WEEKEND RECAP: Division II Conference Championships
NEW ORLEANS – The Division II cross country conference championship weekend may have come a bit later than those in Divisions I and III, but with all the superb action the past couple of days, it was worth the wait.
Some national title contenders in both the individual and team races flexed their muscles with less than a month left until the NCAA Championships December 6 in Louisville, Kentucky. Others had near misses. And more still fell a bit flat.
Some championship streaks were extended, others were snapped.
Check out recaps of the weekend’s biggest action below, or find the full slate of weekend results on the USTFCCCA Conference Championships Central page.
Could the No. 1 spot currently held unanimously by two-time defending NCAA champ Adams State in the men’s National Coaches’ Polls be up for grabs, after all? Or is No. 4 Colorado Mines better than their rank suggests?
Adams State edged out CSM, 33-38, at Western State on Saturday behind a 1-2 sweep from defending national champ Tabor Stevens (25:20.7) and Kevin Batt. Then again, you’d not be wrong to read too much into this result: Adams State lost at RMACs a year ago before going on to crush the field at the NCAA Championships several weeks later.
Back to the here and now. Stevens and Batt teamed with fifth-place frosh Jackson Sayler for three runners in the top five, while 2012 national fourth-place finisher Matt Daniels was 12th and sophomore Jack Espeset was 13th.
Troubling for the Grizzlies (but excellent news for CSM) was the fact that the Orediggers had four runners in the top 10 and five across the line before Adams State’s fourth. Leading the way was fourth-place multiple All-American Phil Schneider, followed by Mary Andrie in sixth and the duo of Derek Alcorn and Nathanael Williams in eighth and ninth.
No. 5 Western State, led by third-place Ian Butler and running without former National Athlete of the Week Kiefer Johnson, was a distant third with 97 points.
With little to their name but a disappointing showing at the Paul Short Run in early October, the No. 2 Adams State women redeemed themselves in a big way at RMACs, thrashing rival No. 4 Western State, 18-69. Lauren Martin (22:16.2) defended her RMAC title to lead an Adams 1-2-3 sweep with teammates Rachel Kresl and Jenna Thurman. Not far behind that trio were fifth-place Maura O’Brien and seventh-place Melissa Roberts to round out the scoring line-up, with another top-10 finish by Tayler Warren for good measure.
Western State packed up put all five of its scorers across the line in the span of seven positions, led by Amy Penn in 11th. Just 15 seconds separated Penn from 17th-place Sophie Seward.
Just 11 points separated third-place No. 11 UC-Colorado Springs with 122 points, Colorado Mesa with 127, Colorado Mines with 130 and former top-10 Metro State with 133.
Grand Valley State’s day at the GLIAC Championships couldn’t be summed up any better than this:
— Kyle Schwerin (@KleShreen) November 8, 2014
The two-time defending NCAA women’s champion Lakers won their 14th GLIAC title in a row by 40 points over No. 6 Hillsdale, 21-41, while the men dispatched No. 10 Malone and No. 20 Ashland, 33-67-68, for their 13th in a row.
Kendra Foley (20:31.8) led a 1-2-3-4 sweep for GVSU, followed by Allyson Winchester, Jessica Janecke and Hannah Osborn. Jordan Chester rounded out the scoring line-up in 11th.
Hillsdale had three runners of their own in the top 10 with fifth-place Emily Oren, sixth-place Kristina Galat and seventh-place Hannah McIntyre. The Chargers’ No. 4 and 5 came in 20th and 23rd.
In a conference meet with a nation-best six nationally ranked women’s teams, the he intrigue came from the rest of the standings. No. 18 Wayne State (Mich.) entered as the league’s fifth-highest ranked team but finished third with 79 points, ahead of fourth-place No. 10 Northern Michigan with 111, fifth-place No. 20 Saginaw Valley State with 135 and sixth-place No. 13 Malone with 142.
Next up for all these teams is the Great Lakes Regional on November 22, from which only four of these teams (plus several other contenders from other conferences) will qualify for NCAAs.
For the GVSU men, runner-up Alan Peterson paced four Lakers in the top 10, along with fourth-place Chris May, seventh-place Bradley Bryce and eighth-place Chad Cini.
The battle for second was the duel of the day, as No. 10 Malone edged No. 20 Ashland by just one point, 67-68. Ashland had the advantage up front with GLIAC champ Nick Hall and fifth-place Brian Baum (Malone’s Andrew Trusty was third and Ryan Roush sixth), but Malone’s Nos. 3-5 were just a bit better on this day.
No. 14 Hillsdale was fourth with 105 points.
While the top-ranked teams in both the aforementioned RMAC and GLIAC championships were able to escape unscathed, the No. 3 Minnesota Duluth women weren’t so fortunate at the NSIC Championships.
Technically, the Bulldogs defended their title, but this year it was split with No. 7 Augustana (S.D.) as both teams scored 48 points.
Though she didn’t get the individual win, third-place Augustana frosh Annie Kruse may be the meet MVP. Not only was she the Vikings’ No. 1, but she crossed the line .8 of a second ahead of Minnesota Duluth’s two-time National Athlete of the Week sophomore Samantha Rivard in a bit of vital positioning that helped clinch the co-title.
Another Augustana frosh, Leah Seivert, finished fifth overall, while senior Meritxell Delgado added some experience in ninth. A pair of underclassmen also comprised the remainder of UMD’s top-10 contingent with seventh-place Breanna Colbenson and eighth-place Emilee Trost.
All told, the two squads were evenly matched all the way down to their No. 7 runners, with no more than three spots separating their respective runners at positions one through seven.
No. 23 Winona State was third with 87 points, while No. 25 U-Mary edged out MSU Moorhead for the fourth spot, 112-116.
As close as the women’s race was, the men’s race was much the opposite. No. 9 Augustana, led by the debut of runner-up Harald Karbo, took down No. 12 Sioux Falls, 22-46, to win their sixth NSIC title in a row. Karbo was one of six runners in the top eight for the Vikings, finishing just ahead of teammates Adam Braun and TJ Gleason.
Sioux Falls got the individual win with Robert Brockmueller and two more top-10 finishers with fifth-place Matt Horan and ninth-place William Brockmueller.
MSU Moorhead edged out Minnesota State for third, 85-91.
One of the most intriguing races of the weekend was set to be the women’s race at the CCAA Championships between No. 5 Chico State and No. 9 UC San Diego. Chico State made sure it wasn’t, cruising to its seventh conference title in a row with 50 points, ahead of the 72 from Cal Poly Pomona, the 98 from Humboldt State and, eventually, the disappointing 120 from No. 9 UC San Diego.
The No. 1 and 2 runners for both Chico State and UC San Diego totaled 15 points, but Chico State would put five more runners across the line in the top 17 before the Tritons’ No. 3 came in at 27th.
Taking the individual win was Humboldt State’s Kori Gilley in 22:29.3 by more than six seconds over runner-up Lizette Huerta of Cal Poly Pomona. Cal Poly Pomona was actually had the top 1-2 punch with Huerta and fifth-place Marissa Nickles.
On the men’s side, No. 3 Chico State cruised with 29 points to their 13th title in a row, upstaging a fine 46-point performance in its own right by No. 21 Cal Poly Pomona. SF State was third with 101, edging out a disappointing 102-point performance from No. 13 UC San Diego.
Chico’s Alex McGuirk took the individual 8k win in 25:13.8 by three seconds over runner-up Mark Huizar of Cal Poly Pomona to lead five Wildcats in the top nine finishers. Huizar led three Cal Poly Pomona runners in the top six.
Elsewhere Around the Country
- PSAC Championships (MEN | WOMEN): The No. 8 Lock Haven men entered the meets as the highest ranked team, and that’s exactly how they left it. The Eagles scored 38 points behind four top-10 scorers to defeat No. 15 Shippensburg and No. 24 Edinboro, who put up 58 points and 86 points, respectively.
Dominating for the individual win was California (Pa.)’s Aaron Dinzeo, who crossed the line in 24:18.7 to win by nearly half a minute over Brayden Burleigh of Shippensburg.
No. 21 Edinboro won the women’s race, 52-71, over Bloomsburg. Bloomsburg had the advantage up front with race winner Lauren Lehman and fourth-place Kate Dodds, and was just one point of Edinboro through four runners (36-37), but Edinboro’s No. 5 was 16th to Bloomsburg’s in 34th.
- GLVC Championships (MEN | WOMEN ): Southern Indiana swept for the fourth year in a row as the No. 5 Screaming Eagle men won their ninth title in as many seasons. Johnnie Guy defended his individual title and teammate Tyler Pence was runner-up as USI put five in the top 11 to defeat No. 25 UW-Parkside, 30-52.
The women were dominant over Lewis, winning 41-85, behind third-place Julia Kohnen and five runners in the top 13. Bellarmine’s Emily Frith took the individual 6k win in 21:29.27. She has now won the conference two years in a row following runner-up sophomore and third-place freshman campaigns.
- Lone Star Conference (Full Results): The NSIC wasn’t the only conference duel that ended in a draw. No. 16 Midwestern State was given all it could handle in the LSC women’s race, tying West Texas A&M for the title (though winning the tiebreak) with 49 points. WTAMU was dominant through four runners with a 1-2-3 sweep behind winner Emma Love and put four in the top 10, but its No. 5 finished 36th to open the door for Midwestern State. The Mustangs were far more balanced with three in the top 10 behind fourth-place Gabriela Ruiz and a full nine runners across the line before WTAMU’s No. 5.
The No. 17 West Texas A&M men won their race easily, 28-81, over Eastern New Mexico.
- Northeast-10 Championships (Full Results): Based on the most recent National Coaches’ Poll, the men’s race should have been a close showdown between No. 18 American International, No. 22 Franklin Pierce and defending champ Stonehill. It was nothing of the sort.
AIC proved it was more than just now-three-time NE-10 Champ Mike Biwott (who won today’s race by more than a minute-and-a-half) as the Yellow Jackets put six runners in the top eight to score 19 points to Stonehill’s 52 and Franklin Pierce’s 124. Biwott led a 1-2-3 sweep with Conor Cashin and John Chirchir.
- Sunshine State Conference Championships (Full Results): The nation’s second-longest streak of consecutive women’s conference titles came to an end by the narrowest of margins. Tampa, winner of seven Sunshine State Conference titles in a row, was edged out by one point this year by Saint Leo, 36-37. Youth was the key to Saint Leo’s win as frosh Colett Rampf took the win in 22:20.2 along with sophomore Jelena Tancic in third and fourth-place frosh Kari Grippo.
Tampa had runner-up Chantell Blundell and a pair of other top-seven finishers, and two more in 11th and 12th. Saint Leo’s Nos. 4 and 5 were 13th and 15th, but its top three just barely made up for it.
Tampa had been No. 1 in the South Region and Saint Leo had been No. 3. The two will square off again November 22 with NCAA Championships bids on the line.
- South Atlantic Conference (Full Results): Division II cross country’s longest active conference championship streak stayed intact Saturday as the Mars Hill men won their 18th SAC title in a row. Mars Hill scored 27 points behind five top-10 finishers (including runner-up Alex Griggs and third-place David Jones) to defeat Queens (N.C.) and two-time reigning winner Felix Duchampt with 41.