2020 NJCAA DI Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Week 5
NEW ORLEANS – When the 2020 NJCAA Division I Cross Country Championships get underway on November 14 in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Iowa Central CC is projected to win the men’s team title, according to the newest National Coaches’ Poll, which was released on Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
If the unanimous top-ranked Tritons rule on their home course and hold off Iowa Western CC, their toughest projected challenger, it would mark their first national title since 2017. Iowa Central CC’s last win came two years after it polished off a string of back-to-back crowns.
NJCAA Division I — Men's Cross Country
This Week's National Top Five
Iowa Central CC
Iowa Western CC
Cloud County (Kan.) CC
Hutchinson (Kan.) CC
Cross Country Polls & Rankings
It’s easy to see why the Tritons are favored, based off recent results. Not only did Iowa Central CC easily win the Region XI crown this past weekend, but it also has an incredible 1-2 punch at the top of its lineup with former National Athletes of the Week Pur Biel and Kelvin Bungei. Add in the rise of Hunter Klimek as the No. 3 runner and the Tritons are in a good spot.
The second-ranked Reivers were the only other program to put three or more runners in the top-10 at the Region XI Championships. Iowa Western CC, led by regional runner-up Yonas Mogos and seventh-place finisher Kassim Kibet, finished 15 points behind Iowa Central CC. It wasn’t too long ago that the Reivers gained confidence when they beat a short-handed Triton squad at the Indian Hills Invitational (Iowa Central CC didn’t run Biel or Bungei).
For defending champion and No. 3 Cloud County CC to keep pace next Saturday, it will need Region VI individual champion Awet Beraki and former National Athlete of the Week Habtamu Geta to continue competing at their respective high levels. The T-Birds must also shore up its depth, as last week at the Region VI Championships, its fourth and fifth runners finished 22nd and 25th overall.
There is a clear break between the top-3 teams and the College of Southern Idaho and Hutchinson CC, which come in at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. The Golden Eagles recently won the team title at the UM Western Bulldog Open with 38 points, while the Blue Dragons – led by former National Athlete of the Week Teagan Flanagan – took third in Region VI.
Here are the rest of the top-10 teams in Week 5: No. 6 Indian Hills CC, No. 7 Butler CC, No. 8 Dodge City CC, No. 9 Trinidad State JC, No. 10 Colby CC.