2019 NCAA DIII Cross Country Regional Rankings – Preseason
NEW ORLEANS – Every year 16 men’s teams and 16 women’s teams automatically qualify for the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships by finishing in the top-2 at their respective regional meets the week before nationals.
Want an idea of what could happen come Saturday, November 16? You’re in luck.
Here are the first NCAA Division III Cross Country Regional Rankings of the 2019 season, which were released on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Twenty-five of those 32 teams that punched automatic tickets to NCAAs last year are expected to make a return trip in 2019 when the meet is held at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky for the first time since 2016.
SUNY Geneseo begins the 2019 season as the top-ranked team in the Atlantic Region for the third time in the past four years. The Knights return each of the top-5 athletes from a team that finished runner-up regionally in 2018, including individual runner-up Sean McAneny and eighth-place finisher Bradley Farham, among others.
RPI sits No. 2 and must rebuild the top of its lineup after graduating regional champion Grant O’Connor and fourth-place finisher Sean O’Connor. The Engineers return fifth-place finisher Noah Falasco, seventh-place finisher Joe Domanico and ninth-place finisher Jacob Davis. This is the second time in the past three years that RPI opens the season at No. 2.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by SUNY Brockport, SUNY Oneonta and Ithaca.
For the first time in our recorded history, Wartburg is the preseason No. 1 in the Central Region. The Knights steamrolled to the regional title last year thanks to four athletes who finished in the top-15. Guess what: They’re all back for more in 2019. Wartburg will be led by Sam Pinkowski and Joe Freiburger, who finished third and fifth at the 2018 regional meet.
Depth is not going to be a problem for second-ranked Carleton. The Knights, who are ranked in the top-2 for the third time in the past five years, return six athletes from a team that finished runner-up at the regional meet last year. Carleton’s Lucas Mueller is the top returning finisher in the region from 2018, as he was runner-up last November.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by St. Olaf, St. Thomas (Minn.) and Loras.
Great Lakes Region
For the third year in a row, Calvin is the No. 1 team in the Great Lakes Region to begin the season. The Knights won the regional title last year and return six of those seven runners who helped them capture that crown, including the top-4 athletes. Calvin will be led by Addison Smith, who finished third overall last year. Tyler Johnson also finished in the top-10.
Otterbein holds its best preseason rank in program history as it comes into the season at No. 2. The Cardinals finished runner-up in the region last year and were ranked in the top-5 all season long. Otterbein is going to be an upperclassmen-heavy team with seniors Max Hoffman and Chase Hampton leading the way.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by Case Western Reserve, DePauw and John Carroll.
Carnegie Mellon is the preseason favorite in the Mideast Region for the first time since doing so in back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016. The Tartans showcased its depth at the regional meet last year with six runners in the top-35 and four of those runners are back to prove that it wasn’t a fluke. Carnegie Mellon is looking for big things from Michael Obroin and Josh Kalapos, who finished 10th and 11th at the regional meet in 2018.
Johns Hopkins is No. 2 to begin the season for the first time in our recorded history. The Blue Jays finished third at the regional meet last year and return four of those athletes, including top-20 finishers Jared Pangallozzi and Andrew King.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by Haverford, Elizabethtown and Dickinson.
For the ninth season in a row, North Central (Ill.) is ranked No. 1 to begin the season in the Midwest Region. It’s hard to doubt the Cardinals, who won 10 regional titles since 2008 (They finished runner-up in 2015). This year could be tough for North Central (Ill.) as it lost six of the seven athletes that competed at the regional meet last year (Matt Osmulski, who finished ninth overall, is the only returner).
Washington (Mo.) is ranked No. 2 to begin the season for the first since 2011. The Bears lost a few athletes to graduation, but will return 14th place finisher Nick Matteucci. If Wash U is able to finish where it’s projected, it would be the first time that it finished runner-up at the regional meet since 2013.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by UW-La Crosse, U of Chicago and UW-Stevens Point.
New England Region
For the third time in the past four years and the fifth time since 2011, Williams is the top-ranked team in the New England Region to begin the season. The Ephs return all seven runners from a team that finished second regionally and eighth nationally. Big things are expected out of Ryan Cox and Aidan Ryan this year.
MIT is the preseason No. 2 for the sixth year in a row. The Engineers return a strong number of their athletes, including Andrew Mah who was 13th in the region last year as a freshman. MIT is also expected to be buoyed by a strong freshman class that could pay dividends if it’s an easy transition to 8K from the 2 mile and 5K.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by Amherst, Bates and Middlebury.
For the first time in program history, Berea (Ky.) is ranked No. 1 in the South/Southeast Region. The Mountaineers finished 24th at NCAAs last year and return four athletes from that lineup, including 2018 individual regional champ Logan McKenzie. All three of the top-3 returning athletes for Berea own PRs of sub-15:05 for 5000 meters.
Emory begins the season ranked No. 2 as it returns three of its top-5 from a runner-up team at the regional meet last year. The Eagles will be led by Jack Whetstone, who clocked PRs of 14:57.88 (5000) and 32:27.54 (10,000) on the track during the 2019 outdoor season.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by Washington and Lee, Rhodes and Lynchburg.
For the fourth year in a row and the fifth time in the past six years, Pomona-Pitzer is ranked No. 1 to begin the season in the West Region. The Sagehens are coming off a year in which they notched back-to-back regional titles. Pomona-Pitzer only loses two of its top-7 runners from that team, though it does include regional champ Andy Reischling. Adin Becker and Dante Pazkeicz are the leading returners as they both finished in the top-20.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is ranked No. 2 in the preseason for the first time since 2016. The Stags return six of their top-7 runners from last year’s regional team that tied the Sagehens on points, but lost the tiebreaker. Four of those six runners were freshmen, so you can only imagine what an extra year of experience under their belt can do.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by UC-Santa Cruz, Occidental and Redlands.
For the sixth year in a row, SUNY Geneseo is No. 1 in the Atlantic Region to begin the season. The Knights graduated four of their top-7 runners, but return a talented bunch that includes Genny Corcoran and Taylor Retigg. Corcoran finished 20th last year at NCAAs and fourth in the outdoor 10,000, while Retigg improved her 5000-meter PR to 17:14.89.
RPI sits second to open the season and returns six of the seven athletes that helped it to a runner-up finish at the regional meet one year ago. The Engineers have a solid 1-2 at the top of their lineup with seniors Andrea Squeri and Autumn Grim. Look out for Maggie Bond, too, as she improved her track times to 9:55.97 over 3000 meters and 17:06.62 over 5000.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by Rochester (N.Y.), Saint Lawrence and TCNJ.
For the second year in a row and the fourth time since 2014, Carleton begins the season No. 1 in the Central Region. The Knights return five of their top-6 runners from last year’s team that won the regional title, including two of the top-3 (Emma Greenlee and Amanda Mosberg). Carleton also added a strong batch of freshmen through its 2019 recruiting class.
Wartburg starts the season ranked No. 2, which is just the third time in the past six years that it has been in the top-2. The Knights return a number of athletes from a team that finished third at the regional meet, but none more important than 2018 regional champ Carina Collet.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by St. Thomas (Minn.), St. Olaf and Gustavus Adolphus.
Great Lakes Region
Baldwin Wallace returns six of the seven athletes that helped it to a regional title last year and for that reason, the program sits No. 1 in the Great Lakes Region to begin the season. It has been quite the rise for the Yellow Jackets, who are No. 1 for the first time in program history. Baldwin Wallace finished 29th at the regional meet in 2014, improved to 11th by 2017 and then surprised everybody when they took the crown last year.
Oberlin opens the season ranked No. 2 in the Great Lakes Region for the second time in the past three years. The Yeowomen finished third at the regional meet last year and return five of those seven athletes, including Marija Crook who finished 11th overall. Oberlin is expected to have some breakthrough performances this year by its underclassmen as well.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by Hope, Otterbein and John Carroll.
The road to the team title in the Mideast Region goes through Johns Hopkins, just as it has each and every week dating back to the 2010 season. The Blue Jays have won each of the past 11 regional titles and 2019 is expected to be no different. Johns Hopkins returns three of its top-5 runners from last year’s regional team, including individual runner-up Sam Levy and fifth-place finisher Therese Olshanski.
Dickinson enters the season ranked No. 1 thanks to returning all seven runners from its regional team last year. The Red Devils will be led by Sarah House, Emma Johnston and Isabel Cardi, all of whom finished inside the top-10 in 2018. This is the 20th time in the past four years that Dickinson has been ranked No. 2 in the region.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by Carnegie Mellon, Haverford and Messiah.
Washington (Mo.) is the top-ranked team in the Midwest Region to begin the season, which is the 37th time it has headlined the index since the 2014 season. The Bears won the regional title last year and welcome back four of the top-7 athletes that helped them eventually win the NCAA crown as well. Rising seniors Paige Lawler and Sophie Watterson are expected to lead the charge for Wash U in 2019.
UW-Eau Claire is ranked No. 2 to begin the season for the fourth time since 2011. The Blugolds finished runner-up at the regional meet last year and then earned a podium spot the following week at NCAAs. UW-Eau Claire returns a number of athletes from that squad, including Sam Slattery and Lexie Tremble, who both finished in the top-15 regionally.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by U of Chicago, UW-La Crosse and Wheaton (Ill.).
New England Region
For the first time since 2016 and just the third time since 2010, Williams is the preseason favorite in the New England Region. The Ephs, who finished third at the regional meet last year, return six of the seven athletes who competed on that team including top-20 finishers Emma Hermann (13th) and Audrey Rustad (20th).
MIT, last year’s regional champion, begins the season ranked No. 2. This is the first time in the past three years that the Engineers haven’t topped the index. MIT returns four top-35 finishers from last year’s regional meet, including Jenna Melanson (10th) and Katie Collins (12th).
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by Tufts, Middlebury and Wesleyan (Conn.).
For the eighth time in the past nine years and the sixth year in a row, Emory is the top-ranked team to begin the season in the South/Southeast Region. The Eagles return four All-Region athletes from 2018, including Carrie McIntyre and Susie Martin who both finished in the top-20. McIntyre improved her PR in the 5000 to 17:46.75 during the outdoor season.
Centre is ranked No. 2 at the start of the season and must find a way to replace their star Annie Rodenfels. The Colonels had two other athletes finish in the top-25 of the regional meet last year – Courtney Gibson (18th) and Hallie Searcy (22nd) – and they both return.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by Washington and Lee, Trinity (Texas) and Berry.
Pomona-Pitzer is ranked No. 1 in the West Region to begin the season for the first time in program history. The Sagehens return one of the strongest 1-2 combinations in any region with Helen Guo (2018 regional champ) and Lila Cardillo (third place) leading the way. Look out for Lauren Hamilton as well, who qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 this past May.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps enters the season ranked No. 2 after losing a few key pieces from last year’s regional championship team. The Athenas do return three of their top-5 athletes, including last year’s eighth-place finisher Abby Johnson. Dulcie Jones and Riley Harmon should continue to hit their stride as they are now a junior and sophomore.
The preseason top-5 is rounded out by UC-Santa Cruz, Whitworth and Redlands.