Weekend Recap: September 24-26

Don’t blink.

You’ll miss some great racing.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZoneMeets & Results | Scoreboard

The collegiate cross country weekend got off to an early start with the Bill Dellinger Invitational on Thursday night. It won’t slow down from there, as we’ll see numerous ranked teams square off from Massachusetts to Minnesota to California and everywhere in between.

Keep reading to find out what happened!

Bill Dellinger Invitational

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A close race on the men’s side and a shocking upset in the women’s race headlined the Bill Dellinger Invitational on Thursday night in Springfield, Oregon.

The host No. 6 Men of Oregon used a 1-2 finish to win the team title with 57 points, just ahead of No. 25 Gonzaga’s 63. RV Air Force (89), No. 19 Portland (100) and RV Boise State (112) rounded out the top-5. Cooper Teare won the individual race in 23:05.1 over the 8k course at Pine Ridge Golf Club, with teammate and Cincinnati transfer Aaron Bienefeld a step behind in 23:06.6.

Utah – only receiving votes in the latest poll – placed four runners in the top-10 scoring for a convincing upset over five ranked teams, winning the women’s team title with 38 points. No. 25 Colorado State was closest at 93, followed by No. 4 Arkansas (112), RV Portland (115) and No. 23 Oregon State (170). The strong field also had No. 24 Oregon in sixth (175) and No. 17 Boise State in seventh (210). The Utes’ Ariel Keklak led Utah’s tight group as its five scorers were within 24 seconds. The Razorbacks’ Lauren Gregory was the top collegian individually, earning second in 20:06.9 behind unattached Izzy Thornton-Bott (20:04.6) for the 6k race.

Roy Griak Invitational

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The Roy Griak Invitational certainly lived up to the hype in its 35th running on Friday.

Both the battle for the individual title and the team title were equally as exciting in the Merrill Fischbein Men’s Gold Race. Many thought the former would come down to Conner Mantz of BYU and Wesley Kiptoo of Iowa State, while the latter would be a duel between their respective teams. That’s exactly what happened as Kiptoo and Mantz broke away from the pack over the final 3k and treated fans to an incredible finish, where Mantz pulled ahead and won by just one second, 23:53.9 to 23:54.9. It was the fifth-fastest winning mark in meet history. One point was all that separated the Cougars and the Cyclones in the team standings: BYU edged Iowa State, 34-35. Mantz’s victory proved to be the difference, but the Cougars’ top-end depth was tough to match (BYU had four of the top-7 runners).

A smart race propelled Cailie Logue of Iowa State to the individual title and Minnesota wasn’t about to leave the Jack Johnson Women’s Gold Race without some team hardware. Logue went from 17th at the 1-mile split to 13th at the 3k mark and then picked off 13 more runners in the final 3k to win by 1.7 seconds over Jenna Magness of Michigan State, 20:57.9 to 20:59.6. That low stick by Logue propelled the No. 30 Cyclones to a runner-up finish behind the meet champion Golden Gophers. No. 10 Minnesota put four runners in the top-10, led by a 4-5 finish by Bethany Hasz and Abby Kohut-Jackson. The Golden Gophers finished with 51 points, 30 fewer than Iowa State.

U-Mary, the eighth-ranked team in the NCAA DII Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll, won the team title in the Suzy Wilson Women’s Maroon Race. The Marauders scored 64 points, five fewer than No. 22 Minnesota Duluth. U-Mary used superior overall depth to hold off a strong challenge from the Bulldogs. The Marauders went 3-4-15-19-23, compared to the 2-7-9-16-35 finish by UMD.

Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown

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Individual titles led to team title at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown.

Gilbert Boit and Amon Kemboi went 1-2 with the same 24:08 time in the men’s race to lead No. 6 Arkansas to an easy 21-point victory over three squads who received votes in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll – Syracuse (60), Duke (80) and Harvard (96). The Razorbacks also saw Emmanuel Cheboson and Andrew Kibet finish among the top-6 finishers in fifth and sixth, respectively.

Brynn Brown won going away as her low stick paced No. 13 North Carolina to the women’s crown. Brown covered the 5k tract in 16:53, eight seconds faster than Amanda Vestri of Syracuse. The Tar Heels finished with 63 points, 19 fewer than runner-up No. 26 Providence (82). Duke, just outside of the top-30 in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll, placed third, while No. 22 UConn took fourth with 122 points.

Purple Valley Classic

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The Purple Valley Classic made its triumphant return on Saturday.

The women’s race headlined the meet with four top-15 squads from the most recent NCAA Division III National Coaches’ Poll competing over the 6k tract. When the dust settled, No. 8 Williams turned away No. 6 MIT, 52-64. No. 11 Tufts finished third with 79 points, followed by No. 13 Middlebury and No. 25 WPI with 105 and 123, respectively. The Ephs put their entire scoring lineup in the top-15, led by Genna Girard’s runner-up finish. The third-place Jumbos looked strong through three runners, as Danielle Page won the individual title in 22:41.9 and had two teammates also finish in the top-10.

The men’s race was a little bit closer, as three points decided the team title between No. 2 Williams and No. 6 MIT. Ultimately, the Ephs protected their home course and notched a 29-32 victory. No. 31 Middlebury took third with 86 points, followed by WPI (133) and No. 30 Tufts (145). The Cambridge-based Engineers led through three runners, but the Ephs came storming back with three of the next four finishers to cap their scoring lineup. Elias Lindgren of Williams picked up the individual title in 26:09.7.

Cougar Challenge

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A total of ten ranked teams in NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III competed at the Cougar Challenge in San Marcos, California.

NCAA DIII No. 3 Pomona-Pitzer continued its strong start to the season, taking down NCAA DII No. 4 Chico State in the men’s race. It turned out to be a 50-52 victory for the Sagehens, as their second, third and fourth runners proved to be the difference. Pomona-Pitzer went 3-7-10-11-19, compared to the Wildcats’ 2-8-12-14-16. Shea Varva of Cal State San Marcos picked up the individual title in 24:32.4.

NCAA DII No. 13 Chico State upset NCAA DII No. 6 Stanislaus State, 60-62, in the women’s race, with NCAA DII No. 24 Cal State San Marcos and NCAA DIII No. 14 Pomona-Pitzer not too far behind. Stanislaus State got the all-important low stick from Kaela Dishon (20:57.3), but Chico State sent its top-4 finishers across within 10 seconds of each other and the fifth ice the win for the guests. Chico State went 8-10-12-13-17 with Stanislaus State at 1-6-9-16-30.

Queen City Invitational

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Cross-divisional competition highlighted the Queen City Invitational on Friday.

NAIA No. 6 Milligan (Tenn.) placed its entire scoring five among the top-10 for a dominat victory with 33 points. All five Buffs finished within 10 seconds of each other, led by fifth-place Eli Cramer (24:17 for 8k). NCAA DII No. 7 Queens (N.C.) finished second with 75 points, with NCAA DII Anderson (S.C.) taking third (97) among 34 teams. Isaac Prather of Concord (N.C.) won the 8k race in 23:43, 26 seconds ahead of the hosts’ Jan Lukas Becker.

In the women’s race, Milligan was also tops as the No. 2-ranked NAIA Buffs scored 58 to hold off a pair of NCAA DII programs in unranked Anderson (S.C.) and No. 12 Queens, which had 82 and 90 points, respectively. Freshman Fatima Alanis of the host Queens won a close battle for the individual crown, running 17:07 ahead of the 17:08 by Lemi Wutz of Milligan, one of three Buffs in the top-10.