Weekend Recap: Notre Dame, Washington, Louisville & Princeton
Men’s Race: No. 19 Indiana Bounces Back in a Big Way
PRINCETON, N.J. – Don’t worry about No. 19 Indiana, folks. The Hoosiers are just fine.
Indiana brushed off a third-place finish at last month’s Indiana Intercollegiate Championships to crush the field at Saturday’s Princeton Inter-Regional Meet. The Hoosiers scored 47 points to beat Princeton (70) and Columbia (84).
The other ranked teams in the field – No. 24 Providence and No. 29 North Carolina – didn’t have their best race. The Friars finished a disappointing fifth, while the Tar Heels were even farther back in seventh.
Duke’s Shaun Thompson ran away with the individual title, covering the 8K course in 23:34.9. At one point in the race, Thompson led by more than 45 seconds.
While no runners from Indiana were in the top-3, the Hoosiers put all five in the top-15. Sophomore Kyle Duvall paced Indiana with a fourth-place finish in 24:11.1, senior Rorey Hunter finished three seconds behind in seventh (24:14.4) and junior Jason Crist took ninth ( 24:16.0). Senior Owen Skeete (13th, 24:20.1) and sophomore Jeremy Coughler (14th, 24:21.4) rounded out the Hoosiers’ scoring punch. The Hoosiers ran without lst year’s top NCAA finisher Matthew Schwartzer.
Providence sophomore Tom O’Neill finished fifth, but was the only Friar in the top-20. North Carolina junior Stephen Mulherin, who took 10th, was one of two Tar Heels in the top-20 (junior Mark Derrick was 17th).
The host Tigers, led by freshman Steven Sum, and Loins, paced by third-place finisher senior Tait Rutherford, surprised the field. Virginia Tech, a team that received votes in the latest poll, saw senior Thomas Curtain earn runner-up honors (24:05.6).
Women’s 6K: #28 Princeton Defends Home Turf in upset of UNC, Nova and William & Mary
PRINCETON, NJ – The No. 28 Princeton women came through big for the team title at their home Inter-Regional Meet against a trio of nationally ranked squads and top-30 hopefuls.
After a slow start, the Tigers rallied to take the team lead with just a kilometer left in the 6K competition and never relinquished it en route to a win over No. 21 North Carolina, 80-90.
The Tigers, led by third-place Elizabeth Bird, put three finishers inside the top seven runners across the line and another inside the top 20 to survive a 46-point showing from their No. 5 woman.
North Carolina, running without two of its top runners in Lizzy Whelan and Karley Rempel, were led by Josette Norris with an eighth-place showing.
Vote-receiving Columbia was third with 108 points, followed by No. 25 Villanova at 116, unranked Indiana at 119 and the field’s top-ranked team No. 18 William & Mary with 129.
William & Mary was strong up front with Regan Rome and Emily Stites sweeping the top two spots, but their No. 4 and No. 5 runners finished 59th and 60th, overall.
Columbia went from fifth to third over the final kilometer with no top-10 finishers, but 12th-place Natalie Tanner led a top five that had a 32-second spread from 1-5, the best of any of the top six teams.
Men’s Gold Race: No. 8 Iona Shines; Michigan’s Ferlic Wins Individual Title
LOUISVILLE, KY – Iona dazzled in its debut Saturday morning.
The eighth-ranked Gaels put four runners in the top-15 – its fifth was right outside – and won the team title over No. 10 Michigan at the Greater Louisville Classic. Iona scored 51 points to the Wolverines’ 67.
No. 4 Wisconsin entered the meet as the highest-ranked team in the field, but appeared to treat the race like a workout and finished seventh. It should be noted that the top four runners for the Badgers finished within a second of each other.
Michigan senior Mason Ferlic did his part to help the Wolverines’ cause, as he gave them the all-important single point. Ferlic won the men’s individual title with a time of 23:51.52, four seconds ahead of runner-up Edwin Kibichiy of Louisville.
Most of the race was a tactical affair with the top-ranked teams – the Gales, the Wolverines, No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 13 Ole Miss – jostling for position. The host Cardinals, who received votes in the latest National Coaches’ Poll and finished third in the team standings on Saturday, also fought their way into the lead pack behind Kibichiy and teammate Japhet Kipkoech.
Once the race hit 6K, two things were clear – it would be tough to beat Iona and either Gerlic or Kibichiy would win the individual crown. Ultimately Iona and Gerlic were strongest down the stretch – and more importantly, over the entire distance of the 8K course.
Sophomore Chartt Miller paced the Gaels with a third-place finish in 23:55.82. Junior Kieran Clements (seventh, 24:02.12), sophomore Johann Motschmann (11th, 24:14.81), senior Gilbert Kirui (14th, 24:20.26) and senior Mike O’Dowd (16th, 24:20.92) rounded out the scoring lineup for champion Iona.
Finishing fourth individually was Ole Miss junior MJ Erb, who transferred into the program after earning XC All-American honors at Syracuse last year. Erb was joined in the top-10 by teammate Sean Tobin (ninth, 24:10.26) and the duo helped the Rebels to a fourth-place team result.
Johnnie Guy, a Division II All-American from Southern Indiana, took eighth overall.
Women’s Gold Race: No. 8 Michigan Continues its Resurgence with Team Title over Strong Field
LOUISVILLE, KY – After injuries derailed their NCAA title chances a year ago, the No. 8 Michigan women are letting it be known that they are firmly back in the podium hunt in 2015.
Erin Finn and Shannon Osika – both of whom sat injured on the sidelines during the 2014 postseason – were the decisive first-and second-place finishers at Saturday morning’s Greater Louisville Classic as the Wolverines rolled a somehwat shorthanded No. 6 Iowa State for the Gold Division team title, 42-77.
No. 19 Penn State was third with 112 points, followed by No. 23 Minnesota at 126, vote-receiving Lipscomb at 195, unranked Mississippi at 231 and No. 11 Wisconsin at 269.
Michigan’s top seven all finished inside the top 25 overall, led by Finn in 16:48, Osika two seconds later and eighth-place Gina Sereno. Finn and Osika were more than 13 seconds clear of the rest of the field.
Iowa State debuted many of its “A” squad runners for the first time this year, led by Perez Rotich in fourth-place overall to kick off her 2015 season. Her showing is an excellent sign for the Cyclones, as she debuted a year ago with a 42nd-place showing at Roy Griak before ultimately finishing 65th at NCAAs.
Becky Straw and Erin Hooker were 12th and 13th for the Cyclones, who did not run All-American Bethanie Brown. Add in a healthy Brown and the race becomes much more competitive between ISU and U of M.
Elizabeth Chikotas was sixth overall for third-place Penn State, followed by 11th-place Jillian Hunsberger.
No. 23 Minnesota ran strong as a pack with only a 20 second spread from 14th-place Liz Berkholtz through its No. 5 runner in 39th-place.
Unlike the Badger men, the Wisconsin women did not pack up but ran without Sarah Disanza, Emma-Lisa Murphy and Molly Hanson – all of whom finished top-five at this meet a year ago.
Notably, No. 13 West Virginia was scheduled to race in the Gold Division but ultimately raced in the Blue. The Mountaineers won with 32 points as they took six of the top 14 spots without top returner Jillian Forsey (14th at NCAAs a year ago). Maggie Drazba was second overall, albeit distantly, behind Tennessee’s Chelsea Blaase.
At the NCAA Division II level, No. 1 Hillsdale asserted its position atop the National Coaches’ Polls with a ninth-place finish at 283 points, well ahead of three-time defending national champ No. 3 Grand Valley State with 357. Emily Oren was fifth overall for the Chargers, while Gina Patterson was ninth for GVSU. The Lakers once again ran without NCAA champ Kendra Foley.
Women’s Race: Cuffe Wins Return; No. 5 Oregon Tops No. 4 Stanford
SEATTLE – Welcome back, Aisling Cuffe.
The 2013 All-American from Stanford showed she hadn’t missed a beat after taking a full year off from NCAA competition by winning Friday afternoon’s Washington Invitational. Running without teammate and 2014 All-American Elise Cranny, who sat out, Cuffe held off a flock of Oregon Ducks down the stretch and won by four seconds.
Cuffe crossed the finish line in 19:41 and was one of six runners who broke 20 minutes on the fast tract. With Cranny out, however, Cuffe ran alone up front and was the only runner wearing a Stanford singlet in the top-6 (Vanessa Fraser finished 10th).
Even with 2014 Washington Invitational champion Cranny in the mix, it might not have made a difference in the team standings because No. 5 Oregon fired on all cylinders. The Ducks, led by sophomore Alli Cash’s runner-up finish (19:44.6), packed the top-10 with three runners and won the team title going away. Oregon scored 36 points, trumping No. 15 Washington (59) and the fourth-ranked Cardinal (60).
Outside of Cash, junior Maggie Schmaedick (fourth, 19:50.2) and senior Waverly Neer (sixth, 19:56.8) ran well. Sophmore Frida Berge (11th, 20:09.3) and senior Molly Grabill (13th, 20:11.2) rounded out the Ducks’ scoring lineup.
The Huskies were a surprise second and finished high up in the team standings thanks to senior Maddie Meyers and freshman Charlotte Prouse. Meyers matched her place from last year (third), but bettered her time by 30 seconds (19:49.7). Prouse, who fell just short of breaking 20 minutes (20:00.5), ran well for the second consecutive meet.
Rounding out the top-10 individually were Air Force junior Hannah Everson and two runners from No. 23 BYU – junior Natalie Shields-Connolly and senior Carrie Jube. Everson, a former National Athlete of the Week earlier this season, finished fifth in 19:50.2. Shields-Connolly and Jube were eighth and ninth, respectively.
Most of these teams, notably Oregon and Stanford, will see each other again in two weeks at Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky.
Men’s Race: Cheserek Wins Individual Title; Oregon Tops Stanford in Shorthanded Duel
SEATTLE – Though neither the No. 2 Stanford men or No. 5 Oregon showed all their cards at Friday’s Washington Invitational, they revealed just enough to tease what should be a great back-and-forth rivalry this postseason.
Led by individual winner Edward Cheserek – the two-time defending national champion – Oregon took over in the final 3K of the 8K race to seize a 52-69 victory over the Cardinal. They’ll see each other again at Pac-12s in late October, and November’s West Regional and NCAA Championships.
No. 12 BYU narrowly missed that runner-up spot with 70 points, while No. 11 UCLA was back in fourth with 117. Unranked Air Force came through in fifth with 136 points, just ahead of a pair of national vote-receiving teams in sixth-place Washington (146) and seventh-place Portland (174).
Cheserek pulled away late for the win in 23:15.4, topping Stanford’s Jim Rosa by five seconds. The two were part of a five-man breakaway with just over a kilometer to go.
Both Cheserek and Rosa led squads that haven’t yet reached their final form. Though Oregon got strong collegiate debuts from Matthew Maton (8th) and Tanner Anderson (12th), they ran without potential scorers Jake Leingang, Jeramy Elkaim and Blake Haney. Stanford ran without a trio of potential top-20 NCAA finishers in Sean McGorty, Jim Rosa, and Grant Fisher.
Jim Rosa has yet to debut after redshirting last season with injury. The Cardinal should be encouraged by the performance of sophomore Jack Keelan, though, who was fourth overall after finishing 100th at NCAAs a year ago. Also top-10 for Stanford was seventh-place Garrett Sweatt, who was 68th at NCAAs a year ago.
BYU was by far the deepest team with three top-10 finishers and nine of the top 30 men across the line. The Cougars were led by Aaron Fletcher in sixth overall.
After leading early, UCLA dropped back in the pack once the pace picked up in the closing kilometers. Lane Werley was third overall for the Bruins in his 2015 debut.
Impressing for fifth-place Air Force was Patrick Corona, who was an 89th place finisher at NCAAs two seasons ago.
Sixth- and seventh-place showings for Washington and Portland won’t help get them back into the National Coaches’ Poll to-30, but both can take some solace in the fact that they, too, didn’t run their full top squads. Washington ran without Colby Gilbert, while Portland sat out Danny Martinez and Chris Enriquez.
Women’s Blue Race: No. 1 New Mexico Dominates; Freshman Frazier Shines
SOUTH BEND, IN – North Carolina State freshman Ryen Frazier and the New Mexico Lobos put the rest of Division I on notice Friday afternoon.
During a windy day at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, Frazier proved to be the strongest runner in a very deep field and New Mexico showed why it was the unanimous No. 1 team this week despite not having raced yet this season.
From start to finish, the Lobos’ Formidable Four of junior Rhona Auckland, senior Courtney Frerichs, senior Calli Thackery and sophomore Alice Wright ran as a pack at the front of the pack. At the first mile, Aukland, Wright and Frerichs were 1-2-3 with Frazier and Notre Dame senior Molly Seidel close behind.
Then with 1K to go, Frazier took a slim lead and never relinquished it. Frazier covered the final kilometer in 3:07 and crossed the finish line in 16:22.9, five seconds ahead of 2013 Gold Race champion Frerichs and six seconds ahead of both 2014 NCAA 10K champ Seidel and Auckland, a top-20 finisher at the World XC Championships.
This was Frazier’s second consecutive win. Two weeks ago Frazier set a course record at the adidas XC Challenge when she covered that flat tract in 16:06.5.
It should go without mention that New Mexico ran away with the team title. The Lobos got stronger as the day wore on; having scored 61 points at the mile mark then dropped that down to 29 by race’s end. New Mexico’s 29 points were the second fewest scored by a women’s team champion in the past six years (Florida State tallied 28 in 2012).
Finishing behind the Lobos in the team standings were No. 14 NC State (74), No. 20 Notre Dame (143), No. 22 Vanderbilt (150) and unranked Utah (164). Purdue and SMU, two teams who received votes in the latest national poll, finished sixth and 13th.
A pair of top-10 runners buoyed the host Irish – Seidel (third, 16:28.3) and freshman Anna Rohrer (eighth, 16:46.8). The Utes also had two in the top-10 – sophomores Sarah Feeny (seventh, 16:44.0) and Hannah McInturff (ninth, 16:49.5). Rounding out the top-10 was Frazier’s teammate Erika Kemp (16:49.8).
Men’s Blue Race: UTEP Men Establish Themselves as NCAA Threats
SOUTH BEND, IN – It came as a something of a surprise last year when the UTEP men advanced to the NCAA Championships with a sixth-place finish in the deep and powerful Mountain Region. Even this year, the Miners had done no better in the USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Polls than receiving votes.
After a team victory Friday at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, there will be no more sneaking up on anybody for the Miners.
In a race that was up for grabs with no team ranked higher than No. 17 in the National Coaches’ Polls, UTEP bolted out to the front of the pack early and hung on late for an 89-97 victory over No. 27 NC State.
If not for a hard-charging Matthew McClintock of Purdue snagging the runner-up spot at the line, UTEP would have gone 1-2 individually with winner Anthony Rotich (three-time XC All-American, three-time NCAA steeple champ) and third-place newcomer Jonah Koech.
Rotich crossed the line in 23:49.1, just ahead of McClintock and Koech in 23:49.5.
Rotich and Koech were part of a pack of five Miners who immediately went to the lead and hung on as long as they could. UTEP was 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th and 12th at the one mile split and had ratcheted that down even further at 4K in 2-3-4-5-9.
The second half of the race took a pickaxe to the Miners’ pack with the final three scorers in 14th, 29th and 42nd, but that second half is where NC State thrived.
Sitting in third at 4K with 149 points, Meron Simon (Washington transfer) moved up to fourth by the race’s end, while teammates Sebastian Hanson and George Parsons moved up from the teens at 4K to eighth and ninth overall.
In fact, NC State’s top four all finished top-13, though a fifth-man score of 63 bogged down the final team tally. Notably, the Pack was running without projected scorer Graham Crawford.
No. 26 Colorado State finished third with 126 points, followed by No. 23 Southern Utah in fourth with 134, unranked Purdue in fifth at 169, vote-receiving Eastern Michigan in sixth at 190, unranked Texas A&M in seventh at 218, and unranked Navy in eighth at 225.
Disappointingly, the two top-ranked teams entering the meet – No. 17 New Mexico and No. 18 Arizona State – finished ninth and 19th, respectively.
Individually, fifth-place Hayden Hawks (Southern Utah), sixth-place Jefferson Abbey (Colorado State), seventh-place Cameron Villareal (Texas A&M), eighth-place Hanson and ninth-place Parsons (NC State), and 10th-place John Mascari (Indiana State) rounded out the top 10. Notably, Mascari was a racetime decision to compete after dealing with a minor ankle injury of late.