 2.5 seconds in 23:55.6.

No. 16 NAU ran away with the women’s team title behind Taryn O’Neill‘s individual victory. O’Neill crossed the finish line in 16:59.9 and the rest of the Lumberjack scorers weren’t too far behind, all in the top-8. It turned out to be a 46-point win for NAU, as it topped Weber State, 27-73.

OSU Winter Open

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When opportunities to race are scarce, you make your own.

Oklahoma State hosted Tulsa in what basically amounted to a dual meet this past Tuesday on the same course that will hold the aforementioned NCAA Championships in just a few weeks (We saw it “basically amounted to a dual meet,” because while it was just Oklahoma State versus Tulsa on the women’s side, a few athletes from Iowa State were mixed in on the men’s side).

Well, the men’s race was every bit as thrilling as you’d expect a head-to-head matchup between two top-10 teams. The Golden Hurricane entered the meet ranked fourth nationally, while the Cowboys sat sixth in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll.

Oklahoma State won by just one point, 28-29!

The Cowboys received the ultimate low stick from Isai Rodriguez, who won the individual title in a hard-fought matchup against Patrick Dever. Rodriguez pulled away down the homestretch to finish in 23:57.6, only 1.3 seconds ahead of Dever, who won the individual title at the American Athletic Conference Championships back on February 6.

Dever was one of three Tulsa athletes to finish in succession, though, as they went 2-3-4 to put pressure on Oklahoma State. The Cowboys wouldn’t be denied, sending five of the next eight runners across the finish line, including five of the next six scorers (Mitchell Day and Thomas Pollard, both of Iowa State, ended up ninth and 10th, respectively).

The women’s race wasn’t as close: Oklahoma State won in a rout.

It was a 19-point victory for the Cowgirls, as they took five of the top-6 spots, led by individual champion Molly Born in 21:48.7. Born opened her season back on February 5 at the FSU Winter XC Classic, where she finished 15th overall as Oklahoma State’s third athlete.