Weekend Preview: Massive Matchups In NCAA DIII & NJCAA
Here. We. Go.
This is the biggest weekend of the regular season, bar none.
Collegiate cross country is about to hit another gear.
You already know about the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, but here are several others that caught our eye from an absolutely loaded slate.
Augustana Interregional Invitational
The Augustana Interregional Invitational might only be in its second year of existence, but it’s attracting quite the crowd – and if last year is any indication, we’ll see some great racing on the Saluki Golf Course in Rock Island, Illinois.
The Women’s 6k Varsity goes off first at 10:30 am CT with four teams that were ranked in the top-10 of the most recent NCAA DIII National Coaches’ Poll: No. 2 Wartburg, No. 3 UChicago, No. 7 Washington (Mo.) and No. 10 Pomona-Pitzer (No. 11 Hope is entered as well). Several of these teams faced off against each other already this season, but once October hits, all bets are off. That’s what happened last year at this meet when Pomona-Pitzer held off Wartburg for the team title, as Washington (Mo.) and UChicago had to be separated by a tiebreaker for third.
The Men’s 8k Varsity toes the start line at 11:15 am CT with three of the top-4 teams in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll: No. 1 Pomona-Pitzer, No. 3 Wartburg and No. 4 North Central (Ill.). If you’re wondering where the second-ranked team (aka MIT) is headed, keep reading. If you think this matchup looks familiar, that’s because it should: Wartburg and Pomona-Pitzer treated fans to an instant classic last year with the former winning 39-46, while North Central (Ill.) finished a distant third. The Sagehens got the last laugh on the Knights, though, as they captured their second national title in a row five weeks later in Louisville, Kentucky.
Connecticut College Invitational
Anybody who is anybody in the northeast is headed to the Connecticut College Invitational on Saturday in Watertown, Connecticut. Racing takes place at Harkness Memorial State Park.
The Women’s Blue 6k starts at 11 am ET with ten teams that were ranked in the top-35 of the most recent National Coaches’ Poll, including two in the top-10: No. 6 MIT and No. 8 Amherst headline the group with eight other squads sandwiched between Nos. 10 and 32. Look for some big changes to the rankings in the East and Mideast Regions next week with No. 1 vs. No. 2 vs. No. 3 in the East Region and No. 1 vs. No. 2 vs. No. 3 vs. No. 4 vs. No. 5 in the Mideast Region.
The Men’s Blue 8k takes the course at noon ET with – you guessed it – ten ranked teams in the mix, including – you guessed it – two in the top-10: No. 2 MIT (we told you to keep reading) and No. 9 Williams are the heavy hitters. While there are big implications for the East and Mideast Regions (just like the women’s race), the top-4 highest ranked squads in the field represent four different regions: MIT is in the East; Williams is in the Mideast; No. 13 Haverford is in the Metro; and No. 16 St. Olaf is in the North.
Other Meets Of Interest
Colby (Kan.) CC has attracted a strong collection of programs for the Trojan Invitational on Saturday at Meadow Lake Golf Course in Colby, Kansas.
Racing begins at 10 a.m. CT with the women’s 5K that is headlined by Colo. School of Mines, ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division II.
The men’s 8K follows at 10:45 am with five top-10 programs – two from NCAA DII and three from NJCAA Division I. The DII squads at No. 1 Colo. School of Mines and No. 9 Colorado Christian, while the trio of JUCO teams are all top-6 – No. 3 Colby (Kan.) CC, No. 4 Trinidad State (Colo.) and No. 6 Northwest Kansas Tech.
The host Trojans are led by Sanele Masondo, who has twice been named M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week this year in NJCAA DI.
Ollie Isom Invitational
The Ollie Isom Invitational in El Dorado, Kansas, brings together a trio of top-10 NJCAA DI women’s teams from Kansas in No. 2 Hutchinson CC, No. 5 Butler CC and No. 9 Dodge City CC as well as another power from the Jayhawk state in NJCAA DII No. 4 Cowley.
Racing begins at 11:45 am CT.