Weekend Recap: Competition Heats Up Across The Nation

The cross country season is heating up.

Teams have been hitting the course with eyes on November’s championships.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets & Results | Scoreboard

Do you want to know which meets stood out the most to us this past weekend?

Well, you’re in luck.

Coaching Tree Invitational

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Indiana welcomed 11 programs to the Sam Bell XC Course in Bloomington, Indiana, this past weekend for the Coaching Tree Invitational. Each of those 11 programs in attendance featured a coach who worked or ran for legendary Hoosier coach Ron Helmer during his career.

Brynn Brown led No. 13 North Carolina to the women’s team title by taking top individual honors on Friday. Brown covered the 6k course in 20:18.6 to beat the Georgetown duo of Sami Corman (second, 20:20.3) and Chloe Scrimgeour (third, 20:20.6) by two seconds. The Tar Heels, who are coached by Chris Miltenberg, put their entire scoring lineup in the top-15 as they topped No. 19 Georgetown, coached by Alton McKenzie and Brandon Bonsey, 37-53.

Theo Quax led a 1-2-3 finish by No. 1 Northern Arizona in the men’s race, as he covered the 8k course in 23:26.8 (Santiago Prosser and Kang Nyoak took second and third, respectively). That strong showing by Michael Smith’s Lumberjacks wasn’t enough to win the team title, as No. 17 North Carolina held off No. 23 Georgetown, 53-58. The Tar Heels put four runners in the top-15, including three in the top-10. Parker Stokes paced the Hoyas in fourth place. NAU, competing with just five runners, finished third in the team standings with 60 points.

Spartan Invitational

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Cross-divisional competition was all the rage at the Spartan Invitational, hosted by Michigan State on Friday afternoon.

Grand Valley State, the third-ranked team in NCAA Division II, won the men’s race thanks to an ultimate low stick from 2021 NCAA runner-up Tanner Chada. The Lakers, behind Chada’s first-place finish, romped to victory over Cincinnati, 45-89. Chada stopped the clock at 24:03.7, 25.4 seconds faster than 2021 NCAA DIII individual champion Alex Phillip of John Carroll. NCAA DI No. 30 Michigan State took third in the team standings, followed by Kent State and NCAA DIII No. 13 North Central (Ill.).

Michigan State protected home turf in the women’s race, steamrolling the field to a near perfect score of 19 points. The Spartans, who are the 22nd ranked team in NCAA DI, went 1-2-3-5-8 with Kaitlyn Hynes taking top individual honors in 21:07.4. Katie Osika and Makenna Veen finished second and third, respectively, for MSU. NCAA DII No. 2 Grand Valley State was runner-up in the team race with 71 points, while NCAA DIII No. 1 SUNY Geneseo topped NCAA DIII No. 3 Johns Hopkins for third place. The Blue Jays were fourth, followed by Cincinnati.

National Catholic Invitational

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Teams from four different divisions converged on the Burke Golf Course on Friday for the National Catholic Invitational hosted by Notre Dame.

No performance was stronger than what Kassie Parker turned in during the Women’s 5k. Parker, who won the individual title at the NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships last year, earned top individual honors with a near 11-second victory over Notre Dame’s Olivia Markezich, who finished 11th at the 2021 NCAA DI Championships: Parker stopped the clock at 17:02.1; Markezich in 17:13.0. Markezich and the sixth-ranked Irish won the team title with 20 points, while NCAA DII No. 18 Lewis took runner-up honors with 78 points and Parker’s Duhawks ended up third with 118.

The Men’s 5 Mile went according to form, as No. 13 Notre Dame steamrolled the field. The Irish, led by Carter Solomon’s individual title in 24:35.0, posted a perfect score and actually took the top-7 scored spots. NCAA DIII No. 33 Loras was second behind Notre Dame with 76 points, as two of its runners finished in the scored top-10, while NCAA DII No. 23 Lewis was third with 77 points thanks to a well-bunched pack from 11th to 19th.

Roadrunner Invitational

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There was some early head-to-head competition among several ranked NCAA Division II teams at the Roadrunners Invite in Denver, Colorado. The course at Washington Park will also be the site of the South Central Regional in November.

Steven Goldy and Paul Knight led No. 2 Colorado School of Mines to the men’s team title after finishing 1-2 individually on Saturday. Goldy completed the 8k course in 23:45.60 with Knight right behind in 23:49.60. The Orediggers scored 28 points after all of their scoring runners finished in the top-10. No. 30 CSU Pueblo placed second with 39 points, followed by Dallas Baptist in third with 106 points.

On the women’s side, Colorado School of Mines ran away from the competition to take the team title with 17 points. The Orediggers, who are ranked fifth in NCAA DII, finished 1-2-3-5-6 as Jenna Ramsey won the individual crown in 21:31.50. Zoe Baker and Molly Maksin crossed the line in second and third, respectively, to round out the Orediggers sweep of the top-3 spots. No. 18 CSU Pueblo placed second in the team standings with 65 points and No. 25 Dallas Baptist came in third with 76 points.

Woody Greeno/Jay Dirksen Invitational

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The 23rd edition of this meet, named for coaches from Nebraska Wesleyan and host Nebraska, saw an interesting combination of NCAA DI and NJCAA talent, especially on the men’s side.

Sanele Masondo of Colby (Kan.) CC posted an impressive victory, covering the 8K tract at the Mahoney Golf Course in 23:31.0 to win the men’s race by 38 seconds over Chandler Gibbens of Kansas. While all of the runners ran together, team scoring was broken into two groups. The Trojans won the Gold Division with 32 points, sporting two more top-10 runners. Defending NJCAA Division I champion Iowa Central CC was next with 78 as Northwest Missouri was third (92). Kansas State (48) won the tight Red Division over Air Force (53) and Kansas State (54).

Thus Cornhuskers’ Alea Hardie won the women’s 5K race in 16:57.9, 10 seconds ahead of Regina Mpigachai of Northern Colorado (17:08.0). Kansas State (46) edged Nebraska (49) for the Red Division title, while Northwest Missouri (28) topped Neb.-Kearney (56) to win the Gold Division.