Weekend Preview: NCAA DII Conference Championships Weekend & Much More!
It’s full steam ahead for the fall cross country season!
We’re going to see three conference championships at the NCAA Division II level – GLVC, G-MAC and RMAC – and arguably the biggest meet of the season so far for those in the NAIA. Plus, there is going to be a scintillating individual matchup at the Wartburg Triangular in the women’s race.
Let’s go ahead and check out those meets that will headline the weekend.
NCAA Division II Conference Championships
There are three conference championships happening this weekend at the NCAA Division II level.
RMAC Cross Country Championships
Date: Saturday, October 24 | Location: Monument Valley Park (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Times: Men’s 8K – 9:30 am MT | Women’s 6K – 10:15 am MT
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE RMAC CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
It truly is anybody’s guess as to what to expect at the RMAC Cross Country Championships this weekend at Monument Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but you can bank on the fact that Adams State and Colorado School of Mines will be in the mix for the men’s team title, while the women’s teams will try to keep pace with Adams State.
Starting on the men’s side, Adams State and Colorado Mines have alternated standing on top of the podium in each of the past three years. The Orediggers captured the conference title in 2017 and 2019, while the Grizzlies snagged the crown in 2018. Colorado Mines returns six of its top-7 runners from last year, while Adams State welcomes back four. Western Colorado, which last won the conference title in 2013, probably has the most formidable one-two punch at the top of its lineup with 2019 runner-up Taylor Stack and 2019 third-place finisher Charlie Sweeney holding it down.
If there is ever a year to dethrone eight-time defending champion Adams State it’s 2020. The Grizzlies replaced four of its top-5 runners. Don’t worry about Damon Martin’s squad, though: 2019 individual champion Stephanie Cotter isn’t one of those and it recently saw the rise of Brianna Robles, who was named National Athlete of the Week earlier this season. Colorado Mines was a distant runner-up to Adams State last year, while Western Colorado finished a clear third. The Mountaineers were the last team not nicknamed the Grizzlies to win a conference title, way back in 2011 when they were ranked No. 1 in the National Coaches’ Poll entering the meet.
The Men’s 8K goes off at 9:30 am MT with the Women’s 6K following 45 minutes later.
GLVC Cross Country Championships
Date: Saturday, October 24 | Location: Principia College North Farm Course (Elsah, Illinois)
Times: Men’s 8K – 2:45 pm CT | Women’s 6K – 4:15 pm CT
The GLVC took a unique approach to their championship in 2020.
Gone – at least for now – are championship races with 15 teams on each starting line.
Here – at least for now – are 15 teams split between two races. One race per gender of eight teams is for the conference championship, while the other (with seven teams) is consolation.
Men’s teams from Drury, Illinois Springfield, Indianapolis, Lewis, Lindenwood, Missouri S&T, Southern Indiana and Southwest Baptist and women’s teams from Drury, Illinois Springfield, Indianapolis, Lewis, Lindenwood, Southern Indiana, Southwest Baptist and Truman State all earned their spots in the championship race by virtue of their top-4 performances at their respective divisional races two weeks ago.
Lindenwood’s men and Southwest Baptist’s women captured team titles at the GLVC West Divisional, while Lewis’ men and Southern Indiana’s women earned titles in the GLVC East Divisional. The GLVC West Divisional was contested on the same course as the championship.
Speaking of Southern Indiana, that program has been quite a stalwart in the GLVC over the years. Dating back to 1979 for the men and 1984 for the women, the Eagles have captured a total of 40 conference titles (27 for the men, 13 for the women). If you keep it more current, USI went 2 for 2 at the conference meet in eight of the past 10 years.
Championship racing starts at 2:45 pm CT with the Men’s 8K, while the Women’s 6K goes off at 4:15 pm CT. The “B” races are mixed between.
Great Midwest Cross Country Championships
Date: Saturday, October 24 | Location: Seneca Hills Golf Course (Tiffin, Ohio)
Times: Women’s 6K – 9:30 am ET | Men’s 8K – 10:15 am ET
Intra-conference competition has been the rage this year.
That has given us a great look at what we could expect at the Great Midwest Conference Cross Country Championships this weekend at Seneca Hills Golf Course in Tiffin, Ohio.
Not too long ago, six men’s teams and six women’s teams from the conference competed on the same course during the Tiffelberg Invitational – G-MAC Preview. Hillsdale swept the team titles – and while the women looked to be their normal dominant selves (18 points), the men held off a strong challenge from defending champion Walsh (47-50).
It should be a great race for the men’s team title between Hillsdale and Walsh, among others. It was at the Tiffelberg Invitational where Adam Wier and Mark Miller went 1-2 for the Chargers and staked them to a lead they would never relinquish. The Cavaliers made it close thanks to a team-oriented finish with three men in the top-8 (3-6-8) and five in the top-18 (3-6-8-15-18). Walsh did cruise to a pair of team titles earlier in the season, though, sweeping the proceedings at the Cedarville Open and putting up 22 points at the Hillsdale Invitational, toppling the host in the process.
The Women’s 6K kicks things off at 9:30 am ET, followed by the Men’s 8K 45 minutes later.
Midwest XC Challenge
Date: Saturday, October 24 | Location: TUXC Farm (Upland, Indiana)
Time: Women’s 6K – Noon CT | Men’s 8K – 1 pm CT
One of the biggest meets of the NAIA fall season takes place this weekend.
Taylor (Ind.), home of the top-ranked men and the second-ranked women in the NAIA Cross Country National Coaches’ Polls, welcomes a grand total of 14 ranked teams – plus two teams that received votes – to the TUXC Farm for the Midwest XC Challenge.
The women’s race has four top-10 programs vying for the team title – No. 2 Taylor (Ind.), No. 4 St. Francis (Ill.), No. 7 Huntington (Ind.) and No. 10 Indiana Wesleyan. Not too far outside the top-10 sits No. 13 Cornerstone (Mich.), while No. 22 St. Francis and No. 23 Olivet Nazarene are also in the top-25.
You’ll see three top-10 programs in the men’s race, headlined by the top-ranked Trojans. Others include No. 6 Huntington (Ind.) and No. 9 Indiana Wesleyan. Four other programs reside from No. 15 to No. 25: No. 15 Olivet Nazarene, No. 18 Goshen (Iowa), No. 20 Cornerstone (Mich.) and No. 25 William Carey.
Battles for the individual titles should be great as well, especially on the men’s side with three former NAIA National Athletes of the Week in the mix: Two-time honoree Landon Miller of Indiana Wesleyan, Adrien Gentie of Huntington (Ind.) and Jacob Kipkogei of William Carey. Two-time honoree Emma Wilson of Huntington (Ind.) is the only National Athlete of the Week entered in the women’s race.
The Women’s 6K goes off at noon CT with the Men’s 8K following one hour later.
Date: Saturday, October 24 | Location: Max Cross Country Course (Waverly, Iowa)
Times: Racing is scheduled to begin at 12:45 pm CT
Wartburg hosts Buena Vista and Loras on Saturday.
Keep an eye on the individual battle in the women’s race between former National Athletes of the Week Aubrie Fisher of Wartburg and Kassie Rosenbum of Loras. Both athletes have looked quite strong so far this season, but no one has been able to match Rosenbum yet. Rosenbum is 3-0 this fall with an average margin of victory of TWO MINUTES. Don’t forget about defending A-R-C champion Carina Collet of Wartburg, either: She beat Rosenbum by nine seconds at the A-R-C Championships.
The men’s race will be headlined by two-time National Athlete of the Week Joe Freiburger of Wartburg. Freiburger, the defending A-R-C champion, is undefeated this fall and most recently set a course record on the same course that they’ll be running on Saturday.
This is the final tune-up before the A-R-C Championships in two weeks.