Weekend Preview: It’s NCAA DII Regional Championships Weekend!

It’s Regional Championships Weekend!

You can feel the excitement in the air.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets & Results | USTFCCCA Scoreboard

Let’s find out which teams and individuals are headed to the 2021 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships, held in two weeks at the Abbey Golf Course outside of Tampa, Florida.

A total of 34 teams per gender will earn their spot on the starting line for the national championship meet with 24 squads punching automatic tickets based off top-3 finishes at their respective regional meet and the other 10 earning at-large bids. There will also be a minimum of 24 additional individuals per gender who qualify through performances at the regional meet.

Here is a glance at four regions with the most nationally-ranked teams in attendance.

Don’t forget the race distances, either: men’s races will be contested over 10k; women’s over 6k.

South Central Region Championships

Date: Saturday, November 6 | Location: Lubbock, Texas

Stop us if you heard this before.

Wait. Don’t stop us. Let us speak.

The South Central Region is loaded.

A total of 15 teams that were ranked in the most recent NCAA DII Cross Country National Coaches’ Polls will compete for regional glory at the Lubbock Christian Cross Country Course in Lubbock, Texas.

South Central Region – Ranked Teams

Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 2 Colorado School of Mines
No. 1 Adams State
No. 3 Adams State
No. 4 Colorado School of Mines
No. 8 Colorado Christian
No. 6 UC-Colorado Springs
No. 12 UC-Colorado Springs

No. 10 CSU Pueblo

No. 16 Western Colorado
No. 13 Western Colorado
No. 27 West Texas A&M
No. 19 MSU Denver
No. 21 Dallas Baptist
No. 25 West Texas A&M
No. 26 Colorado Christian

Nine – Yes, NINE – of those programs reside on the women’s side, so that’s where we’ll start. You can’t get much higher than Adams State, which enters the meet as the top-ranked team in the nation. The Grizzlies are eight-time defending champions at this meet, as well, so all roads to the regional title go through them (Midwestern State was the last team not named Adams State to win the regional crown back in 2011). Looking to snare the Grizzlies will be No. 4 Colorado School of Mines, No. 6 UC-Colorado Springs, No. 10 CSU Pueblo, No. 13 Western Colorado, No. 19 MSU Denver, No. 21 Dallas Baptist, No. 25 West Texas A&M and No. 26 Colorado Christian. A big race by the Cougars could send them to their first appearance at the NCAA Championships. The Lady Buffs haven’t been since 2013.

A scintillating top-3 matchup between No. 2 Colorado School of Mines and No. 3 Adams State highlights the men’s race. The Orediggers have won three of the past four regional titles, while the Grizzlies topped the podium five times since 2012. It’s safe to say both of those teams know what it takes to win at this meet. Four other ranked teams will look to upset Colorado School of Mines and/or Adams State: No. 8 Colorado Christian, No. 12 UC-Colorado Springs, No. 16 Western Colorado and No. 27 West Texas A&M. The Mountaineers saw their 26-year streak(!) of making the NCAA Championships snapped in 2019, so they’ll be looking to atone. The Buffs hope to prolong a seven-year streak that began in 2013.

Midwest Region Championships

Date: Saturday, November 6 | Location: Evansville, Indiana

The road to the Midwest Region titles goes through Grand Valley State.

There is no other way around it: the Lakers are – and have been – that good.

GVSU enters with the top-ranked men’s team in the nation as well as the second-ranked women’s team. The Lakers took over sole possession of the top spot in the Men’s National Coaches’ Poll after a dominant win at the GLIAC Championships this past weekend, while the women held steady after putting up the first perfect team score at those same championships since 1994.

Midwest Region – Ranked Teams

Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 1 Grand Valley State
No. 2 Grand Valley State
No. 11 Lewis
No. 11 Southern Indiana
No. 14 Illinois-Springfield
No. 14 Cedarville
No. 15 Southern Indiana
No. 15 Lewis
No. 22 Walsh
No. 20 Southwest Baptist
No. 25 Michigan Tech
No. 22 Saginaw Valley State
No. 30 Wayne State (Mich.)
No. 23 Walsh
No. 29 Wayne State (Mich.)

Seven other ranked teams are looking to upset at-least-11-time defending champion GVSU in the women’s race: No. 11 Southern Indiana leads the charge thanks to the talented Jennifer Comastri up front; No. 14 Cedarville and No. 15 Lewis hold down the middle section of the poll; No. 20 Southwest Baptist has another individual favorite in Elysia Burgos; No. 22 Saginaw Valley State, No. 23 Walsh and No. 29 Wayne State (Mich.) have been pleasant surprises. All but two of those programs went to the NCAA Championships two years ago: the Jackets haven’t been since 2016; the Flyers haven’t toed the starting line since 2015.

Six other ranked teams have their sights on the at-least-11-time defending champion Lakers in the men’s race: No. 11 Lewis, No. 14 Illinois-Springfield and No. 15 Southern Indiana all have a deep history with each other – most recently treating fans to a tremendous duel at the GLVC Championships, where the Flyers won by 11 points over the Prairie Stars and the Screaming Eagles; No. 22 Walsh, No. 25 Michigan Tech and No. 30 Wayne State (Mich.) could shake up the team race as well. The Huskies are looking for just their second NCAA Championships berth since 1971, while the Warriors hope to return for the first time since 2008.

Central Region Championships

Date: Saturday, November 6 | Location: Joplin, Missouri

Augustana (S.D.) has the best of both worlds right now.

One of the Vikings’ team is hungry to get back on top; the other wants to stay there.

Central Region – Ranked Teams

Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 4 Augustana (S.D.)
No. 3 Augustana (S.D.)
No. 6 Pittsburg State
No. 17 U-Mary
No. 17 Missouri Southern
No. 18 Minnesota Duluth
No. 29 Northwest Missouri
No. 24 Nebraska-Kearney
No. 26 Minnesota State

Augustana (S.D.) enters with the top-ranked program in the men’s race at No. 4 and is looking to win its first regional title since 2017. Prior to that, the Vikings reeled off six consecutive wins from 2012 to 2017. Missouri Southern is the two-time defending champion, but comes in as the third-best ranked team in the field at No. 17. That’s because Pittsburg State splits the difference at No. 6, giving this race an enticing top-10 matchup (The Gorillas’ best finish in recent memory at this meet was sixth in 2015). No. 29 Northwest Missouri hopes to make just its third trip to the NCAA Championships since 1999.

It had been six long years between regional titles for the Augustana (S.D.) women before they won in 2019, so you better believe they want to defend their title in 2021. The Vikings are ranked No. 3 nationally and have a 14-spot lead on the next-best team in the field, No. 17 U-Mary. The Marauders have quite the history at this meet, winning three consecutive titles between 2016 and 2018. No. 18 Minnesota Duluth is next in the poll, looking for its first title since 2014. Nebraska-Kearney and Minnesota State come in at No. 24 and No. 26, respectively. The Lopers have never qualified for the NCAA Championships, while the Mavericks hope to make their first trip since 1995.

West Region

Date: Saturday, November 6 | Location: Monmouth, Oregon

It could get wild out west on Saturday.

That’s because nine nationally-ranked teams are in the mix between the two races.

West Region – Ranked Teams

Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 7 Chico State
No. 8 Simon Fraser
No. 20 Fresno Pacific
No. 12 Cal State Stanslisaus
No. 24 Simon Fraser
No. 15 Chico State
No. 28 Western Washington
No. 28 Academy of Art
No. 30 Biola (Calif.)

Five of those squads will compete in the women’s race with No. 8 Simon Fraser leading the way. The Clan last won a regional title in 2014 when they won a close battle against Chico State. Cal State Stanislaus is next at No. 12, followed by the 15th-ranked Wildcats. Academy of Art and Biola (Calif.) round out the ranked teams at No. 28 and No. 30, respectively. Both the Urban Knights and the Eagles are looking for their first trip to the NCAA Championships in program history.

Four-time defending champion Chico State headlines the men’s race with its No. 7 ranking. The Wildcats have been dominant over the years, scoring between 39 and 55 points in each of those four installments that they won titles. Upstart Fresno Pacific sits at No. 20 as the second-best ranked team in the field and is seeking its first trip to the NCAA Championships. Simon Fraser, last to the NCAA meet in 2018, holds down the No. 24 ranking in the poll. Western Washington, a team that advanced to the past two editions of the NCAA Championships, is ranked No. 28.