Thursday, August 22, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Men's #9- Portland

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: Rob Conner (24th Season)
2012 National Finish- 12th

Key Returners from 2012
  • Scott Fauble (Jr., 3:45 1500m, 14:00 5k, 29:11 10k)
  • David Perry (Jr., 3:45 1500m, 13:58 5k, 29:09 10k)
  • William Kincaid (Jr., 3:45 1500m, 13:58 5k, 29:49 10k)
Impact Recruits/Transfers
  • William Krebs (Jr., From Germany- 8:02 Open 3k, 14:13 5k, 29:21 10k)
  • Josh Gorecki (Sr., 14:10 5k)
  • Danny Martinez (Redshirt Frosh, 8:57 3200m (HS), 9th USA Jr XC Champs '13)
  • Ryan Poland (Jr., 8:01 Open 3k, 14:03 5k, 29:30 10k)
    Season Preview

    Editor's note: Ryan Poland of Oklahoma has now transferred to Portland. This addition makes Portland even better. 

    There is not a team in the country, besides BYU, that I know more about than Portland. After studying their athletes and their performances very closely over the last three years, Portland is as consistent a team in the country of producing when it matters and Rob Conner is a master recruiter. Even if there seemingly should be a down year in Portland, like last season (Dunbar, Osoro and Kipchumba gone) Conner still somehow won the West Coast Championship, was 2nd in the West Regional and finished 12th in Louisville. 

    With a very solid core group of returning studs and some very good incoming guys, the Pilots are looking like a much improved team from 2012. Everything starts with the three guys from Colorado. Scott Fauble, David Perry and William (Woody) Kincaid lead this sqaud and are the heart and soul of the program.

    Scott Fauble has been the no. 1 runner for the Pilots for the majority of the last year. Fauble is a tough competitor and has solid NCAA experience. His 11th place finish at NCAA at 10k in 2012 and 26th (All-American) finish at NCAAs last season is proof of that. He has very good range from 1500m to 10000 and needs to stay healthy and consistent for this triumvirate to do any damage. 

    David Perry is a very talented athlete that lacks the consistency that Fauble has. He definitely has the ability to roll with Fauble in every move they make on the course or track, it is just a matter of him doing it when it matters most. In fact, Perry has the best PRs on the team on the track and is capable of being All-American in 2013, if he can stick to Fauble and stay consistently healthy and fit throughout the season. 

    Woody Kincaid is a wildcard on this team. His huge run at the West Coast Cross Country meet in 2012 was a big reason why they upset BYU on their home course. Kincaid is a very untapped, talented athlete that if he can get the miles in this summer he could end up being the no. 1 runner on the team in 2013. Like Perry, Kincaid is a sub-14 5k guys and is capable of stepping up to 10k no problem. This three-headed monster is one of the best group of three in the NCAA and are all capable of All-American. 

    Beyond these three are a lot of question marks and new guys. Jacob Smith, Izaic Yorks and Aiden Irish, all significant contributors in 2012, are now running for different schools, but the Pilots have filled their space with fresh new faces already. 

    Danny Martinez is someone who can make an immediate impact for the Pilots. He is a proven cross country runner, having run well at the USA Junior meet this past year and was very good in high school. He can step right in to the top five and score for Portland. 

    Robert Krebs and Josh Gorecki are even more of a question mark than Martinez. Krebs might be the most talented of the two for 10k, but they are seemingly even at 5k and under. Gorecki is an experienced veteran runner that has one year to produce for the Pilots. Krebs is also an older athlete (24) and with his track ability he should be looking at the no. 4 spot for Rob Conner for the majority of the season.

    The West Coast Conference Championships will once again be a battle between BYU and Portland. Portland is coming down to Provo to race BYU early at the beginning of September at the BYU Autumn Classic and that race will be a good indication where everyone's fitness is at and how things will shape out at the end of the season. Portland has some studs, but are not nearly as deep as they have been in years past. If the transfers can step up and support the Colorado triumvirate, Portland is back in the top 10 at NCAAs in 2013. 

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