Thursday, August 8, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Men's #15- Tulsa

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: Steve Gulley (12th Season)
2012 National Finish- 7th

Key Returners from 2012
  • Chris O'Hare (Sr., 3:35 1500m, 3:52.98 Mile, 20th NCAA XC '12)
  • Andy Heyes (Sr., 3:44 1500m, 8:00 Open 3k)
  • Marc Scott (So., 8:13 Open 3k,) 14:13 5k, 
  • Danny Thater (Jr., 3:46 1500m, 8:22 Open 3k, All-Midwest Region '12)
  • Tim Rackers (Jr., 8:13 Open 3k, 14:12 5k, 30:40 10k)
  • Dennis Hodapp (Jr., 14:21 5k, 29:55 10k, All-Midwest Region '12)

Impact Recruits/Transfers 
  • Adam Palamar (Redshirt Frosh., 3:38 1500m, 8:20 Open 3k)
Season Preview

In 2012, no team surprised the NCAA in cross country more than this Tulsa team did. Finishing seventh overall in Louisville and winning the Notre Dame Invite, Tulsa was the under-the-radar team that caught everyone off guard (besides themselves). 

The core group athletes that made this team so good last season are back and make Tulsa a real threat once again at the national level. 

O'Hare had never been much of a factor in cross country before 2012, but proved his unreal range last season by winning key meets such as the Notre Dame Invite, Conference USA, and the Midwest Regional. O'Hare also had a very good NCAA meet where he finished 20th individually. 

O'Hare is coming off the best track seasons of his life (although he did red-shirt outdoor) where he broke the collegiate indoor mile record running 3:52.98 at Millrose. This outdoor season on the European Circuit, O'Hare improved upon his 1500m PR by running 3:35 in Belgium just a few months ago. O'Hare is looking at the World Championships now and might not be back very quick to help Tulsa out at the early stages of the season. In fact, rumor has it that he might not be back at all for his senior year. If this is the case, than Tulsa would definitely not be nearly as good as projected. 

Andy Heyes was a very solid contributor for Tulsa in 2012 where he was regularly Tulsa's no. 2. Heyes was nearly All-American in xc in 2012 where he finished 44th and is as good of no. 2 runner in the entire country returning for 2013. 

Marc Scott is a British Olympic Trials qualifier in the 10k and has very good cross country experience, much of it coming from his days in the U.K. and last season with Tulsa as a freshman. This kind of high-level resume will be beneficial for Scott this year as he will be looked up to step-up from his freshman year and be a key contributor for Tulsa near the front of their pack. 

Adam Palamar could possibly have the biggest impact for the Golden Hurricane in 2013. After an amazing summer Palamar ended up running a Canadian National Junior Record in the 1500m in 3:38.92. If Palamar can learn from his teammate O'Hare and prove his chops, not only at the 1500m, but over 8k and 10k, he will be an impact scorer up-front for Tulsa.

The most impressive part of Tulsa's squad in 2012 was their amazing grouping. The video of the Notre Dame Invite is scary watching how good their grouping really was. Obviously, Coach Steve Gulley knows is a good coach and should be able to find more guys to step-up and join their pack. 

The guys that will be looked at to do so include: All-Midwest Regional performers, Danny Thater and Dennis Hodapp, and Tim Rackers. All juniors, these three guys are the crucial parts to the Tulsa pack and have the experience necessary and the taste of what it feels like to be on a winning team that will drive them forth as the season goes on in 2013. 

Coming out of the Midwest Region in 2013 will not be the as tough as it has been in years past. No one is beating Oklahoma State, but the second place spot is definitely doable for Tulsa and they should see themselves in Terre Haute at the Big Dance. If O'Hare returns, Tulsa could be able to have a similar quality season as they did last year, especially if they can pack it up and keep their 1-5 spread tight like they did all season in 2012. 


  1. Andy Heyes will be present for Tulsa this Fall

  2. David Annett will also be present this fall.