Weekend Preview: October 8-10

Competition heats up when the leaves change color.

The collegiate cross country season is showing no signs of slowing down.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZoneMeets & Results | USTFCCCA Scoreboard

Here are three meets that we have our eye on this weekend.

Be sure to check back on Saturday or Sunday for a full recap.

FHSU Tiger Classic

Date: Saturday, October 9 | Location: Victoria, Kansas

You know what they say, “Everything is bigger in Kansas.”

Wait a second, USTFCCCA. Don’t you mean Texas?

Well, judging by the size of the FHSU Tiger Open this weekend, someone could make a convincing argument the other way. That’s because nearly 800 collegiate runners – 785, to be exact – will descend on the Sand Plum Nature Trail for a total of four different races: Women’s 5k Black (NAIA/NJCAA), Men’s 8k Black (NAIA/NJCAA), Women’s 5k Gold (NCAA DII/Open) and Men’s 8k Gold (NCAA DII/Open).

There will be 40 collegiate programs represented at the meet on Saturday, including 24 who were ranked among the best in their respective division’s most recent National Coaches’ Polls.

The Women’s 5k Black Race goes off first at 9 am CT and features six of those 24 ranked teams: NJCAA DI No. 6 Cloud County (Kan.) CC, NJCAA DI No. 7 Dodge City (Kan.) CC, NJCAA No. 12 Hutchinson (Kan.) CC, NJCAA DI No. 15 Garden City (Kan.) CC, NJCAA DI No. 20 Butler (Kan.) CC and NJCAA DII No. 3 Cowley (Kan.).

The Men’s 8k Black Race is next on the course at 9:35 am CT and includes eight of those 24 ranked teams: NJCAA DI No. 2 Colby (Kan.) CC, NJCAA DI No. 3 Cloud County (Kan.) CC, NJCAA No. 5 Northwest Kansas Tech, NJCAA DI No. 11 Garden City (Kan.) CC, NJCAA DI No. 14 Hutchinson (Kan.) CC, NJCAA DI No. 18 Fort Scott (Kan.) CC, NJCAA DI No. 22 Dodge City (Kan.) CC and NJCAA DII No. 1 Cowley College.

The Women’s 5k Gold Race is scheduled to start at 10:25 am CT and features five nationally-ranked programs: NCAA DII co-No. 1 Adams State, NCAA DII No. 4 Colorado School of Mines, NCAA DII co-No. 21 Colorado Christian, NCAA DII No. 25 Northwest Missouri as well as NAIA No. 6 Saint Mary (Kan.). Both the Grizzlies and the Orediggers competed with their top squads this past weekend – Adams State at the Paul Short Run; Mines at the Chile Pepper Festival – so look for them to showcase their depth. Both the Bearcats and the Cougars are well-rested and should be running at full power.

The Men’s 8k Gold Race is last on the course at 11 am CT, but it’s certainly not least. Fans will see four top-10 programs – NCAA DII co-No. 1 Colorado School of Mines, NCAA DII No. 3 Adams State, NCAA DII No. 6 Colorado Christian and NAIA No. 2 Saint Mary (Kan.) – as well as No. 21 Northwest Missouri. Both the Orediggers and the Grizzlies raced this past weekend (Mines had the best result of the two, winning the team title at the Chile Pepper Festival), so look for them to use this as an opportunity to build for the future. Both the Bearcats and the Cougars should be ready to go after last racing two weeks ago to strong results.

Lewis Conference Crossover

Date: Saturday, October 9 | Location: Romeoville, Illinois

Allen Iverson isn’t the only one with a great crossover.

Lewis University hosts the sixth annual Crossover Cross Country Invitational this weekend at the Lewis XC Course in Romeoville, Illinois. You’ll see a total of 26 programs from seven different regions, of which 19 of those distinct men’s and women’s teams were either ranked or received votes in the most recent NCAA Division II Cross Country National Coaches’ Polls.

The women’s 6k, which gets underway first at 9:45 am CT, features 10 of those teams that worked their way into the National Coaches’ Poll. Grand Valley State is the headliner as the co-No. 1 program, but nine others lay: No. 18 Walsh, No. 19 Minnesota-Duluth, co-No. 21 Cal State San Marcos, co-No. 21 Colorado Christian, No. 24 Wayne State (Mich.), No. 26 Saginaw Valley State and No. 27 Biola (Calif.), as well as Anderson (S.C.), Concordia (Calif.) and Lenoir-Rhyne, who all received votes in Week 4.

The men’s 8k, which starts 45 minutes after the women’s race, has a bit more top-end depth with two top-10 programs in the field: co-No. 1 Grand Valley State (Notice a trend here?) and No. 6 Colorado Christian. Six other teams appeared in the National Coaches’ Poll in some form or fashion behind them: No. 19 Lewis, No. 22 Biola (Calif.), No. 24 Cal State San Marcos, No. 25 Walsh and No. 30 Anderson (S.C.), as well as Wayne State (Mich.), which received votes.

It’s going to be a big day in Romeoville, Illinois, especially for the Midwest Region. Twelve of those 26 programs reside in that sector, so you’ll potentially see a lot of changes to the next NCAA Division II Cross Country Regional Rankings come Tuesday, October 19, at 2 pm CT.

Pomona-Pitzer Invitational

Date: Saturday, October 9 | Location: Claremont, California

Are you ready for a matchup between two top-10 women’s programs in NCAA Division III?

Well, you better be, because fourth-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps squares off against rival and ninth-ranked Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational. They’ll take to the Pomona College campus course at 8:30 am PT for 6k, 45 minutes after the men’s 8k race.

Both the Athenas and the Sagehens come into the meet riding a wave of momentum after remarkable efforts in their last respective outings: CMS won the team title at the Live in the Lou Cross Country Classic against a stacked field with five other nationally-ranked programs thanks to putting four runners in the top-8; Pomona-Pitzer finished a clear fourth at the Cougar Challenge two weeks ago behind a trio of top-25 NCAA Division II programs and proved to have a formidable 1-2 punch leading the way with Katie Cline and Genevieve DiBari.

The same course will host the West Region Championships on Saturday, November 13.

“This is a pretty tough cross country course that has all the elements to challenge a runner,” Pomona-Pitzer women’s head coach Kirk Reynolds said. “It has grass and dirt trails, and the whole course pretty much goes either uphill or downhill, so on each loop you have to do a bit of work to set up the next loop.”

The meet record for the women’s 6k is 20:57.3, set by Maya Weigel in 2016. No other woman has gone sub-21 minutes in meet history.

Athletes from 13 other teams will compete between the two races as well.