Friday, August 2, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Men's #21 Virginia

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: Peter Watson (2nd Season)
2012 National Finish- 14th

Key Returners from 2012
  • Kyle King (So..,3:44 1500m, 13:55 5k, 8:57 3k Steeple)
  • Thomas Porter (Jr., 14:03 5k, 29:34 10k)
  • Drew Paisley (Jr., 14:26 5k, 30:13 10k
  • Jack St. Marie (So., 14:34 5k, 30:58 10k)
  • Chris Foley (Jr., 14:03 5k, 30:04 10k)

Impact Recruits/Transfers
  • Connor Rog (Redshirt Frosh., FL Finalist 18th, 9:09 3200m)
  • Henry Wynne (Fr., 1:49.9 800m 4:10 1600m, 9:04 3200m, NBON Mile Champ)
  • Thomas Madden (Fr., 4:15 1600m, 8:56 3200m, 23rd at FL Finals '11)
  • Mike Marsella (Redshirt Frosh., 4:09 Mile, 8:49 3200m, 19th at FL Finals '11)

Season Preview

The defending Southeast Regional champions return in 2013 season, four of their top seven runners from 2012. The losses that they have are critical though as Zach Gates was an All-American performer and Mark Amirault was as good a no. 2 runner on any team in the country. 

Coach Peter Watson has a very deep crew returning that has incredible upside. 

Sophomore Kyle King is one of the best young distance runners in the country coming off of an impressive freshman campaign in 2012. After a good nationals race where he was the no. 3 runner for the Cavaliers, King, along with Thomas Porter, are the go-to guys for Coach Watson. A good track season where he broke the 9:00 mark for the 3k Steeple adds to his already impressive freshman PR of 13:55 for 5000m. With this kind of quality freshman year, it seems as if the sky is the limit for Kyle.

Junior Thomas Porter is the other possible no. 1 man for Virginia heading into 2013. Porter has proven himself on the xc course, but also was able to show his track ability this past spring. A 16th individual finish at Outdoor Nats in the 10k, Porter can now use that momentum to have a great summer and come ready to roll for this upcoming season. Porter has demonstrated his ability to improve year after year and that should remain the case this year. 

Virginia also has some very good depth with solid racing experience coming back that can help fill out the rest of the top seven that the great recruiting classes they have had back to back years does not. Chris Foley, Jack St. Marie and Drew Paisley are all capable xc runners and the Cavs are going to need at least one of them step up to take this team to the next level.

After having two incredibly good recruiting classes these past two seasons, Virginia has a quality stable of guys that hopefully can immediately make an impact in their scoring. All of them have fantastic credentials and very good experience running at a high level. 

Henry Wynne is the New Balance Outdoor Nationals Mile Champion from this past spring and is a legitimate competitor and winner. Thomas Madden is a sub-9:00 3200m runner, which generally translates as a great xc runner in college. He also is a former FL Finalist which is a good indication of his ability. Redshirt freshman Connor Rog and Mike Marsella are also FL Finalists from 2011 and after a year of solid collegiate level training under their belts, should be ready to step into the top seven this season.

Obviously Virginia is deep. Peter Watson has done a good job with the athletes he has been given and did a great job with his first recruiting class (post-Vig). With the upside that his athletes have, it is only a matter of time when this squad is top-10 at NCAAs. Do not sleep on Virginia, a repeat Southeast Regional Championship is very possible which could lead to a top-10 finish in Terre Haute. 


  1. Forgot Adam Visokay at Virginia, Redshirt frosh: in high school Top 10 finisher at Nike Cross Nationals 2011, second place NBIN 2 mile behind Cheserek.

  2. Add Transfer Zach Herriot from Oklahoma