Meet Recap: NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships

EDITOR’S NOTE: Both recaps in this post were written by Stu Newstat of D3GloryDays.com.

Champions were crowned on Saturday at the 2022 NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships!

The meet was held at the snow-laden Forest Akers East Golf Course in East Lansing, Michigan.

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Johns Hopkins women captured their third-straight national title – and became the winningest women’s program in NCAA DIII history with eight titles, breaking a tie with SUNY Cortland – while the MIT men stand at the top of the podium for the first time in program history.

2022 NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships – Final Results

Men’s Team
Score
Women’s Team
Score
No. 2 MIT
82
No. 3 Johns Hopkins
144
No. 5 Wartburg
129
No. 4 UChicago
147
No. 20 SUNY Geneseo
168
No. 1 Wartburg
178
No. 13 John Carroll
186
No. 6 Carleton
179
No. 1 Pomona-Pitzer
193
No. 2 SUNY Geneseo
198

Men’s 8k Race

Expect the unexpected was the theme at the Forest Akers Golf course and it continued into the men’s race.

With two runners in the top-5, second-ranked MIT overcame the two-time reigning national champions to claim their program’s first national championship. Led by a third-place finish from Sam Aquaviva, the Engineers placed all scoring runners inside the top-40. With 82 points, the trophy goes home to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Another program making their own history is No. 5 Wartburg. The men have never finished on the podium in cross country and now get to share with their teams as they bring their own trophy back to Waverly, Iowa. Behind Christopher Collet’s seventh-place finish, Wartburg proved superior to their Pre-Championships ranking to capture runner-up honors and a coveted spot on the podium.

The shock of the day was from No. 20 SUNY Geneseo. Nick Andrews made his presence known early in the race as he was in the top-10 for the majority of it. Andrews was able to move up one spot over the final 1k to finish sixth overall. Ezra Ruggles and Alex Hillyard came up big for the Knights with their own All-American finishes in 33rd and 39th, respectively.

While John Carroll returned Alex Phillip, the Blue Streaks lost some key runners to graduation and many wondered how they would fare this year. Coming into the meet ranked No. 13, the Blue Streaks exceeded expectations. It helps when your top runners wins his second-straight national title and your No. 2 runner finishes 31st. Joe Backus was just their seventh man at OACs and is now an All-American.

Ethan Gregg of UW-La Crosse took the pack through the snow lined course through the majority of the race until last year’s champion took over. There was a strong pack with about 1k to go and that’s when Phillip made his move. With some separation from Christian Patkza of UW-Whitewater, Phillip never looked back and repeated as individual champion.

Women’s 6k Race

Are you considered the underdog despite winning the last two national championships? No. 3 Johns Hopkins found themselves in an unfamiliar position of being an underdog as they were not ranked No. 1 all year. That didn’t stop them from taking down UChicago by three points to win their third-straight national title.

UChicago came into the NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships as the No. 4 team and will walk way with their highest finish in program history. Led by an 11th-place finish from Anna Kenig-Zielser, the Maroons held off Midwest region rivals Wartburg to get their runner-up trophy.

Top-ranked Wartburg added another trophy to their case. The Knights earned a third-place finish by holding off No. 6 Carleton by one point. Wartburg led the field with four All-Americans with Aubrie Fisher and Lexie Brown finishing in 14th and 16th place, respectively, while Ellie Meyer crossed the line in 22nd and Shaelyn Hostager came in 33rd.

Carleton has been viewed as a dark horse all season and lived up to that hype. Putting two runners in the top-15, the Knights earned their first trophy in program history by finishing fourth. Clara Mayfield paced the team with a runner-up finish, while Hannah Preisser crossed the line in 15th.

Kassie Parker did what Kassie Parker does and didn’t let the snow stop her. Parker led from the start and didn’t look back. The only difference this year was she was able to meet her team after they crossed the finish line. Parker stopped the clock at 21:06.5 to claim her second straight cross country national title. She gapped Fiona Smith by 43.1 seconds.