2012 NCAA Regional Formchart – South Central Region

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by John Kellogg
November 7, 2012

Editor’s Note: LetsRun.com’s coaching/stat guru John Kellogg has done what basically no one else in the world would have the expertise/patience to do – predict what is going to happen at Friday’s NCAA D1 cross-country regionals. The top two teams in each region and top four individuals not on a team that qualifies will make it to NCAAs. Then 13 at large teams will be added in and two at large individuals.

Message board poster “devils advocate” has run the numbers for the qualifiers on the men’s side who appear below and here.

We imagine even the great John Kellogg is bound to have missed someone in these predictions, so if you have corrections, please email them to us.

Mr. Kellogg seemingly comes out of hibernation every few months to make predictions in the running world. He did Regional previews in 2011 and 2008 and in the spring of 2011, he said it wouldn’t surprise him if someone ran faster than 2:03:59 in Boston and then Geoffrey Mutai ran 2:03:02 and after the race everyone (except us) was saying the unthinkable had happened.

Mr. Kellogg has scoured the season’s results – with the most weight given to recent (conference meet) performances – to take a guess at who should be the top 25 individuals and few teams in each of the nine regions. A lot of runners were considered for the top 25 and he’ll undoubtedly get quite a few wrong – someone just outside his top 25 has just as good a chance as someone who just made it – and there are always a couple of huge surprises. Team scores are generally based on the strengths of the top teams relative to each other (discounting many of the runners outside the top 25 or so from non-contending teams) and will probably end up being higher than he’s listed them due to displacement from those individuals. In short, this is a pretty good general idea of who should be in the hunt, but it’s still bound to get a bunch of it completely wrong. So basically this is all for S&Gs. We hope you enjoy them. For more on the logic behind the picks, please see last year’s instructions.

Give Us Your Own Predictions in the LetsRun.com NCAA Fan Polls.

South Central

Agri Park, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Men

Individuals

John Kellogg

John Kellogg (r) enjoys the 2008 Heps XC meet with his former prized pupil, the 28:06 performer Wejo (dressed as the BK man)

This race shapes up to be a Texas-Arkansas dual meet plus defending individual champ Henry Lelei (Texas A&M) and David Rooney (McNeese State) and possibly another individual or two to crash the party. Lelei has had a solid regular season near the top of the NCAA ranks and dispatched the Razorback triumvirate of Solomon Haile, Eric Fernandez and Kemoy Campbell at SEC. He appears ready for a second consecutive top 10 finish at Nationals. Craig Lutz and Fernandez were XC All-Americans last year as well, while Ryan Dohner has emerged as UT’s tentative number one with a 6th place at Big 12. Rooney has been steady throughout the fall, finishing 5th at Notre Dame and an impressive 7th at Pre-Nats before trotting off with the Southland Conference title as expected. Teammates Alex Bruce-Littlewood and Jarrett Leblanc followed in 2nd and 3rd at SLC ahead of TAMCC’s Patrick Kimeli, who has finished 7th in the region for two straight years to make NCAAs as an individual qualifier. Daniel Mutai (ULM), Wesley Ruttoh (Houston) and Matt Johnsen (Lamar) came in 4th, 6th and 8th at the 2011 Regional to earn spots at Nationals, but even with stellar races like those of last year, at least a couple of those guys might be out of luck considering how good McNeese State’s top 3 have been this fall.

Henry Lelei (Texas A&M)
Eric Fernandez (Arkansas)
Ryan Dohner (Texas)
Solomon Haile (Arkansas)
Craig Lutz (Texas)
Kemoy Campbell (Arkansas)
David Rooney (McNeese State)*
Rory Tunningley (Texas)
Patrick McGregor (Texas)
Alex Bruce-Littlewood (McNeese State)*

Layne Nixon (Arkansas)
Patrick Kimeli (Texas A&M-CC)*
Kyle Merber (Texas)
Jarrett Leblanc (McNeese State)*
Matt Johnsen (Lamar)
Cale Wallace (Arkansas)
James Hodges (Texas A&M)
Trevor Van Ackeren (Texas)
Xavier Rodriguez (Stephen F. Austin)
Isaac Spencer (Texas A&M)

Stephen Curry (Texas A&M)
Benjamin Gerber (Central Arkansas)
Daniel Mutai (Louisiana-Monroe)
Gabe Cuadra (Rice)
Edward Limo (Central Arkansas)

Teams

With Nationals coming up quickly, the top teams may avoid getting into a measuring contest here and might even rest a runner or two. Assuming they will duke it out, though, expect the depth of the Texas Longhorns to prevail over Arkansas. The ‘Horns rolled up on an excellent Oklahoma bunch in the latter stages at Big 12 to nab second behind the seemingly untouchable #1-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys, and are the strongest they have been all season. Arkansas dominated the SEC behind a 2-3-4 finish but the Razorbacks didn’t have to face the level of team competition at the top that Texas squared off against at Big 12. Arkansas very uncharacteristically failed to make NCAAs as a team last year, sending only Eric Fernandez, who was 2nd in the region and 38th at Nationals, earning All-America honors to salvage a little success for the once nationally-dominant program. The Hogs shouldn’t have a problem securing a team starting box at the dance this year. Like the South region, the South Central will not be as deep or as competitive for the top teams as their conference meets were, so the scores should stay low and the team race could be tight. Texas A&M is in much the same situation as Florida is in the South, distinctly behind the top two teams and wavering on the bubble for NCAAs. McNeese State could be better than A&M through three runners but probably won’t be able to find the depth to nose out the Aggies for 3rd.

Texas*
Arkansas*
Texas A&M*
McNeese State

*Projected qualifier

Women

Individuals

The top returner for the meet is Sara Sutherland of Texas, who was 4th last year and who has produced the best results of the region’s runners this fall, with 9th at Pre-Nationals and 3rd at Big 12. Teammate Marielle Hall, 7th in this meet last year, has been close, coming in 16th at Pre-Nats and 6th at Big 12. Those two should be challenged up front by a few runners from Arkansas, notably Grace Heymsfield (5th at SEC), Andrina Schlapfer (10th at SEC) and possibly Semehar Tesfaye, an Iowa State transfer who has led Arkansas this season until dropping out at SEC (this disaster effectively allowed Florida to win the conference in an upset). Megan Siebert (Texas) and Diane Robison (Arkansas) placed 15th and 11th in their respective conferences and should also be integral players in the dual meet this race stands to be from a team perspective. The most heated competition in this race, however, figures to be for individual NCAA qualifiers, as many of the very best runners in the region are on teams that have little to no chance of making Nationals. This race-within-a-race could be a war.

The individual advancers at last year’s edition were extremely high in the results, taking spots 1, 2, 5 and 6. That battle might not occur quite as far up in the standings this year, but it should be fierce and not too far off the lead, with roughly half of the top 15 projected to be fighting for the 4 individual berths. Agnes Kemboi (TCU) was 6th last year and Lauren Smith (SFA) was 8th but just missed Nationals. They have run well enough this season (Kemboi 12th at Big 12 and on the rise all season, and Smith repeating as Southland Conference champion) to give them good odds of individual Qs. SMU is on the cusp of Nationals, so their top runners stand a high chance of figuring into the individual picture. Those runners are Mary Alenbratt (2nd to Risper Kimaiyo at Conference USA) and Ashlee Powers (4th at CUSA and 7th at Notre Dame earlier). LSU’s Laura Carleton was a very strong 4th at Chile Pepper (ahead of all the Arkansas runners, Smith, Alenbratt and Kemboi) and was 12th at SEC. Rachel Johnson of Baylor (19th in the region as a freshman last year) posted a respectable 44th at Pre-Nationals and was 13th at Big 12. It probably won’t take a 6th place finish to make NCAAs as an individual this time, but it may take a top 10.

Sara Sutherland (Texas)
Marielle Hall (Texas)
Grace Heymsfield (Arkansas)
Andrina Schlapfer (Arkansas)
Megan Siebert (Texas)
Semehar Tesfaye (Arkansas)
Agnes Kemboi (TCU)
Lauren Smith (Stephen F. Austin)
Mary Alenbratt (SMU)
Laura Carleton (LSU)

Rachel Johnson (Baylor)
Diane Robison (Arkansas)
Ashlee Powers (SMU)
Keri Wood (Arkansas)
Patricia Terry (TCU)
Judith Chumba (UTPA)
Jessica Kamilos (Arkansas)
Alyssa Diaz (UT-San Antonio)
Karoline Skatteboe (SMU)
Alyssa Dooley (Sam Houston State)

Mariah Kelly (Baylor)
Paige Johnston (Arkansas)
Anne Jones (Texas)
Randi Plentl (Stephen F. Austin)
Laleh Mojtabaeezamani (Texas)

Teams

Texas is extremely top heavy but exhibited a dearth of depth at Big 12 and that should give Arkansas the edge even if Tesfaye has problems again. The Lady Longhorns did finish 5th at Pre-Nationals, however, with all 5 scorers in the top 60, so they’re a solid team at the national level when everyone’s clicking. Texas A&M was 3rd last year (and still didn’t make NCAAs) but has held out a few of the runners from that squad this season, the big name of course being 10k national champion Natosha Rogers, so SMU, receiving votes in the coaches poll, should move a spot up to 3rd this year.

Arkansas
Texas
SMU

All Regions:
*Northeast Region
*Mid-Atlantic
*Southeast
*South
*South Central
*Great Lakes
*Midwest
*Mountain
*West


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Posted in: College