Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational Headlines Huge Cross Country Weekend

Buckle your seatbelts, folks.

This is the biggest regular-season weekend of the cross country season, bar none.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZoneMeets & Results | USTFCCCA Scoreboard

All but three of the 61 teams that appeared in the most recent NCAA Division I Cross Country National Coaches’ Polls will be in action between the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational and the FSU Invite/Pre-Nationals. Plus, there will be 10 or more top-35 programs from the most recent NCAA Division III National Coaches’ Polls competing at four different meets with the largest top-ranked contingents converging on the Augustana Interregional Invitational and Connecticut College Invitational.

Keep reading to find out more about four of the weekend’s biggest meets.

Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational

Date: Friday, October 15 | Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Do you want to win the team title at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships?

Well, winning the team title at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational is a good start.

Eight out of the past 12 combined team champions at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships also won at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational that same year. It would probably be more, if the meet wasn’t canceled last fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Past Nuttycombe Champions At NCAAs

Men’s Championship Race
Women’s Championship Race
Northern Arizona
Northern Arizona
Northern Arizona
New Mexico
Northern Arizona
New Mexico

After all, it’s a great benchmark to see how you stack up against the rest of the nation when more than half of the top-30 teams from the respective NCAA Division I Cross Country National Coaches’ Polls square off against each other. It would be like 15 of the top-25 teams in college basketball competing in the same tournament one month out from the Final Four.

A total of 37 teams from the most recent National Coaches’ Polls will tango between the Women’s Championship 6k at 12:20 pm CT and the Men’s Championship 8k at 1 pm CT.

They Don’t Call It Mad City For Nothing!
CLICK HERE to see all of the ranked teams at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational!

Top-30 Programs At Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational

Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 3 Stanford
No. 1 NC State
No. 4 Oklahoma State
No. 2 BYU
No. 6 Iowa State
No. 3 New Mexico
No. 9 Oregon
No. 6 Minnesota
No. 10 Furman
No. 7 Washington
No. 11 Wisconsin
No. 9 Stanford
No. 12 Tulsa
No. 13 Oklahoma State
No. 13 Washington
No. 17 Michigan State
No. 14 Iona
No. 18 Portland
No. 15 Michigan
No. 19 Providence
No. 16 Butler
No. 20 Villanova
No. 18 North Carolina
No. 21 Colorado State
No. 19 Gonzaga
No. 21 Indiana
No. 21 Southern Utah
No. 22 Iowa State
No. 26 Portland
No. 23 Notre Dame
No. 27 Syracuse
No. 25 Wisconsin
No. 29 Utah State
No. 26 UConn
No. 30 Air Force
No. 28 Furman
No. 30 Oregon State

Just look at that depth. Seriously, look at it!

We’ll start with the Women’s Championship 6k since it promises to be spectacular. Each of the top-3 teams from the most recent NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – No. 1 NC State, No. 2 BYU and No. 3 New Mexico – will be in Madison, Wisconsin, in addition to three more top-10 programs in No. 6 Minnesota, No. 7 Washington and No. 9 Stanford. Then, you have teams like No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 19 Providence and No. 21 Colorado State, who are quickly rising through the ranks. We’ve seen the wake of destruction that the top-ranked Wolfpack and the second-ranked Cougars left at the Joe Piane Invitational and the FSU XC Open, respectively, but what will happen when they meet for the first time and have an absolutely loaded field to contend with at the same time?

Don’t discount the overall depth in the men’s race, either. Thirteen of the top-20 teams are in the mix, including five of the top-10 programs: No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Iowa State, No. 9 Oregon and No. 10 Furman. After that, you have eight of the next 10 teams in the guise of No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 12 Tulsa, No. 13 Washington, No. 14 Iona, No. 15 Michigan, No. 16 Butler, No. 18 North Carolina and No. 19 Gonzaga. One of the biggest storylines in this race (in addition to those top-10 matchups as well as the race for the individual title) is seeing how those rising stars – like the 10th-ranked Paladins and the 18th-ranked Tar Heels – fare against the best teams in the nation (Furman did win the Joe Piane Invitational earlier this season, but this field is far stronger than they faced a few weeks ago).

“There is a lot of hype surrounding it, for better or worse,” Wisconsin coach Mick Byrne said of the meet back in 2015. “From a spectators’ point of view and marketing our sport, it’s fantastic. People are talking about it on social media, the national rankings are bound to change and it has really taken on this whole persona of its own.

“One of the best things about this meet is that people understand head-to-head competition … Every coach is going to run a full team and race hard. There is no hiding out here.”

READ MORE: You Can Run (Not Hide) At The Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational

Fans could see a total of at least 33 All-Americans from this past spring running on the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course, which includes four of the top-10 finishers on the women’s side and five of the top-15 finishers from the men’s race in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Taylor Roe of Oklahoma State (women’s individual runner-up) and Wesley Kiptoo of Iowa State (men’s individual third-place finisher) headline their respective individual races, as far as top-returning finishers go. It’s going to be thrilling battle for individual laurels with a bunch of other talented athletes in the mix.

FSU Invite/Pre-Nationals

Date: Friday, October 15 | Location: Tallahassee, Florida

No. 1 versus No. 2.

We can probably stop there, right?

If not, what if we put names to numbers and add a few more?

No. 1 Northern Arizona versus No. 2 Notre Dame versus No. 5 BYU versus No. 7 Colorado versus No. 8 Arkansas. That’s just on the men’s side and features three of the podium teams from this spring except for third-place Oklahoma State (The Lumberjacks won the title, followed by the Irish, the Cowboys and the fourth-place Razorbacks).

Let’s see all the ranked teams who will compete tomorrow at the FSU Invite/Pre-Nationals, though.

We’re Keeping Tally in Tally!
CLICK HERE to see all of the ranked teams at the FSU Invite/Pre-Nationals!

Top-30 Programs At FSU Invite/Pre-Nationals

Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 1 Northern Arizona
No. 5 Colorado
No. 2 Notre Dame
No. 10 Utah
No. 5 BYU
No. 11 Arkansas
No. 7 Colorado
No. 12 North Carolina
No. 8 Arkansas
No. 14 Ole Miss
No. 17 Wake Forest
No. 15 Florida State
No. 20 Florida State
No. 16 Northern Arizona
No. 22 Alabama
No. 23 Notre Dame
No. 24 Texas
No. 24 Georgetown
No. 25 Weber State
No. 27 Kentucky
No. 28 Ole Miss
No. 28 Toledo
No. 30 Charlotte

We’re probably going to see similar fields assembled at the Pre-National Invitational over the next four years since the site of the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships is rotating a lot more than it had in the previous five years. Top teams will want to get as familiar as they can on an unfamiliar course. The meet goes back to Stillwater, Oklahoma, in 2022, followed by a visit to Panorama Farms in Charlottesville, Virginia (2023), a return trip to the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin (2024) and a journey to the Gans Creek Cross Country Course in Columbia, Missouri (2025).

Let’s not forget about the Women’s 6k Garnet Race, which is schedule to start at 8:35 am ET, about 35 minutes after the beginning of the Men’s 8k Garnet Race at 8 am ET.

No. 5 Colorado headlines the bunch since No. 4 Alabama, originally scheduled to compete, will only race a handful of athletes in the Open Race, but all eyes might be on No. 10 Utah, No. 27 Kentucky and No. 28 Toledo after their torrid starts to the season. The Utes ran roughshod over the competition at the Bill Dellinger Invitational back in mid-September, while both the Rockets and the Wildcats impressed at the Joe Piane Invitational with top-10 finishes.

A total of 28 All-Americans from this past spring could race at Apalachee Regional Park on Friday morning, including five of the top-10 finishers from the men’s side and four of the top-10 finishers from the women’s race.

You don’t need to look any further than the prospective battle in the men’s race between reigning individual national champion Conner Mantz of BYU and runner-up finisher Adriaan Wildschutt of Florida State, who are both undefeated this season. Good luck ruling out Abdihamid Nur or Nico Young of Northern Arizona, Jonathan Davis of Illinois or any of Notre Dame’s top runners, who are likely going to make their season debuts.

Augustana Interregional Invitational

Date: Saturday, October 16 | Location: Rock Island, Illinois

No. 1 versus No. 2 in the men’s race.

No. 2 versus No. 3 versus No. 5 versus No. 9 in the women’s race.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

The Augustana Interregional Invitational is going to be special on Saturday.

You’ll see the Men’s 8k on the course first at 10:30 am CT, featuring top-ranked Wartburg against second-ranked Pomona-Pitzer. Both the Knights and the Sagehens have impressed so far in 2021 against varying levels of competition, which gives hope that their head-to-head matchup will be electric. Three other top-15 squads are in the field as well – No. 10 Washington (Mo.), No. 12 North Central (Ill.) and No. 14 UChicago – all of which are formidable in their own right. The race for the individual title should be tremendous with Joe Freiburger of the Knights already in postseason form and Lucas Florsheim of the Sagehens and Jacob Ridderhoff of the Bears coming into their own.

The Women’s 6k is scheduled to start at 11:15 am CT with No. 2 Wartburg squaring off against No. 3 Washington (Mo.), No. 5 UChicago and No. 9 Pomona-Pitzer, among others. It will be a riveting race for both the individual title and the team title, as top athletes from those teams like Aubrie Fisher and Riley Mayer of the Knights, Emily Konkus and Emma Walter of the Bears, Claudia Harnett of the Maroons as well as Katie Cline and Genevieve DiBari of the Sagehens vie to give their respective squads low sticks. Just a few weeks ago, Wartburg and WashU raced to the same score at the Dan Huston Invitational, which forced a tiebreaker. UChicago can’t be ruled out, either, after recently destroying the competition at both the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational and the Gil Dodds Invitational. Pomona-Pitzer should be hungry after not racing this past weekend due to caution surrounding COVID-19.

Connecticut College Invitational

Date: Saturday, October 16 | Location: Waterford, Connecticut

The largest concentration of ranked teams from the most recent NCAA Division III Cross Country National Coaches’ Polls will be at the Connecticut College Invitational on Saturday.

Fans will see a total of 18 teams who appeared in their respective top-35s in Week 5, which includes 10 on the women’s side and eight on the men’s side.

The Women’s 6k Caroline Grape ’22 Memorial Blue Race goes off at 12 pm ET with four top-15 programs: No. 6 Williams, No. 12 MIT, No. 13 Amherst and No. 15 Bates. You don’t have to look too much further to see how big of a meet this promises to be, because No. 25 George Fox is making the cross-country trip from Newberg, Oregon, to Waterford, Connecticut. Other teams in the race include No. 18 Tufts, No. 23 Middlebury, No. 26 WPI, No. 28 Wesleyan (Conn.) and No. 35 Brandeis, among others.

The Men’s 8k Blue Race, set to start at 1 pm ET, features a top-5 matchup between No. 3 Williams and No. 4 MIT with No. 16 RPI and No. 18 Middlebury leading the chase pack with No. 23 Bates, No. 28 Amherst, No. 32 Connecticut College and No. 34 WPI not too far behind, according to the form chart.

Other Meets of Note

Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle

There will be a total of 15 top-35 programs from the most recent NCAA DIII National Coaches’ Polls competing on Saturday in Logan Township, New Jersey. Johns Hopkins, the unanimous No. 1 women’s team, headlines the field and will go up against No. 7 Dickinson and No. 10 SUNY Geneseo, among others. SUNY Geneseo has the top-ranked men’s team in the field and will be joined by the likes of No. 13 Johns Hopkins and No. 20 Lynchburg, among others.

Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble

There will be a total of 10 top-35 programs from the most recent NCAA DIII National Coaches’ Polls competing on Saturday in Oberlin, Ohio. A top-10 matchup between No. 7 John Carroll and No. 8 UW-Whitewater headlines the men’s race with a potentially exciting battle for the individual title between Alex Phillip and David Fassbender, who represent those two programs, while Carnegie Mellon is the top-ranked women’s team in the field at No. 17.