Portland ran a wonderful race yesterday, but to make UP out to be some blue collar team that just trains harder than Oregon - is not telling the whole truth. The fact of the matter is that UP spends 12.6 full rides on distance runners (only). When it comes down to resources, this is the only fact that really matters. Not to mention that three athletes on UPs team yesterday are foreigners. That means full rides, people.
Rob Conner is an awesome coach, but he has a huge advantage over the rest of west in the fall. How many UP guys made it to track nationals last spring?
Things have changed over the past decade or so. If you want to win a track title, or even get a trophy in the spring, you need to have a well balanced team. You cannot win with just distance runners. At the end of the year, look at all the track teams that finish in the top eight this indoor and outdoor season and see how they did this fall in cross country. You'll find that the teams who do well this fall spend most, if not all, of their resources on distances (UW, Colorado, NAU, Stanford, OSU, Alabama, Iona, Portland, William and Mary, Syracuse, etc.). It would be surprising if any of these teams scare even the top 10 at the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets.
It's all about picking your battles. UP knows where they can win and have aced the formula, but it doesn't come cheap.