Sunday, July 28, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Men's #26- Washington

Editor's note: For the next month, The Wood Report will be counting down projected team finishes in this year's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, IN.

Head Coach: Greg Metcalf (12th Season)
2012 National Finish- N/A

Key Returners from 2012
  • Tyler King (So., 8:07 Open 3k, 14:00)
  • Aaron Beattie (Jr., 14:16, 30:20)
  • Aaron Nelson (Jr., 8:52 3k Steeple)
  • Meron Simon (Jr., 4:04 Mile, 8:16 Open 3k)
Impact Recruits/Transfers
  • Jacob Smith (So., Univ. of Portland no. 5 in 2012, 4:10 1600m, 9:01 3200m)
  • Andrew Gardner (Fr., 4:09, 8:54, 3X Foot Locker Finals Qualifer: 11th in '12, 6th in '11, 4th in '10)
  • Sumner Goodwin (Fr., 8:58, 2X NXN Nats Qualifer: 7th in '12)
Season Preview

It must be hard to be on the Men's Cross Country team at Washington and watch your women's team roll, year after year. For the first time since 2009, this team looks prepared and full of veteran athletes ready to make the push for Terre Haute, like their women's team does every year.

Washington returns several experienced cross country runners who must step up for this team to find success in 2013. Tyler King was their best 5k runner on the track in the spring having run 14:00. Aaron Nelson was a nice surprise in the steeple getting a nice PR of 8:52 as well. Aaron Beattie and Meron Simon are both good track guys who need to translate their track ability to the xc course in order to solidfy the Husky pack. 

The great news for Washington is that Greg Metcalf has signed one of the best recruiting classes they have had in years along with some key transfers. Without these recruits and transfers the Huskies would have a rough time qualifying for Terre Haute. 

Two of the best cross country runners in the state of Washington over the past few seasons both decided to sign at UW (although Gardner initially signed with Air Force). Sumner Goodwin is a proven xc runner and has qualified to NXN Nationals two straight years. He placed seventh overall in 2012 (brutally tough course too). 

Andrew Gardner of Mead High School is a college-ready impact recruit. Gardner has qualified for Foot Locker Finals every year since he was a sophomore in high school. Gardner has outstanding track PRs (see above) and is one of the few incoming freshman that one could consider instant-offense. 

The great news just gets better for Washington as two University of Portland runners: Jacob Smith and Izaic Yorks decided to transfer to UW. Jacob Smith was the no. 5 runner on the Portland team that finished 12th at Nationals. Smith is capable of being the guy that pushes this team into the national meet with his experience last season and renewed motivation at a new school and program.

If the Goodwin, Gardner and Smith make the impacts that on this UW team that they are capable of making, this team will surprise a lot of teams in the West regional, where they should be able to cruise on to Terre Haute. 

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