MIAC XC is upon us.
Who will overtrain this summer trying to match the legendary 110+ mile weeks of Henry Bowman. Who will spend days trying to match the personal pain cave Lloyd creates purely by existing. And who will be the next athlete with a head pasted on Dave Rick'sssss Hawaiian shirt? What top freshman will make an impact?
While teams like Bethel and Augsburg are much improved, it’s four team race this Fall with Macalester entering the conversation due to an incredibly strong Track season and what is rumored to be a strong recruiting class. The Big 3 remains the same with Collegeville and Northfield looking to be the favorite.
I don’t know anything about Carleton’s recruiting class, but with the return of Bowman for a 5th year and the fantastic sophomore duo of Nichols/Llewelyn they will be incredibly strong. Jones placed 10th at the MIAC meet last year and I fully expect Meier or Lyness to close that gap. I’ve also heard rumors that Reece Anderson wants to be the first ever top 5 MIAC XC runner/top 5 MIAC decathlete in one year. If he decides he wants to do that, nobody will be able to stop him.
St. John’s will be ready to roll this Fall and should be a strong contender at the National and Regional level. Lloyd will be fighting several others for the individual championship and will be a dangerous big stick. None of us are actually sure how old Diekmann is, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the Johnnies scoring five this Fall. Tommy Allen is doing altitude training all summer and will want to disprove the haters who claimed to have never heard of him on the Track thread. Carter Grove’s Spring showed why he is one of the most dangerous men in the MIAC. He’s a dark horse favorite for the MIAC title and will be the reason the Johnnies claim the first non-Northfield championship in many years.
St. Olaf will again be strong, but the loss of so many key seniors leaves them lacking experience and big guns. Will Kelly was an All-American last year and should be a championship contender this year, but I don’t expect him to finish higher than fourth. If Curtis runs, they could be a threat, but I don’t think they are any better than the Carleton or St. John’s. This isn’t the sad state of affairs known as the MIAC Track 10K. Teams actually want to run the XC Championship. They do return five sub 15 guys, but a huge gap after that group leaves no margin for error or injury. Alumni tell me the total lack of distance coaching will sink them again despite rumors of a sub 9:20 commit.
Onto the individual contenders –
1. Bati – He absolutely dominated everyone in the Fall and definitely has the talent to be a top 5 guy Nationally.
2. Calvin Boone – I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run away from the field if it doesn’t go out fast. Remember, he ran 3:47 two years ago.
3. Lloyd – He’s not coming back for a 5th year to do anything other than contend for a title. Also, his patented slow to fast racing principle did snag him an All-American spot in XC.
4. Carter Grove – He’ll exact revenge on Will Kelly after the close MIAC steeple race
5. Will Kelly – I said fourth earlier, but now I think fifth.
6. Gabe/Roy/Bowman – all finish in some order here.
9. Lars DeWall – He always just seems to be in the top group without much fanfare.
10. Tor Olsson – I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take four minutes off his 8K PR and be an All-American. This guy’s improvement is absurd.
Others to consider in no particular order:
Grand (SJU) - He's always in the mix.
McKee (Mac) ran 9:18 and 15:03. He has to be in the conversation.
Lynn (STO) – didn’t have much of a track season, but did PR with a sub 15
Tommy Allen (SJU) – he’s always dangerous
Nick St. Peter (SJU)– he’s just figuring out this college running thing. He’ll be a top five MIAC finisher by the time he’s done
Thompson (BU) – His 9:31 steeple was overlooked due to the sub 9:00 marks, but he had a scary good season and will only improve.
St. George (BU) – similar to Thompson, he didn’t get a lot of attention but his 14:53 puts him squarely in the race for All-MIAC honors.
Crotteau/Ihrke - they should be mentioned too.