Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Men's #10- Stanford

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: Chris Miltenberg (2nd Season)
2012 National Finish- 16th

Key Returners from 2012
  • Erik Olson (Jr., 8:04 Open 3k, 13:46 5k, 29:06 10k)
  • Joe Rosa (Jr., 8:05 Open 3k, 13:58 5k)
  • Tyler Stutzman (Sr., 3:40 1500m, 8:06 Open 3k, 14:02 5k)
  • Jim Rosa (Jr., 3:47 1500m, 8:04 Open 3k, 13:59 5k, 29:47 10k)
  • Michael Atchoo (Sr., 3:39 1500m, 8:00 Open 3k)
  • Kenny Krotzer (Sr., 3:48 1500m, 8:13 Open 3k)
  • Thomas Graham (So., 8:09 Open 3k, 14:09 5k)
  • Andrew Berberick (Sr., 3:44 1500m, 55th NCAA XC '11)
Impact Recruits/Transfers
  • Sean McGorty (Fr., 4:03 1600m, 8:45 2 Mile, 2nd FL Finals '12, 10th FL Finals '11 NBON 2 Mile Champ '13, 2nd NBIN 2 Mile '13)
  • Jack Keelan (Fr., 4:09 1600m, 8:50 3200m, 4th NBON 5k- 14:33, 2nd NBON 1 Mile, 26th NXN '12)
  • Sam Wharton (Fr., NXN Champion '12, 6th FL Finals '12, 8:56 3200m, 5th NBON 5k '13)
  • Patrick Gibson (Fr., 4:11 1600m, 9:01 3200m, FL Finalist '12)
Season Preview

Now that his first year as the Stanford head coach is under his belt, Coach Chris Miltenberg has his first recruiting class of his own to work with along with some horses to lead the charge for this Cardinal team in 2013. 

At first glance, this team is full of studs that are capable of making the top seven on most teams in the NCAA. Almost every single one of the athletes listed above were the big time names in the high school scene coming off of their graduation. The key now is for Miltenberg to help these athletes continually progress and reach their potential to bring Stanford back to the podium. 

There is no shortage of horses in the stable for the Cardinal coming into 2013. As things look right now Erik Olson is the best guy coming back for Stanford. Olson had a very good track season where he ran a huge 10k PR at the Stanford Invite and another big one for 5k at Payton Jordan. He also had a solid NCAA XC race and will be looking at an All-American finish in 2013 with the combination of his track and xc ability. 

The Rosa's are seemingly enigmatic. They have had ups and downs during their first few seasons in the Stanford uniform. Jim had a great Wisco Invite and West Regional (19th and 6th, respectively--struggled at Pac-12s) and Joe had good races at Wisco, Pac-12s and the West Regional (21st, 6th, and 4th), but for both of them the wheels really came off at NCAAs. The Rosa's are the key to a strong season for Stanford. It seems as if the team goes as the Rosa's go. If they can be even more consistent than they have been in the past, they are also potential All-Americans. 

Tyler Stutzman, Michael Atchoo, and Kenny Krotzer are all capable of having break-out years. Atchoo and Stutzman were awesome on the track, especially Atchoo, and if they can get the base beneath them, they could make the jump to 8k and 10k a little better. Atchoo has not been nearly as good as Stutzman has been in cross, but he could have a similar year as O'Hare did in 2012 (in terms of going from a mediocre xc guy to leading the team). All three of these guys are nice fits in any top seven that will be keeping the 1-5 spread as close as possible. 

Andrew Berberick could potentially be Stanford's ace in the hole. After a redshirt year in 2012, he should be fit (if he's healthy) and is no joke on the xc course. his 55th place finish at NCAAs in 2012 was outstanding and that kind of ability does not just fly away. If his fitness is where it should be, he is another guy to add to the list of someone that could be All-American. 

What makes Stanford even scarier, is their unreal good recruiting class. Sean McGorty was one of the best prep runners in the country last season and is an immediate impact kind of guy. He should find himself in the top five off of the bat. His high level experience in high school will prepare him nicely for the long NCAA season. McGorty is one of the few freshman that could actually crack the top-40 at NCAAs, which is very hard to do. 

The other freshman coming with McGorty are no slouches either. Jack Keelan has big time credentials (see above), Patrick Gibson was one of the best guys in Washington, and Sam Wharton was the NXN Champion in 2012 and is another very capable cross guy that could also make an immediate impact in the top seven. 

There is no lack of options for Miltenberg and he is one lucky guy to be working with this caliber of talent. What will be critical for Coach Miltenberg is to keep them training through some of the earlier invitationals to prepare them even better for NCAAs. Stanford has a history of struggling at Nationals, but if there is ever a Stanford squad that is capable of breaking that curse, this is the team to do it. 

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