A freshman named Akinobu Murasawa won in 59:08. His pace for 20 km, 2:57/km, was the same as what Puskedra ran for 8 km to win the Blue race, and his last 8 km, on hills, were in 23:26, faster than Derrick's winning time in the White race. The top 11 men in the 20 km all ran under 3:00/km, while 14 men did it for 8 km in the combined White and Blue races.
Looking at the teams using just the top five runners per school, even with the best 8 schools not in the race all of the top 10 averaged 3:02/km for 20 km. 7 schools total did it in the White and Blue races together. The winner, Komazawa Univ., averaged 2:59/km for 20 km. Only Stanford matched that.
So, of course XC has different challenges than road racing, but 20 km vs. 8 km more than negates that. There are different priorities in training too, but what does all of this really say about U.S. university distance running?