Weekend Recap: NCAA DI Conference Championships Weekend

It is OFFICIALLY the NCAA Division I Cross Country postseason!

From here on out, everything points toward the 2021 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, set for Saturday, November 20, at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida. Don’t forget that all of the action will be broadcast live, commercial-free on ESPNU starting at 10 am ET.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets & Results | USTFCCCA Scoreboard

There will be a grand total of 31 meets this weekend across the nation, featuring every single top-30 program from the most recent NCAA DI Cross Country National Coaches’ Polls.

Here are recaps of meets that stood out the most to us.

ACC Cross Country Championships

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Women’s 6k Championship

No. 2 NC State won a sixth-straight ACC team crown with an impressive 20 points as Kelsey Chmiel led a 1-2-4-5-8 finish of scorers. That matched the lowest team title in meet history. No. 13 North Carolina was the only other team with more than one finisher in the top-10 to finish as runner-up with 87 points. The strong field had three more ranked teams complete the top-5 with No. 10 Florida State (102), No. 16 Syracuse (105) and No. 21 Notre Dame (114).

Chmiel won the individual title in 20:02.7, surging away from teammate Katelyn Tuohy (20:09.9) in the last kilometer. Syrcause’s Amanda Vestri was third in 20:09.9, while the Wolfpack’s Hannah Steelman (20:19.9) and Alexandra Hays (20:22.5) rounded out the top-5.

Men’s 8k Championship

No. 8 Notre Dame cruised to a repeat as team champions with 32 points as the Irish placed all five of its scorers in the top-11. RV Syracuse was runner-up with 84 points, followed by RV Wake Forest (104), RV North Carolina (110) and co-No. 19 Florida State (134).

Adriaan Wildschutt of FSU won the individual title in 23:07.0, with Dylan Jacobs of Notre Dame (23:23.0) ahead of the Seminole’s Ahmed Muhumed (23:24.0). The Irish’s Danny Kilrea (23:32.6) and Yared Nuguse (23:38.3) rounded out the top-5. Nuguse, the defending individual champ, was racing for the first time this fall.

Big 12 Cross Country Championships

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Men’s 8k Championship

It wasn’t nearly as close as last year’s crazy Big 12 race that needed a tiebreaker, but Oklahoma State and Iowa State once again separated themselves from the rest of the field by taking all of the top-10 places.

No. 5 OSU captured the team title with 24 points, while No. 2 ISU matched its score of 31 achieved last year. Wesley Kiptoo of Iowa State forged a blistering pace that only the Cowboys’ Isai Rodriguez could match, but that only lasted for the first 2k. OSU, however, had the stronger team this day by going 2-3-4-6-10, which topped the Cyclones’ scoring five of places of 1-5-7-8-9. No. 14 Texas followed in third place with 77 points, followed by Kansas State (121) and Kansas (169).

Kiptoo’s winning time of 23:32.5 gave him a margin of 23.8 seconds over Rodriguez (23:56.3), with the Cowboys’ Alex Maier (24:14.1) and Ryan Smeeton (24:17.4) finishing ahead of ISU’s Festus Lagat (24:21.9) to complete the individual top-5.

Women’s 6k Championship

Thrilling battles ensued in both the team and individual race.

No. 7 Oklahoma State edged No. 17 Iowa State by one point for the Big 12 team title, 35-36. Nine of the top-10 finishers were from those two squads, as the Cowgirls went 3-4-6-7-15 and the Cyclones had runners finish 2-5-8-9-12. West Virginia (65), Texas (134) and Kansas State (143) rounded out the top-5.

Ceili McCabe of West Virginia continued her strong season and added a Big 12 individual crown to her resume. McCabe captured the individual title in 20:44.2 and held off Iowa State’s Cailie Logue by 0.8 seconds, who finished in 20:45.0. Taylor Roe (20:48.8) and Molly Born (20:58.6) placed third and fourth for the Cowgirls, respectively, followed by the Cyclones’ Ashley Tutt (21:09.25) in fifth.

Big Ten Cross Country Championships

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Women’s 6k Championship

It could have been anyone’s race with five-nationally ranked programs in the field, but No. 6 Minnesota proved to be victorious. The Gophers won the Big Ten title and had runners finish 1-7-9-21-34 for 72 points. No. 22 Wisconsin finished second with 78 points, followed by No. 20 Michigan State in third (72), No. 9 Michigan in fourth (85) and Indiana in fifth (152).

The individual race was just as exciting. Megan Hasz of Minnesota won the individual title in 20:34.5 by 0.9 seconds ahead of Erica VanderLende of Michigan (20:35.3). Rounding out the top-5 were Jenna Magness (20:40.0), Addie Engel of Ohio State (20:44.8) and Rachel McCardell of Northwestern (20:45.1).

Men’s 5.2 Mile Championship

No. 10 Wisconsin captured the program’s fourth-straight Big Ten title – and 52nd overall – as Bob Liking led the Badgers to a 1-2-7-8-9 finish. No 15 Michigan captured a runner-up finish with 79 points, followed by No. 29 Minnesota third (83), Indiana in fourth (119) and Michigan State in fifth (134).

Liking took the lead at the 4 mile split and went on to win the individual title in 24:38.7, while teammate Olin Hacker finished second (24:42.3). Rounding out the top-5 are Jonathan Davis of Illinois (24:44.0), Morgan Beadlescomb of Michigan State (24:46.3) and Alec Basten of Minnesota (24:49.2).

Mountain West Cross Country Championships

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Women’s 6k Championship

New Mexico made it look easy on Friday.

The top-ranked Lobos, led by an individual title from Amelia Mazza-Downie, sent the first seven athletes across the finish line and notched the first perfect score by a women’s team since 2002. What might be even more impressive is that New Mexico used an 18-second spread to do so. No. 18 Utah State ended up a distant runner-up with 73 points, followed by No. 12 Colorado State in third with 75 points, unranked Air Force in fourth with 114 points and RV Boise State in fifth with 141.

Here are the rest of the Lobos who finished behind Mazza-Downie in the top-10: Emma Heckel in second; Gracelyn Larkin in third; Abbe Goldstein in fourth; Aliandrea Upshaw in fifth; Samree Dishon in sixth; Stefanie Parsons in seventh.

Men’s 8k Championship

Air Force continued to soar on Friday.

The 11th-ranked Falcons flew across the finish line in droves at the UNM Golf Course, as they took six of the top-10 spots. Sam Gilman and Ryan Ioanidis were second and third, respectively, to lead the way as Air Force ended up with 27 points, 37 fewer than runner-up No. 23 Boise State. No. 21 Utah State was third with 79 points, right ahead of t-No. 19 Colorado State with 70, while Wyoming rounded out the top-5 teams.

Dario De Caro of Boise State won the individual title in 23:26.8, ahead of Gilman and Ioanidis. Tanner Norman of Colorado State was fourth in 23:36.0 and Abdirizak Ibrahim of New Mexico was fifth in 23:37.0.

Pac-12 Cross Country Championships

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Men’s 8k Championship

No. 3 Colorado and No. 4 Stanford waged their expected duel, but the Buffs’ 39 points returned the conference trophy that Stanford had gained in the previous Pac-12 meet earlier this year. The Cardinal (52) was led by individual champion Charles Hicks as three Stanford runners (1-4-8) finished in the top-10, matching Colorado (3-6-7). The difference in the team battle was in depth as CU followed with scoring positions 11-12 while Stanford came home in 15-24. No. 26 Washington (68) edged No. 12 Oregon (72) as the next teams with Washington State (146) completing the top-5.

Hicks surged away from Oregon’s Cooper Teare in the last 300 meters for the win in 23:34.9 ahead of Teare’s 23:44.1. Colorado’s Eduardo Herrera (23:45.7), Stanford’s Ky Robinson (23:47.4) and the Ducks’ Aaron Bienenfeld (23:49.3) rounded out the individual top-5.

Women’s 6k Championship

Colorado dominantly reclaimed the team title with 24 points, as the Buffs had four of the top-5 finishers (1-2-4-5). No. 8 Utah was the only other squad with a pair of top-10 finishers (3-7) and claimed runner-up honors with 52 points. RV Oregon (92) was third ahead of No. 18 Washington (107), No. 23 Stanford (120) and RV Oregon State (156).

Abby Nichols (20:25.4) took off in the last kilometer to claim the individual title, while teammate Emily Covert (20:36.7) was runner-up over Utah’s Emily Venters (20:40.7). The Buffs’ India Johnson (20:49.5) and Rachel McArthur (20:50.9) completed the top-5.

SEC Cross Country Championships

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Men’s 8k Championship

Arkansas asserted itself from the start.

Eliud Kipsang waited until the final 2k.

Whatever the case might be, the sixth-ranked Razorbacks and the Alabama freshman both left with hardware when the dust settled on the 8k tract.

Arkansas had five of the top-7 runners at the 1k split and never had fewer than three runners in the top-10 the rest of the way. The Razorbacks ended up with 40 points (2-5-10-11-12), 19 fewer than runner-up No. 28 Ole Miss. Host Missouri surprised with a third-place showing, while No. 22 Alabama finished fourth and Tennessee took fifth to round out the top-5 teams.

Kipsang, who sat ninth through 6k, surged to the lead at the 7k mark. He held on from there and extended his advantage to four seconds by the finish for the 23:33.5 victory. Amon Kemboi of Arkansas took runner-up honors to pace his squad, while Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss was third, Alabama freshman Victor Kiprop was fourth and Jacob McLeod of Arkansas was fifth.

Women’s 6k Championship

Once Mercy Chelangat of Alabama decided she wanted the individual title on Friday, there was no slowing her down.

The same could be said about Arkansas in the team race.

We’ll start with the 15th-ranked Razorbacks, who sat second through 4k but had steadily made up ground on No. 5 Alabama, which had the lead. Arkansas went from down as many as 19 points at 3k to just four by 4k and then went up by six at 5k and won by 15 over No. 11 Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide fell to third, right in front of RV Kentucky and RV Tennessee.

Chelangat, now a back-to-back individual champion at the meet, hung with the leaders through 5k and powered home over the final 1k. She eventually won by nine seconds over Joyce Kimeli of Auburn, 19:55.2 to 20:04.1. Krissy Gear led Arkansas with a third-place finish, while Parker Valby of Florida was fourth and Tori Herman of Kentucky rounded out the top-5.

WCC Cross Country Championships

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Women’s 6k Championship

Whittni Orton and third-ranked BYU cruised to victory on Friday.

Orton won the individual title by six seconds in 20:01.0 and three of her Cougar teammates followed her lead in the top-5, as BYU easily won the team title over RV Gonzaga, 21-64. Anna Camp (third, 20:07.1), Anne Frentheway (fourth, 20:08.9) and Lexy Halladay (fifth, 20:17.) were the other BYU athletes in the top-5 with McKenna Lee in eighth to round out the scoring lineup for the Cougars.

Ruby Smee of San Francisco earned individual runner-up honors to help the unranked Dons to a fourth-place finish in the team standings. Other top-5 teams were No. 27 Portland in third with 75 points and unranked Santa Clara in fifth with 164 points.

Men’s 8k Championship

Conner Mantz and seventh-ranked BYU continued their dominance of the WCC.

Mantz made quick work of the race for the individual title, winning by 16 seconds in 23:01.0. That ultimate low stick propelled the Cougars – who put three more runners in the top-5 with Casey Clinger in third (23:27.5), Brandon Garnica in fourth (23:33.2) and Lucas Bons in fifth (23:42.4) – to win going away in the team race. BYU compiled 24 points, 26 fewer than No. 13 Gonzaga could muster (50) with James Mwaura taking individual runner-up honors.

No. 17 Portland ended up a clear third with 63 points, while unranked Santa Clara (113) and unranked St. Mary’s (Calif.) (157) rounded out the top-5 in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Big Sky Cross Country Championships

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Women’s 5k Championship

No. 19 Northern Arizona won a third-straight team title, outdistancing RV Weber State, 37-51, as Portland State (95), Idaho (109) and Southern Utah (120) followed. Both the Lumberjacks (1-6-7) and Wildcats (2-3-9) had a trio of top-10 finishers, but NAU’s depth was overwhelming (seven runners were in the top-15).

Taryn O’Neill of NAU repeated as individual champ, finishing the 5k course in 16:31.6 ahead of Weber State’s Billie Hatch (16:32.5) and Summer Allen (16:33.0). Katie Camarena of Portland State (16:35.3) and Alison Pray of Southern Utah (16:38.6) rounded out the individual top-5.

Men’s 8k Championship

No one surprised No. 1 Northern Arizona this year. The Lumberjacks placed four runners in the top-8, convincingly winning their fifth title in the last six years with 30 points as defending champion RV Southern Utah was second this year with 53 points. No. 30 Montana State (80), Weber State (89) and Idaho (137) completed the top-5

Drew Bosley won his second Big Sky individual crown, matching his 2019 title. His time of 23:15.6 was just ahead of teammate Nico Young (23:16.0), while Christian Allen of Weber State was third in 23:18.2. Defending individual champ Abdihamid Nur of NAU (fourth, 23:21.6) and Southern Utah’s Christian Ricketts (fifth, 23:23.4) completed the top-5.

BIG EAST Cross Country Championships

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Men’s 8k Championship

Simon Bedard led Butler to an upset victory on Friday.

Bedard won the individual title in 23:58.6 and the unranked Bulldogs took down three teams who were included in some form or fashion in the most recent NCAA DI Men’s National Coaches’ Poll. Butler scored 35 points to knock off No. 27 Georgetown (49), No. 24 Villanova (63) and RV Providence (85). Bedard was one of three Bulldogs in the top-5, as Barry Keane (third, 24:03.2) and Clark Otte (fifth, 24:22.7) joined him in that regard.

Women’s 6k Championship

Five teams who were included in the most recent NCAA DI Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Poll squared off on Friday with No. 26 Georgetown emerging victorious with 64 points. The Hoyas scored three fewer points than runner-up No. 29 Butler (29) with RV UConn (70), RV Villanova (74) and No. 14 Providence (81) not far behind. Maggie Donahue of Georgetown won the individual title in 20:47.8 with a blistering kick.