2021 NCAA DI Men’s Cross Country Regional Rankings – Week 4
NEW ORLEANS – In the words of Heath Ledger’s legendary portrayal of the Joker in “The Dark Knight Rises” … “And, here we go!”
Here is the Week 4 edition of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country Regional Rankings, as released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday. A huge weekend shook up the top-2 teams in four of the nine regions, while several shifts changed the landscape of the top-5s in those and others.
Remember that Regional Championships Friday is set for November 12!
Great Lakes Region
There were some big changes to the order of the top-5 teams in the Great Lakes Region.
Notre Dame remained No. 1, but is now followed by No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 3 Michigan, who both leapfrogged Butler into the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively. The Bulldogs fell to No. 4, followed by No. 5 Purdue. Both the Badgers and the Wolverines impressed this past weekend. Wisconsin took top honors at the Live in the Lou Cross Country Classic, putting all five of its scoring athletes in the top-10 with a 19-second spread between its first and fifth runners. Michigan finished runner-up at the Joe Piane Invitational and saw its scoring athletes pack up throughout the race and finish within 14 seconds of each other.
There were a few changes to the order of the top-5 teams in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Villanova remained No. 1, but Princeton leapfrogged Georgetown into the No. 2 spot (The Hoyas dropped to No. 3). No. 4 Navy and No. 5 Penn held steady in their respective spots. The Tigers turned in a strong effort at the Paul Short Run this past weekend, finishing third behind North Carolina and the region-leading Wildcats. Georgetown struggled in a loaded field at the Joe Piane Invitational, placing 12th out of 23 teams.
There were a few changes to the order of the top-5 teams in the Midwest Region.
Oklahoma State and Iowa State remained No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, followed by No. 3 Tulsa. Minnesota continued its climb up the rankings, going from No. 5 to No. 4. Wichita State found itself in the top-5 for the first time this season, while former No. 4 Illinois dropped all the way to No. 9. The Golden Gophers were idle this past weekend, but impressed two weeks ago with a fourth-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational. The Shockers took runner-up honors at the Gans Creek Classic this past weekend, just 12 points behind winner North Florida.
There was a small change to the order of the top-5 teams in the Mountain Region.
Northern Arizona and Colorado remained No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, followed by No. 3 BYU, but Southern Utah soared into the No. 4 spot ahead of No. 5 Weber State. The T-Birds and the Wildcats went head-to-head at the Joe Piane Invitational this past weekend: SUU took fifth place with three runners in the top-35; Weber State ended up seventh thanks to the strong low stick by Christian Allen in sixth place.
There were a few changes to the order of the top-5 teams in the Northeast Region.
Iona and Syracuse remained No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, followed by No. 3 Harvard, but Stony Brook leapfrogged both UMass Lowell and Princeton into the No. 4 spot. Both the River Hawks and Friars slid one spot to No. 5 and No. 6, respectively. Stony Brook and UMass Lowell went head-to-head this past weekend at the Paul Short Run with the former coming out on top, posting a fifth-place finish, compared to the latter’s sixth-place showing.
There were some major changes to the order of the top-5 teams in the South Region.
Florida State vaulted to the No. 1 spot, which knocked Alabama to No. 2 and Ole Miss to No. 3. Tennessee moved up one spot to No. 4, while North Florida cracked the top-5 for the first time this season. It was a coming-out party of sorts at the Joe Piane Invitational this past weekend for the Seminoles, who lead the region for the first time since 2015. Florida State finished fourth in a loaded field and put two runners in the top-10 to knock off both Alabama and Ole Miss. The Ospreys won the team title at the Gans Creek Classic this past weekend.
South Central Region
There was one change to the order of the top-5 teams in the South Central Region.
Arkansas and Texas remained No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, followed by No. 3 LSU, but Texas A&M leapfrogged North Texas into the No. 4 spot (The Mean Green are now ranked No. 5). The Aggies took down several regional foes and placed seventh at the Gans Creek Classic. Eric Casarez captured the individual title for Texas A&M and set his second course record in as many weeks (Cesarez established an all-time best on the Aggies’ home course last week).
There were major changes to the order of the top-5 teams in the Southeast Region.
Furman leapfrogged Wake Forest into the No. 1 spot (The Demon Deacons settled in at No. 2). North Carolina held steady at No. 3, but Charlotte cracked the top-5 for the first time this season at No. 4, which pushed former No. 4 Duke down to No. 5. The Paladins shocked everybody but themselves this past weekend with a team title at the Joe Piane Invitational. The Tar Heels also won a team title – theirs at the Paul Short Run – while the 49ers finished ninth at the Joe Piane Invitational, one spot ahead of the Wolfpack.
There were no changes to the order of the top-5 teams in the West Region.
Stanford and Oregon remained No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, followed by No. 3 Washington, No. 4 Gonzaga and No. 5 Portland. The Huskies debuted most of their roster this past weekend at the Charles Bowles Invitational and swept the proceedings. Washington actually took the top-6 spots with a meager six-second gap between their top-5 runners. Expect major changes in two weeks, after these top-5 squads compete at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.