I thought this too, but you really have to consider the men’s side of this for the problem to become clear. For one, over 6k we’d expect there to be less of a difference than 10k. So, go ahead and look at regional rankings from before this race in the men’s side. Of the top teams, Iona definitely doesn’t have them, meanwhile they might be one of the best teams in the nation, and are barely gonna scrape through to nationals. Seems weird to me they’d have an off day on the roads of all things. You can see other weird stuff when you start extrapolating for the teams that placed lower too.
Then just look at the times. These times are ridiculous if the course is a full 10k. On the track last year, you wouldn’t have even able to get this many people to run this fast in the entire East, let alone just the Northeast. The conditions weren’t good either. Strong headwinds for large portions of the course.
I need to really see two things: was this course a full 10k and how do the teams that pulled off these upsets like Harvard (and more interestingly Syracuse due to more pedigree) fair at nationals. Someone somewhere should also just do a straight stats comparison if they can get the full info of who did or didn’t have the shoes.