By: Kyle Markley
Last Saturday the colligate cross country season officially ended with National Championships across the NCAA and NAIA. Across the country the best runners competed in their last race of the 2021 cross country season. At the beginning of this season I made some bold predictions which you can read here, this article will discuss how my predictions turned out as well as recap the races that took place.
1. NAU Men Bring Home their 5th Title in 6 years
Arguably the greatest dynasty in NCAA cross country history did it again. This team is competing on a level that hasn’t been seen before in this sport. Watching NAU compete is like watching the Chicago Bulls of the 90’s, all they do is win. I picked this team to win it all from the start, they were too good not to. Coach Smith has created a Nick Saban esc system where he brings in top notch runners and turns them into the best team season after season. With the new crop of freshmen coming to Flagstaff next fall, it doesn’t look like its not going to change for the Lumberjacks. I predict they will win their 6th title next year making it their second three peat.
2. The Lady Wolf Pack bring home their first team title
The strength of the pack was on full display this season, NC State’s pack time was 2nd to none this season. Ending last season with a runner up finish there was only one goal left, to win it all. And they did that in dominant fashion, winning the team title in 84 points. Nearly 40 points less than BYU’s 122. NC State made racing look like a tempo run the whole season with their pack of runners at the front of every race.
3. Michigan State Earned Two All American Honors
At the beginning of the season, I picked MSU’s Morgan Beadlescomb and Jenna Magness to have top ten performances at nationals. On a tough course Magness finished 14th and Beadlescomb finished 5th, which wasn’t what I had predicted but still two phenomenal performances by these Spartans. Come indoor season keep a look out for these two to be contending for the national title in the 5000m.
1. Grand Valley State University and Adam State Dominated
On a sunny day at St. Leo University the men and women of GVSU and Adam State competed on another level than the rest of the field. On the women’s side Adam State won a close team battle with GVSU with a score of 59-79. But GVSU won the individual battle with first and second overall finishes by Hannah Becker and Klaudia O’Malley. This is the first time in three years where the women’s team champion did not have the individual champion as well.
On the men’s side it was all GVSU, winning the individual and team title over rival Adam State. Leading the Lakers were Isaac Harding and Tanner Chada going first and second overall. Along with the rest of the Laker top five finishing 10th, 12th, and 18th. Leading GVSU to their second men’s title in program history.
2. Colorado Teams Rounded out the rest of the podium on the Men’s side
Rounding out the team score on the men’s side was Adam State in 2nd, Colorado School of Mines in 3rd, and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in 5th. Which was one place off the 2-4 sweep I projected earlier in the season, but still a great showing by all these teams. The state of Colorado proves yet again they are the premier state for cross country in Division II.
1. Pomona-Pitzer Repeats as the men’s team champions
The defending national champions competed in Louisville, Kentucky this past weekend, the site of their last National Championship in 2019. Pomona-Pitzer beat out runner up MIT 80-112. With their top three runners returning next season the future looks bright for this team.
2. John Hopkins Women repeat as team Champions
The Blue Jays narrowly beat out Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 130-132. This makes seven team titles in the last nine years for John Hopkins, a true show of dominance over the last decade. And with six of their top seven from this season returning next year, it looks like its going to be their title to lose. My preseason pick to win it all Washington U. finished in 5th.
3. Alex Phillip takes home the men’s individual title
The sophomore won the race in a time of 23:27 beating out Williams Elias Lindgren by three seconds. Phillip finished 15th at the last cross country championships and was the only freshmen to finish in the top 25. With how much success Phillip has had it looks like he’s going to have a bright future ahead of him. Joe Freiburger, my preseason pick to win the race finished an impressive 8th overall.
1. Milligan wins both Men’s and Women's Team Titles
The Buffs dominated the NAIA national meet on Saturday to take home all the hardware. The men won with a score of 115 over St Mary’s (KS) 175. My men’s pick Taylor ended up finishing 11th overall. On the women’s side, the lady Buffs won with a score of 122 over 141 points of the defending champions St. Francis (Ill.). With these victory Milligan became the 3rd NAIA program ever to sweep the men’s and women's team titles.
1. Vincent Nchogu, Iowa Central take home men’s title
Vincent Nchogu of Northwest Kansas took home the individual title in a time of 24:04 at the National meet in Richmond, Va. My preseason predication, Kelvin Bungei earned a 3rd place finish and helped his team, Iowa Central win the men’s team championship.
1. Cowley College men’s team wins the National Championship
The number one ranked team in their division won the championship with a score of 82 points over Daytona State College’s 102 points. Cowley College also had the first and second place overall finishers Adrian Diaz-Lopez and Amos Pkiach.
2. Lansing Community College women’s team wins the National Championship
The Stars won the meet with a score of 78 to runner’s up Heartland Community College’s 94 points. LCC came into the meet ranked the number one team in the division led by fifth place finisher Haley Ellis. Heartland CC was ranked second going into the National meet with their top finisher Natalie Garneau finishing 8th.
1. Joliet Junior College and Oxford College take home men’s and women's Team Titles
On the men’s side Joliet Junior College won the championship with a score of 91 points beating out Mineral Area College with a score of 97 points. On the women’s side Oxford College won with a score of 40 points over Joliet Junior College’s 57 points.