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LRC: 2008 Men's NCAA Division One Regional Cross-Country Previews
November 13, 2008

By John Kellogg

Ed.: LetsRun.com coaching guru John Kellogg used all of his OCD powers to break down all 9 NCAA regions and amazingly comes up with top 25 individual predictions for each and every one of them. We know there are bound to be mistakes (namely, completely overlooking an obvious stud or two, or including a D2 athlete by mistake), but we'd love to see you do a better job yourself.

Northeast
The individual race at the Northeast Regional likely will come down to the top Iona guys, Providence's Irishman David McCarthy and recent Heps record setter Ben True. The real intrigue lies in True's strategy. Now a 3-time Heps cross-country champion and an All-American in both cross and track, True blasted an essentially solo sub-24:00 clocking at Van Cortlandt Park, leaving fellow All-American Michael Maag scratching his head in awe and resigned to guarding the runner-up spot over 30 seconds in arrears. In his previous Heps victories, True (a 3:40 1,500m runner) seemed content to sit and kick, but he surprised runners and spectators alike with his purposeful frontrunning at this year's edition, apparently deliberately going for a fast time to crush the field and to test his fitness, which is clearly as good as ever. Will he try the same tactic in the Regional or will he hold back a bit? True is much more likely to have company in this race if he decides to hammer it. The 8th-ranked Iona Gaels boast national-class runners Mohamed Khadraoui (twice top 25 at NCAAs), Andrew Ledwith (67th in 2007 World Cross), and World Junior Cross veterans Harbert Okuti and Ryan Sheridan. McCarthy of Providence is coming off a 23:40 6th-place showing at Pre-Nationals and a solid performance of his own at VCP, finishing 3rd in the Big East Championships in 24:24. The individual battle should be a good one among the runners who elect to go full steam in this race.

The team race here should be a runaway, although we don't know if Iona will hold back or even rest a few runners. The Gaels could hold out two of their top four and still possibly advance, but they typically raced seriously in this meet during the
 Mick Byrne era, and their season so far under Ricardo Santos has proceeded along similar lines (as far as which meets their top runners race), so expect a dominating performance and a score possibly in the 30s. Providence is usually the other shoo-in from this region, and the Friars once again look to have the second-best team on paper, but they have little room for error this year as they don't have much depth. Syracuse, Cornell, Columbia and Dartmouth have all been knocking on the door this season and any of those teams could sneak in with an opportunistic performance if the Friars slip up. Syracuse looked better than Providence in the first week of October, but the Orange have been circling the drain since then, falling short of expectations at Pre-Nationals, then completely laying an egg at the Big East meet. With no guaranteed at-large points, the 'Cuse must find a way to right the ship if they are to keep their Nationals hopes alive, but they certainly have the talent to rebound and accomplish it. Don't count them out yet. Columbia, by contrast, looks to be on the way up. The Lions were only 20th in their section at Pre-Nationals but came through big-time with an impressive display of pack running at the Heps to nearly upend favored Princeton, taking over the third spot in the regional rankings, and seem at the moment to be the strongest challenger to Providence for second in the region, although the four teams in line for that spot are really too close to call. The Cornell Big Red and the Ben True-led Dartmouth Big Green have also shown promise (both squads running respectably at Pre-Nationals, comfortably in front of Columbia) but will surely need their best efforts of the season to challenge for the second auto spot. UMass has a solid group of runners that could make some noise, but a top two team finish is highly unlikely.

LRC Top 25 Individual Picks
Mohamed Khadraoui (Iona)
Andrew Ledwith (Iona)
Ben True (Dartmouth)
David McCarthy (Providence)
Harbert Okuti (Iona)
Ryan Sheridan (Iona)
Brad Miller (Syracuse)
Tim Ritchie (Boston College)
Jon Anderson (Army)
(10) Dan Chenoweth (Harvard)
Zac Hine (Cornell)
Tim Hodge (Stony Brook)
Richard Yeates (Providence)
Dan Busby (Syracuse)
Alex Felce (Stony Brook)
Chris Vizcaino (Iona)
Glenn Randall (Dartmouth)
Chas Gillespie (Harvard)
Duriel Hardy (Brown)
(20) Nils Fischer (Massachusetts)
Hayden McLaren (Providence)
Tom Poland (Columbia)
Adrien Dannemiller (Cornell)
Jonathan Pierce (Massachusetts)
Girma Segni (Marist)

LRC Team Picks
Iona  1-2-5-6-16 = 30
Providence 123
Columbia

Mid-Atlantic
The Mid-Atlantic men's team race will be on the minds of many cross-country coaches across the country. 9th-ranked
 Georgetown is going to easily take the title as they are likely to place 5 in the top 15 of the race. Their pack at Big Easts was a noticeable presence as they easily outclassed a quality field there. It's the team that finishes behind the Hoyas that will be of interest to coaches from other regions. Will it be Villanova, Princeton or Penn State? It looks to be between those three teams. All of those squads have been beaten at various points in the year by schools who will need at-large points to get to the big show, and none of them have too many at-large points locked up. None of the three teams are particularly deep. Penn State's Kyle Dawson came through in a huge way at Big Tens, propelling the Nittany Lions to 4th in the tough conference and a #29 national ranking (and feeding the 
LRC message board haters some crow). Heps team champion Princeton has three great frontrunners in All-American Michael Maag, Ben Sitler and freshman Brian Leung, and 'Nova boasts Ben Guest and Hugo Beamish as top 5 contenders. Guest passed seven runners in the final stretch at last year's Regional to finish 6th overall and vault the Wildcats into the NCAA meet by a 4 point margin. So PSU, Princeton and 'Nova aren't hurting for low sticks and have solid backup from a few men. But it gets interesting at #4 and #5, and it might be really tight for the 2nd auto team spot. We think if Penn State can duplicate their effort from Big Tens, it will be good enough to make the show. But that was an extraordinary effort and, waiting in the wings, both Princeton and Villanova had 5-man averages of 25:00 (in separate races) at Van Cortlandt Park on October 31st, underscoring just how close the battle for the 2nd auto berth is liable to be.

If Sitler stays in England and doesn't compete, Princeton hasn't a snowball's chance.

Individually, look for Big East champ
 Andrew Bumbalough to run a rumblin', stumblin' hard tempo and gobble up the title, kicking off the Georgetown scoring with a single point. Michael Maag was caught out in the DMZ between the surreal 23:59 performance of Ben True and the main pack at Heps, yet the Princeton star still forged out a nice 24:32 clocking, while the other Mid-Atlantic contenders ran in the high 24:30s or 24:40s on the same course in the Big East race with the benefit of a close pack, so we'll give the edge to Maag for 2nd in the individual race.

LRC Top 25 Individual Picks
Andrew Bumbalough (Georgetown)
Michael Maag (Princeton)
Alayew Taye (Georgetown)
Ben Guest (Villanova)
Hugo Beamish (Villanova)
Levi Miller (Georgetown)
Kyle Dawson (Penn State)
Justin Scheid (Georgetown)
Ben Sitler (Princeton)
(10) Mike Krisch (Georgetown)
Tyler McCandless (Penn State)
Michael Banks (Georgetown)
Brian Leung (Princeton)
John Mahoney (Penn State)
Derek Dutille (Duquesne)
Korey Edwards (LaSalle)
Josh Eddy (Duquesne)
Keith Capecci (Villanova)
Vince McNally (Penn State)
Andrew Hanko (Navy)
(20) Greg Kelsey (Maryland)
James Grimes (Georgetown)
Carlos Jamieson (American)
Trevon Rainford (LaSalle)
Daniel Lewis (Villanova)

LRC Team Picks
Georgetown  1-3-6-8-10 = 28
Penn State  78
Princeton  82
Villanova  89

Southeast

The Southeast Regional will provide us with another glimpse at NCAA favorite Sam Chelanga of Liberty. The Flames have little shot of advancing as a team, but the running world would be shocked if they don't walk away with the individual champion. How will Chelanga attack the race?

The likely team champions will be Jason Vigilante's Virginia Cavaliers, fresh off of their ACC title two weeks ago. But a letdown after conference might lose the region for UVA, as William & Mary and North Carolina State may be firing on all cylinders coming into the season's first 10k race. W&M had an easy time at conference after taking 6th in the Blue section at Pre-Nationals. They have a deep team with good frontrunners and could win the thing, their chances bolstered a bit if a full-strength Ben Massam returns to action. In any case, they are going to Terre Haute on the strength of their 6th at Pre-Nats even if they get third here. NC State seems to have more pressure on their shoulders to get in the top 2, as they didn't do as well as W&M at Pre-Nats (they were only 10th, beating potential NCAA qualifiers Notre Dame and Butler). But the Wolfpack is coming on strong with the addition of Gavin Coombs at ACCs, where they defeated previously-ranked Florida State and a solid Virginia Tech team.

It's going to be a great 3-team battle between UVA, W&M and NC State, with Va. Tech probably in 4th. Individual qualifiers will likely be Chelanga of Liberty, Joseph Maina of Eastern Kentucky, Devin Cornwall of Virginia Tech, and either Adu Dentamo of Charlotte, Bo Waggoner of Duke or Patrick Cheptoek of Western Kentucky.

LRC Top 25 Individual Picks
Sam Chelanga (Liberty)
Ryan Foster (Virginia)
Joseph Maina (Eastern Kentucky)
Jon Grey (William & Mary)
Bobby Mack (North Carolina State)
Devin Cornwall (Virginia Tech)
Adu Dentamo (Charlotte)
Colin Leak (William & Mary)
Ryan Collins (Virginia)
(10) John Martinez (North Carolina State)
Patterson Wilhelm (William & Mary)
Patrick Cheptoek (Western Kentucky)
Andy Biladeau (Virginia)
Emil Heineking (Virginia)
Bo Waggoner (Duke)
Ryan Hill (North Carolina State)
Adam Henken (Kentucky)
Jordan McDougal (Liberty)
Gavin Coombs (North Carolina State)
(20) Matt Llano (Richmond)
Billy Berlin (Virginia Tech)
Andrew Benford (Richmond)
Mike Hammond (Virginia Tech)
Jesse Cherry (High Point)
Evans Kiptoo (Eastern Kentucky)

Ben Massam (William & Mary) ?

LRC Team Picks
Virginia  65
William & Mary  78
North Carolina State  81
Virginia Tech

South
Alabama-rama! Tide and Tigers to roll and maul the competition.

Will
 Florida State qualify for NCAAs as a team, or will their late-season woes continue? It seemed ludicrous just a few weeks ago to even suggest that the FSU Seminoles cross-country team will be relying on at-large points to get to the big dance. They won the Notre Dame meet, then were 4th in their section at Pre-Nats without ace Luke Gunn - two phenomenal performances! But after a disastrous showing at ACCs, where the boys from Tallahassee (we can just hear Keith Jackson's legendary voice) only finished 4th, Florida State will need to get back on the horse in a hurry. If Gunn returns to top form (he set an FSU all-time best of 23:35 in taking 4th at Notre Dame), he represents a threat to break up the African juggernaut and finish in the top 5, in which case, FSU will probably be in good shape. Otherwise, cross-state rival Florida could sneak up to third, leaving FSU in a bit-too-precarious 4th in the South Regional. If that situation does occur, Florida will almost certainly make Nationals by getting pushed in by an FSU team with a ton of at-large points.

Individually, the Africans of Alabama and Auburn are going to wage another great battle two weeks removed from SECs. At the league meet, Auburn freshman Girma Mesecho took it to veterans Tyson David and Augustus Maiyo of Alabama, among others. We think 10k should favor experience and elder runners, but we'll have to wait to see the final results before we fully count out Mesecho. Assuming Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Florida State all make NCAAs, then the at-large individual qualifiers will likely come from the following runners: CAA champ Mark Steeds (Georgia St.), Micah Tirop (S. Alabama), Adam Lenz and Robert Scribner of Mississippi St., Kenneth Rotich (E. Tennessee St.) and Michael Spooner and Andrew Press of Tennessee.

LRC Top 25 Individual Picks
Tyson David (Alabama)
Girma Mesecho (Auburn)
Felix Kiboiywo (Auburn)
Augustus Maiyo (Alabama)
Elkanah Kibet (Auburn)
Emmanuel Bor (Alabama)
Jeremy Criscione (Florida)
Mark Steeds (Georgia State)
Micah Tirop (South Alabama)
(10) Matt Leeder (Florida State)
Abraham Kutingala (Alabama)
Luke Gunn (Florida State)
Steeve Gabart (Florida State)
Justin Taylor (Florida)
Adam Lenz (Mississippi State)
Robert Scribner (Mississippi State)
Andrew Kirwa (Alabama)
Kenneth Rotich (East Tennessee State)
Sean Blaney (Florida)
(20) Michael Spooner (Tennessee)
Nick Sunseri (Florida State)
Andrew Press (Tennessee)
Scott Novack (Auburn)
Benjamin Ronoh (East Tennessee State)
Kyle Lewis (Mississippi)

LRC Team Picks
Alabama  1-4-6-11-17 = 39
Auburn
Florida State
Florida

Great Lakes
The Great Lakes Regional is always an interesting meet where teams from several conferences battle it out for bids to Nationals. The major conference presence is clearly the Big Ten, with annual power monger
 Wisconsin at the front of the list, followed by a strong Michigan team and solid squads from Indiana and Michigan State. This year, Notre Dame is the only other team in the region ranked in the top 30 nationally, though in the past Butler, Eastern Michigan and Miami (OH) have had more nationally-competitive squads.

Wisconsin is coming off of their first Big 10 team victory under former Iona coach Mick Byrne. After the meet in Ann Arbor, Byrne credited Wisconsin runner Landon Peacock for breaking the race open early on and weakening the Wolverines enough in the final kilometers so the Badgers could catch them. Peacock went on to finish second at Big Tens, so he'll surely be looking to get the win this time. He'll have a tough time as he'll be facing Patrick Smyth of Notre Dame. Smyth also finished second at his league meet, Big Easts, after blocking the wind for 7.5k for Georgetown standout Andrew Bumbalough before Bumbi dispatched the Fighting Irishman easily in the homestretch. It will be interesting to see which one, if any, of these two, Peacock and Smyth, will push the pace early. We think if we had just gone out and led a good chunk of our league meet only to get mercilessly eaten alive at the end, we might try to sit and kick on someone at Regionals.

As regards teams, Wisco and Michigan are going to NCAAs. But Notre Dame, Michigan State and Indiana are totally on the bubble. Indiana ran terribly at Big Tens, Notre Dame looked pretty good at Big Easts (but beating Villanova, Providence and Syracuse doesn't mean as much as it would have 2 months - or 2 years - ago), and Michigan State looks every bit the part of a bubble NCAA team. Look for 2 of the 3 bubble sitters to bounce into Nationals, leaving 1 (we're predicting Indiana) with a sticky, soapy residue.

Individually, we've already mentioned Smyth (that's Irish for "Smith," by the way) vs. Peacock. But to omit mention of 2003 Foot Locker Champion Matt Withrow would go against every rule of journalism. Withrow has it all. Prep phenom, nationally-recognized name, 3-time XC All-American (9th as a freshman!), long list of challenging injuries, big-time team, senior year, missed the top 20 at conference, perhaps rounding into form ... you get it; it will be interesting to see where he ends up both at the Regional and at Nationals.

LRC Top 25 Individual Picks
Patrick Smyth (Notre Dame)
Landon Peacock (Wisconsin)
Sean McNamara (Michigan)
Andy Baker (Butler)
Josh Karanja (Eastern Michigan)
Christian Wagner (Wisconsin)
Craig Forys (Michigan)
Jack Bolas (Wisconsin)
Ciaran O'Lionard (Michigan)
(10) Matt Withrow (Wisconsin)
Brennon Plotner (Indiana)
Justin Switzer (Michigan)
Stuart Eagon (Wisconsin)
Ben Hubers (Indiana)
Craig Miller (Wisconsin)
Pat Sovacool (Miami, OH)
Rob Mullett (Butler)
Jake Walker (Notre Dame)
Patrick Grosskopf (Michigan State)
(20) Brandon Fellows (Michigan)
Spencer Beatty (Michigan State)
Taylor Williams (Ohio State)
Joe Miller (Notre Dame)
Adam Sprangel (Michigan State)
Tim McLeod (Indiana)

LRC Team Picks
Wisconsin  2-6-8-10-13 = 39
Michigan  3-7-9-12-20 = 51
Notre Dame
Michigan State
Indiana
Butler

Midwest
One of our favorite Regional Championships is the Midwest, simply because we'll get to see 2nd-ranked
 Oklahoma State again, this time over a 10k course against some new competition. Up next for German Fernandez and Co. are Minnesota's Hassan Mead (2008 Big Ten Champion) and Tulsa's John Beattie (2008 Conference USA Champion). Don't look for a tight team battle for spot numero uno; Ok. State could very well tally the lowest score at any of the Regional Championships this year. Save your scrutiny for the Cowboys' pack. They appear to be the only team that could dethrone Oregon at NCAAs, so look closely at how freshman studs Fernandez and Colby Lowe are holding up late in their first collegiate season. Besides powerhouse Ok. St., look for a good team race between nationally-ranked teams from Iowa State (#21), Tulsa (#15) and Minnesota (#14). Iowa State is led by Kiel UhlGuor Marial and Hillary Bor, three interesting names if we do say so ourselves. We hope they make it as they may have the most uniquely-named individuals in the history of NCAA cross-country.

The bulk of the top finishers in this region should come from the four nationally-ranked teams. Notable individuals who have mixed it up with the region's best this season include
 Iowa's Jesse Luciano (14th at Griak, 9th at Big 10) and Jeff Schirmer of S. Illinois (23:49 for 3rd at the Greater Louisville Classic, beating several nationally-competitive runners, also MVC champion in a course record). Jonah Lagat of Oral Roberts got off to a slow start this season but has come on of late to look like a top 15 runner with his 23:53 Summit League victory over S. Utah's Cameron Levins.

LRC Top 25 Individual Picks
German Fernandez (Oklahoma State)
John Kosgei (Oklahoma State)
Hassan Mead (Minnesota)
John Beattie (Tulsa)
Ryan Vail (Oklahoma State)
Chris Rombough (Minnesota)
Colby Lowe (Oklahoma State)
Kiel Uhl (Iowa State)
David Chirchir (Oklahoma State)
(10) Guor Marial (Iowa State)
Jesse Luciano (Iowa)
Jeff Schirmer (Southern Illinois)
Jonah Lagat (Oral Roberts)
Dan Hedgecock (Missouri)
Eddie Henshaw (Tulsa)
Jacob Nachtel (Illinois)
Matt Barrett (Minnesota)
Hillary Bor (Iowa State)
Matt Barnes-Smith (Oklahoma State)
(20) Mike Torchia (Minnesota)
Eric MacTaggart (Iowa)
Daniel Watts (Oklahoma State)
Matt Mroczynski (Illinois State)
Lewis Timmins (Tulsa)
Garett Jeffries (Missouri)

LRC Team Picks
Oklahoma State  1-2-5-7-9 = 24
Minnesota  72
Tulsa  80
Iowa State  102

South Central
Redemption for Arkansas?

After seeing their 34-season conference XC winning streak come to an end just two weeks ago, the Arkansas Razorback men will be running with nothing to lose in the South Central Regional. Four weeks ago at the Chile Pepper Invitational, the Texas A&M Aggies rolled into Fayetteville and roasted the Hogs on their home turf. It will be interesting to see which team comes out on top in the rematch. It looks like only two teams will advance from this region (Texas A&M and Arkansas are the likely candidates), as Lamar has barely fallen short of the depth to get in the top 2 and the Texas Longhorns seem to have been de-horned this year. Look out for Lamar, especially if Arkansas decides to push the pace like wild animals as they did at SECs. The individual NCAA qualifiers from the South Central will probably all hail from Kenya. Lamar's Samuel Kosgei is 2-for-2 this season (Notre Dame, Chile Pepper) vs. 2007 NCAA 10,000m champ and two-time XC All-American Shadrack Songok of Texas A&M (formerly of A&M-Corpus Christi), and these two should duke it out again for the Regional individual crown, with fellow Kenyans Francis Kasagule (Lamar), Festus Kigen (TCU) and Kalphys Kemboi (SE La.) trying to stay close. Arkansas leader Scott MacPherson should also be in the fight for a top 3 finish.

Interesting note: of all the regions, the South Central, a region loaded with Kenyans and other foreigners, has the lowest-ranked #1 team (Texas A&M at #22) and has only 2 ranked teams. We don't really think this means anything; we just find it a bit odd.

LRC Top 25 Individual Picks
Samuel Kosgei (Lamar)
Shadrack Songok (Texas A&M)
Scott MacPherson (Arkansas)
Francis Kasagule (Lamar)
Festus Kigen (TCU)
Kalphys Kemboi (Southeast Louisiana)
Andy McClary (Arkansas)
Kevin McNab (Texas A&M)
Alex McClary (Arkansas)
(10) Mitch Bible (Texas A&M)
Henry Rop (Southeast Louisiana)
Michael Chinchar (Arkansas)
Victor Gras (Texas)
Jake Morse (Texas)
Daniel LaCava (Arkansas)
Kevin Ondrasek (Texas A&M)
Hillary Samoei (Lamar)
Habben Berhane (Texas)
Joe Sauvageau (Texas A&M)
(20) Lane Boyer (Arkansas)
Idillio Campos (UT-Arlington)
Dennis Yeats (Stephen F. Austin)
Frank Bwambale (Lamar)
Luis Nava (UT-Pan American)
Drew Bean (Lamar)

LRC Team Picks

Arkansas  3-7-9-12-15 = 46
Texas A&M  2-8-10-16-19 = 55
Lamar 1-4-17-23-25 = 70
Texas

Mountain
It looks like three teams have a realistic chance to advance out of the Mountain region this year:
 NAU, Colorado and BYU. Many predicted that UKEP UTEP would have a strong year in 2008, and they certainly have the top 3 to start it off. It's the #4 and #5 runners for the Miner men who have emerged as question marks, as depth has been a problem all year. They were only 7th at Dellinger, 13th at Pre-Nats, and 2nd to Tulsa in C-USA, their first league XC loss in the last 4 years! So unless they finish in the top 2, unseating a ranked team, it looks like UTEP will be staying home on the Monday before Thanksgiving ... that is, some of the team will be staying home. Japheth Ngo'joy, Nicodemus Ng'etich and Patrick Mutai (2, 3 and 4 at C-USA in blazing times) will all challenge in the top 10 of the Mountain Regional, and for 3 of the 4 automatic individual bids.

Look out for negative-splitting Colorado and Mark Wetmore's late season magic. If the race was on a hilly course at altitude, we'd definitely say the Buffaloes had a chance to upset NAU by coming on strong in the final kilometers. But the course is flat and NAU will probably be too footloose for Colorado or BYU to handle with any tactical maneuvering. Hmmm, a flat, fast 10k on grass. Sounds like UTEP's Kenyans might have a shot after all at reclaiming some of the glory that has appeared to wane this year. New Mexico also has a good squad that could surprise some people if everybody is healthy. Led by Jacob Kirwa (19th at Pre-Nats), the Lobos missed David Bishop for part of the season, but if he is back and running well, UNM could figure into the already tightly-bunched team race. Could be a very interesting team picture when all is said and done!

LRC Top 25 Individual Picks
David McNeill (NAU)
Mark Korir (Wyoming)
Stephen Shay (BYU)
Japheth Ngo'joy (UTEP)
Nicodemus Ng'etich (UTEP)
Jordan Kyle (Colorado)
Jacob Kirwa (New Mexico)
Ben Ashkettle (NAU)
Kyle Perry (BYU)
(10) Patrick Mutai (UTEP)
Gilbert Limo (Texas Tech)
Diego Estrada (NAU)
Morton Bostrom (NAU)
Bryant Jensen (Weber State)
Chris Pannone (Colorado)
Kenyon Neuman (Colorado)
Dan Hinckley (BYU)
Cameron Levins (Southern Utah)
Richard Medina (Colorado)
(20) Mark Fruin (NAU)
Rory Fraser (New Mexico)
Matt Williams (Air Force)
Mat Ashton (New Mexico)
Aggrey Chirchir (UTEP)
Sean Houseworth (Air Force)

David Bishop (New Mexico) ?

LRC Team Picks
NAU  1-8-12-13-20 = 54
BYU  84
Colorado  85
UTEP  93
New Mexico

West
How cool would it be if
 Galen Rupp won in 28:40, dashed through the finishing chute, and pulled out a sign that said:


NCAA West Regional Cross Country 2008 - Rupp Certified!

We predict a Rupp win, an Oregon win, and a tight race for 2nd and 3rd between Portland and Stanford, two teams that will fight for a podium spot at NCAAs. There could be a great freshman battle over 10k cross-country between Oregon's Luke Puskedra and Stanford's Chris Derrick. Also, California, Washington, Cal Poly and UCLA will be in a dogfight for places 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the team race. These places could be crucial for NCAA qualifying for the four ranked teams.

The West region has 7 ranked teams, including 3 in the top 4 in the nation (Oregon #1, Stanford #3 and Portland #4, with Cal, Cal Poly, Washington and UCLA behind). To show how close the team battle may be, Cal, Washington and UCLA all scored between 104 and 106 points at PAC-10s! And Cal Poly, the only team of the 4 not in the PAC-10, is ranked 1 spot ahead of Cal in the national poll! We aren't going to go into some long-winded guessing game with at-large points; there are simply too many scenarios. From what we've seen from the other regions, all 7 of the ranked teams in the West deserve to be at NCAAs. So strong is this region that individuals who would have no trouble placing in the top 15 or even top 10 of most other regions may not find themselves in the top 25 here. While we may have accidentally overlooked a stud or two in this region (and a few other regions), we are definitely aware of several very good runners that we've left off the top 25 list because we just think the guys we picked have a better shot. What a stud-filled region!

LRC Top 25 Individual Picks
Galen Rupp (Oregon)
Garrett Heath (Stanford)
Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (Oregon)
David Kinsella (Portland)
Luke Puskedra (Oregon)
Chris Derrick (Stanford)
Alfred Kipchumba (Portland)
Yosef Ghebray (California)
Paul Limpf (Eastern Washington)
(10) Jake Riley (Stanford)
Drew Shackleton (UCLA)
Andrew Wheating (Oregon)
Tommy Betterbed (Portland)
Jeremy Mineau (Washington)
Matt Centrowitz, Jr. (Oregon)
Laef Barnes (UCLA)
Hakon DeVries (Stanford)
Matt Frerker (Portland)
Mark Matusak (California)
(20) Curtis Suver (Oregon)
Jake Schmitt (Washington)
Danny Mercado (Oregon)
Alex Smyth (Eastern Washington)
Scott Smith (UC-Santa Barbara)
Drew Polley (Washington State)

LRC Team Picks
Oregon  1-3-5-12-15 = 36
Stanford  62
Portland  71
California
Cal Poly
Washington
UCLA

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