Wednesday, September 18, 2013

NCAA Men's Cross Country Top 31 Teams- September 17, 2013

After having the chance to do 31 different team previews for the upcoming season, solidifying who transferred where and who is hurt, this is my updated Top 31 Women's teams as of September 17, 2013. The points tab is how many points (according to my calculations) they will score at the NCAA meet. 

1 OK State 95- No doubt the best team in the NCAA right now.

2 Oregon 148- Getting Jenkins and Tanguy (the steepler) makes them even deeper. They now have enough pieces that they are hands down a podium team.

3 Colorado 154- No results since their time trial. Once Hurysz gets healthy they will be very scary.

4 NAU 211- Looking forward to seeing the impact of Hardin and Freriks from this already stacked returning team from 2012.

5 New Mexico 224- The most underrated team in the NCAA. Beyond Caldwell and Millington, U.K. transfers Ross Matheson, Jake Shelley and Alex Cornwell make them even better. Plus Sean Stam, Adam Bitchell, Elmer Engholm, and Pat Zacharias are licking their chops for a chance to score for the Lobos. Joe Franklin's best team ever.

6 Arkansas 256- The best top three in the NCAA. Haile must stay healthy for them to have a chance at the podium. Gonzales is a huge pickup.

7 BYU 301- Beating Portland at home was huge, although both teams were "not taking it very seriously" that West Coast Conference rivalry is real. Thatcher looked good winning and Jason Witt is coming around (former Foot Locker finalist). Returned missionary Jon Nelson has scary upside.

8 Portland 305- If David Perry doesn't bonk at BYU this weekend, they beat the Cougars on their home course. Ryan Poland was not himself either, when him and Perry come around they are a very legitimate contender. (Charlie MacDonald had the best race of his career).

9 E. Kentucky 329- Adding Ambrose Maritim makes them even better than originally thought. Being named the national team of the year is a huge step for this program. Soufiane Bouchikhi and Wade Meddles are shoo-in All-Americans.

10 Syracuse 329- Looked good at the Dartmouth meet and didn't even run half of their best athletes. Whelan, Hehir, and Graves are a good 1-3.

11 Princeton 338- Perfect scored the Delaware meet. Interested to see them prove who they have at Notre Dame in a few weeks.

12 Florida State 344- Better than what people think. Getting Matt Mizereck from Florida was huge for them and Glen Yarham and Jakub Zivec, when healthy, will make their top five real solid. Must stay healthy to keep this position in the rankings.

13 Tulsa 359- Andy Heyes coming back really adds to Tulsa's front pack with Chris O'Hare. Dennis Hodapp, Adam Palamar and Marc Scott are a good five. With limited depth, can they stay healthy?

14 Notre Dame 402- The Irish are much better than what others think. Michael (Martin- joke) Clevenger, J.P. Malette, Scott Milling and Walter Schafer are a nice supporting cast to Jeremy Rae and Martin Grady.

15 NC State 403- Andrew Colley could be the best American in the NCAA right now (obviously a case can be made for Eric Jenkins and others). Crawford, and a bunch of unproven studs keep NC State in the top 15. Looking to see something out of Thomson, Engels, Link, Mansy and Parsons.

16 Stanford 403- So many pieces here. Probably better than 16th in the end- Erik Olson, the Rosa's, Stutzman, Graham are good leaders beside a great class- Wharton, McGorty, and Keelan.

17 Texas 404- Craig Lutz and Ryan Dohner are shoo-in All-Americans. Will Nation, Daniel Vertiz, Brady Turnbull, and Mark Pinales will be battling to score for the Longhorns. The Baylor meet was a good sign of where Nation and Roth and Moore are at this early.

18 Wisconsin 441- Good sign from the Badgers this past weekend at the Sycamore Invite. They are deep, just looking for solid front running from Rob Finnerty. He makes them so much better. Jacob Ershen is looking good for Wisco.

19 Virginia 448- Kyle King and Thomas Porter are a good 1-2. Adam Visokay is going to be big-time for the Cavs this year as a redshirt freshman.

20 UCLA 457- The Bruins have yet to run this year. Curious to see where Fay's fitness is coming off of that nasty injury at the West Regional 5000m.

21 Villanova 515- Jordy Williamsz had a good start to the season in a non scoring race. If he runs like he is capable of, he makes the Wildcats much better than 21st. Tiernan, McEntee and Denault are all very talented.

22 Georgetown 523- Brian King came out of nowhere and was the Hoyas no. 1 runner this weekend at the Navy Invite. Springer was right behind him and with those studs leading the way, this could be a better team than 22. Got to find some depth from Fahy, Darrah and maybe Bile.

23 Iona 561- We will see where the Gaels are at the Paul Short Invite in a few weeks. Iona could surprise us like they did last year and be better than this, but until they prove themselves, I like them at 23.

24 Michigan 588- It will be fun to see the Wolverines' spike up against the Cowboys in Stillwater in a few weeks. Ferlic, Royyan and Beams will be needed to roll up front and find some depth from Blacklaws, Posada, Yau, Mora, Albaugh, etc.

25 Auburn 610- Maybe the most intriguing team in the NCAA purely off of the fact that Auburn is finally relevant for the first time in a while. This weekend they did not look great, but without Jaworski and it being this early, it's hard to knock a team for possibly using a race as a tempo (probably a smart move this early). Things will be more revealing in their next race at the Panorama Invite at Virginia.

26 Florida 624- The Gators look to have four very strong athletes in Clark, Parrish, Hines and Garcia. If Freshman Carlos Miranda continues to improve and impress like he has early, he could be the five they need to qualify for NCAAs and keep their spot in the poll.

27 Washington 626- If Sumner Goodwin can be as good as he was in the Sundodger Invite, the Huskies have found another very good freshman that is "instant offense." Aaron Nelson is good and Jacob Smith and Andrew Gardner will find their way through the Husky pack this season. Washington could be better than what I thought initially.

28 Columbia 633- The Lions will be a mystery to the country of where their fitness is at until October 4th at Notre Dame. Much of their drop in ranking is solely based on their lack of racing early. Once we can see them race, obviously we can adjust their ranking accordingly. Columbia has solid middle distance and pure xc guys so it will be interesting to see how this squad comes together.

29 Iowa State 656- The Cylcones have a lot of question marks surrounding them still with the numerous changes that occurred in the off-season. According to the roster, Charlie Joslin-Allen of the U.K. is on the team (rumor had it that he was asked to not come) and he will help. Also, getting Martin Coolidge another year of eligibility adds to their depth. He is a 29:08 10k guy and should help them.

30 Georgia 725- Coach Patrick Cunniff has a good squad of five athletes that have NCAA experience. This team is one of the most up and coming teams in the NCAA and it will be interesting to see what Charlie Sparks, Brandon Lord and Luke Baker, especially, can do at Griak in a few weeks.

31 Mich. State 835- The Spartans hold onto the final spot in the poll this week. It seems as if the Spartans have three solid athletes (Rhynard, Carruthers, Wilson), but will need to see more from their depth in order to hang on to this spot.

Other teams of note: Indiana, North Carolina, and Arizona State

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