Recap: 2021 NCAA DI Cross Country Championships

Champions were crowned on Saturday at the 2021 NCAA DI Cross Country Championships!


The meet was held at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida. It was the 83rd edition of the NCAA men’s competition and 41st for the women.

Keep reading below to find out what happened in the Sunshine State, as Northern Arizona’s men and NC State’s women won team titles while BYU collected the first sweep of individual titles since 1988 (by Indiana).

2021 NCAA DI Cross Country Championships – Final Standings

Men’s Team
Women’s Team
No. 1 Northern Arizona
No. 1 NC State
No. 6 Iowa State
No. 4 BYU
No. 3 Oklahoma State
No. 2 New Mexico
No. 9 Arkansas
No. 3 Colorado
No. 7 Stanford
No. 10 Notre Dame

Women’s 6k Championship

NC State won its first-ever NCAA cross country team championship in convincing fashion, scoring 84 points to defeat defending champion No. 4 BYU, who totaled 122 points in a close battle over No. 2 New Mexico (130). No. 3 Colorado (187) earned the final podium position over No. 10 Notre Dame (215).

The Wolfpack were led by a close group that never strayed far from the front. Kelsey Chmiel led the way in sixth place, while Katelyn Tuohy (15th), Alexandra Hays (22nd) and Hannah Steelman (24th) gave NC State four runners in the top-25 when no other squad had more than two. Samantha Bush completed the scoring five in 32nd place.

NC State led at every split in the race, having leads that ranged from 86 points to the final margin of 38 points. The victory marked the Wolfpack’s first time at the top of the NCAA podium after a runner-up finish in the 2020 race that was held this past March. NC State, which was also runner-up in 1987 and 2001, had last been the nation’s top collegiate women’s program in the days of the AIAW, winning the 1979 and 1980 crowns.

Individually, BYU’s Whittni Orton charged up the final climb of “the wall” and then increased her lead to win in 19:25.4, with defending champion Mercy Chelangat of Alabama runner-up in 19:29.3. For Orton, it was her third win in three races this year. Ceili McCabe of West Virginia (19:29.5), Cailie Logue of Iowa State (19:29.8) and Taylor Roe of Oklahoma State (19:33.5) completed the top-5 individuals.

Men’s 10k Championship

Northern Arizona returned to the throne in repeating as NCAA champions for a fifth title in the last six years. The Lumberjacks scored 92 points, with No. 6 Iowa State finishing second with 137 points. The Cyclones surprised many in finishing ahead of Midwest Region champ No. 3 Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were third with 186 points, with No. 9 Arkansas (195) completing the podium collection. No. 7 Stanford edged No. 10 Tulsa, 236-237, to complete the top-5.

NAU was strong up front as Abdihamid Nur finished seventh and was joined by Nico Young (11th) and Drew Bosley (13th) for three in the top-15, a collection no other squad could match. The Lumberjacks’ dominance continued as its final two scorers – George Kusche (37th) and Brodey Hasty (39th) – gave NAU five in the top-40 as no one else could claim as many as four. NAU’s run of five NCAA men’s titles in six years has only been matched by Arkansas (1990-95).

The Lumberjacks didn’t take the lead until the 4k split, overtaking Notre Dame at that point with 91 points. Iowa State made its charge a little later, taking over the runner-up position at the 6k split and improving its point total at every checkpoint thereafter.

Conner Mantz of BYU repeated as individual champ, crossing the line in 28:33.1 ahead of Iowa State’s Wesley Kiptoo (28:38.7) and Athanas Kioko of Campbell (28:40.9). Kioko took the lead after the final ascent of “the wall,” but Mantz had plenty left in the tank to re-take the lead and jet away to victory. The repeat victories by Mantz are the meet’s first since Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won three in a row in 2013-15.

Charles Hicks of Stanford was fourth in 28:47.2 and Morgan Beadlescomb of Michigan State finished fifth in 28:50.6 ahead of last year’s runner-up, Adriaan Wildschutt of Florida State (28:52.0).