Okay, the track and field season is over. (Congrats to all the Ivy all-Americans, and any former Ivies like LBP.) Now: How do you see men's and women's cross-country this fall? I realize people will mostly pick their own schools FTW (or at least to move up/surprise), but what's your pick based on?
On the women's side, looks like the crown is Princeton's to lose--unless PU somehow shoots itself in the foot, I can't see its getting defeated by any other Ivy this fall. In 2008 the Tigers (17 points at 2008 Heps) had one senior in their front five, and had seven underclasswomen finish before any other team's #2 runner!
Behind Princeton's women, last year's #2 team, Columbia (80 points), graduated three of their top five. Brown (92), which finished third, didn't graduate any and has to be the early favorite for the runnerup spot.
Fourth-place Cornell (100) also graduated three of five. Word is that they're bringing in their best class in a long time, but it'd be tough to count on frosh to move the team up.
In fact, fifth-place Harvard (112) could well move into that fourth spot, or even higher. They graduated none from their entire 2008 Heps squad, IIRC, and have some interesting recruits coming in.
Penn (179), Dartmouth (180), and Yale (211) all graduated multiple seniors from their top fives. The three schools could switch their positions, but it's hard to foresee a finish higher than sixth by any of them.
On the men's side, both Princeton (58 points in 2008) and Columbia (61) graduate two of their top five. Columbia's fifth undergrad finished 35th in the race, while Princeton's barely cracked the top 50. I'll grant PU's recruiting ability, but graduation (Maag) has to have hurt Princeton more than Columbia--so I'd say a tossup between the two schools, at this point. (Okay, if I to pick just one I'll give a very slight edge to CU.) Right now it's hard to see that Cornell (75), having graduated its #1-by-far, could break up those two.
Speaking of #1-by-far: Ben True, last year's champion from Dartmouth (89), finished 80 seconds ahead of his team's first underclassman. The Big Green will have to work hard to hold their top-four position, with Brown (142) and Harvard (145) having graduated none of their scorers. In fact, Brown's top six and all eleven of Harvard's finishers were underclassmen!
Yale (176), on the other hand, graduated its top three finishers and could be hard-pressed to keep Penn (193) in the cellar.
Anyway: your thoughts? I've still seen only limited info on recruits, especially on the men's side. And do any teams return strong runners who didn't race (or at least didn't finish) last year's Heps? During track season, did any talent surface that could make a difference in cross?