2020 NCAA DI Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Week 2
NEW ORLEANS – An abbreviated Conference Championships Weekend shook up the most recent NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll, released on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
No. 1 Northern Arizona, No. 2 BYU and No. 3 Arkansas still hold down the top-3 spots – but behind them sits No. 4 Notre Dame, with Stanford and Tulsa in a tie for No. 5.
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Neither the Lumberjacks nor the Cougars competed this past weekend, which left the door open for the Irish and the Razorbacks to impress the electorate at their respective championships.
Arkansas had to work a bit for its first conference title since 2017 this past weekend. Ole Miss went 1-2-3 for a massive early lead, but the Razorbacks stormed back as they took spots 5-6-7-8-9 to win 35-59 (The Rebels next two finishers were at 24th and 33rd). Amon Kemboi and Luke Meade led the way for Arkansas with Jacob McLeod not too far behind that duo.
Notre Dame jumped two spots from Week 1 to match its best ranking since 2001. The now fourth-ranked Irish dominated the proceedings at the ACC Championships, where they totaled 40 points (1-3-7-11-18) and beat three other nationally-ranked programs. Yared Nuguse paced Notre Dame with the program’s first individual title in meet history, while Dylan Jacobs and Danny Kilrea also finished in the top-10.
Tulsa tagged along with Notre Dame when it comes to two-spot improvements. The now fifth-ranked Golden Hurricane tied its best billing in program history despite not competing this fall season and having to wait until the spring to hit the course. Tulsa does have the best returning 1-2 in the nation from the 2019 NCAA Championships with Patrick Dever and Peter Lynch (Dever and Lynch finished 11th and 13th in Terra Haute last year).
Oklahoma State and Iowa State are right next to each other at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. Truth be told, it probably couldn’t be any other way after what we witness this past weekend at the Big 12 Championships in Lawrence, Kansas. The Cowboys and the Cyclones both finished with 31 points, which meant the team champion had to be decided by a tiebreaker for the first time in meet history. Oklahoma State had the all-important 3-2 edge in its scoring athletes, which sent Dave Smith’s program to its first conference title since 2016. Iowa State – which was led by individual champion Wesley Kiptoo – did put all seven runners in the top-15.
Two of the Biggest Movers of the Week came from the ACC Championships at WakeMed Soccer Park, where host NC State and Wake Forest finished second and third behind Notre Dame.
The Wolfpack, who improved six spots from No. 21 to No. 15, were the only team other than the Irish to have four top-15 athletes this past weekend. 2019 All-American Ian Shanklin finished runner-up to Nuguse, while Joe Bistritz (sixth), Gavin Gaynor (14th) and JP Flavin (15th) also joined the festivities on their home course.
And for the first time since Lifehouse had the No. 1 song in the U.S. with “Hanging by a Moment,” the Demon Deacons are nationally-ranked. Wake Forest surged into the top-30 at No. 23 after a third-place effort at the ACC Championships. Carter Coughlin provided a spark for Wake Forest with his fifth-place finish and three of his teammates followed in the top-20.
Remember: The rescheduled 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships will take place on Monday, March 15, in Stillwater, Oklahoma.