Who Over/Underachieved at the 2014 NCAA XC Championships?

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by LetsRun.com
Novermber 24, 2014

There are several ways you can look at who over/underperformed at NCAAs. One is to see how teams fared compared to the final coaches’ poll. Those lists are below:

Top 5 overachievers, men
1. New Mexico, 14th (+12)
2. North Carolina, 12th (+11)
3. Indiana, 15th (+10)
4. Colorado State, 19th (+8)
T-5. Stanford, 2nd & Michigan, 11th (+7)

Top 5 underachievers, men
1. Furman, 30th (-11)
2. Virginia, 21st (-8)
T-3. Michigan St., 24th & Arkansas, 28th (-7)
5. UCLA, 18th (-6)

Top 5 overachievers, women
1. Providence, 13th (+10)
2. Boston College, 21st (+9)
3. North Carolina State, 16th (+8)
T-4. Iona, 9th; Baylor, 19th; Dartmouth, 20th (+7)

Top 5 underachievers, women
1. Vanderbilt, 28th (-16)
2. Minnesota, 31st (-11)
3. Toledo, 30th (-9)
4. North Carolina, 22nd (-7)
T-5. Wisconsin, 10th; Stanford, 14th; Ohio State, 26th (-4)

To be honest, that’s probably not the best way to look at it overachieve/underachieve for two reasons.

1. As we stated before the meet, the coaches’ polls that came out after Regionals were very bad as coaches changed the rankings significantly based on Regionals results which is just stupid.

If Mo Farah lets up at the line in a heat of a 5000, no one should think he’s not the best 5000 runner on the planet, but that’s what happened at Regionals. For example, we were adamant that Michigan was better than Michigan State on the men’s side as they’d spanked Michigan State twice during the regular season (before ‘losing’ to them at Regionals).

We were so sure about it we meant to offer a $250 guarantee that the Wolverines would beat Michigan State, but got busy in Terre Haute and forgot about it.

What do you know? We were right. Michigan outperformed its ranking by seven while Michigan State underperformed by seven. Realistically, though, both teams had a pretty average day at NCAAs based on their season performances. Similarly, the New Mexico men had an off day and finished seventh at Regionals when they were probably the third-best team in the Mountain Region. They returned to their normal form on Saturday and took 14th (third among Mountain teams), but “overachieved” more than any men’s team.

2) Many teams that ‘bombed’ at NCAAs may have been teams that were overachieving all season long and vice versa.

Coach Gary and Furman had a disappointing NCAAs but great season overall. More NCAA XC Photos.

In our mind, to say that Furman, which started the season not only unranked but receving zero votes in the coaches poll, was the biggest underachiever is absurd. The Paladins, which were making their first NCAA appearance since 1970, had a great year, just a disappointing NCAAs. Coach Robert Gary and his athletes should be very proud of their season.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Butler women. Last year, the Bulldogs were the darlings of the NCAA and finished third at NCAAs. If LetsRun.com had a coach of the year, Butler’s Matt Roe probably would have won it (Butler was ranked 30th in the preseason and just 13th before the meet). This year, they were ranked 12th in the preseason and didn’t qualify for NCAAs. They didn’t even send an individual qualifier.

As a result, perhaps the beast way to look at it is which teams under/overachieved is to compare their NCAA finish to the preseason rankings.

We don’t think you’ll have to wait another 34 years to see Furman in the NCAAs again. More NCAA XC Photos.

Below, the top five under/overachievers using the preseason USTFCCCA coaches’ poll:

Top 5 overachievers, men

1. Michigan State, 24th (+15; 39th in votes)
2. Georgetown, 17th (+12)
T-3. Michigan, 11th & Colorado State, 19th (+11)
5. North Carolina, 12th (+8)

Southern Utah (22nd at NCAAs), UTEP (27th), Ole Miss (29th) and Furman (30th) all received no votes in the preseason poll.

Top 5 underachievers, men

North Carolina State (15th), Princeton (19th), Iowa State (26th) and Oklahoma (28th) were all ranked in the preseason poll and failed to qualify for NCAAs.

1. Arkansas, 28th (-15)
2. Indiana, 15th (-9)
T-3. BYU, 16th; Virginia, 21st; Tulsa, 25th; Florida State, 31st (-7)

Top 5 overachievers, women

Iona (9th at NCAAs), North Carolina (22nd), Ohio State (26th), UCLA (27th) and Notre Dame (29th) all received no votes in the preseason poll. Iona clearly should be #1 in our mind.

1. Boise State, 11th (+20; 31st in votes)
2. Baylor, 19th (+13)
3. West Virginia, 8th (+12)
4. North Carolina State, 16th (+11)
T-5. New Mexico, 3rd; William & Mary, 17th; Toledo, 30th (+8; Toledo was 38th in votes)

Top 5 underachievers, women

Butler (12th), Villanova (14th), Oklahoma State (19th), SMU (22nd), Weber State (28th), Penn State (29th) and Arizona State (30th) were all ranked in the preseason poll and failed to qualify for NCAAs.

1. Michigan, 18th (-17)
2. Syracuse, 24th (-11)
3. Stanford, 14th (-10)
4. Florida State, 12th (-9)
5. Washington, 23rd (-8)

Finally, a quick look at the individuals.

MEN

All-Americans last year who weren’t All-Americans this year (and who raced NCAAs in 2014)

Craig Lutz, Texas (15th to 51st)
Kyle King, Virginia (18th to 88th)
Sam McEntee, Villanova (27th to 57th)
Tyler Byrne, Northern Arizona (29th to 55th)
Caleb Rhynard, Michigan State (34th to 161st)
Ty McCormack, Auburn (40th to 204th)

All-Americans this year who weren’t All-Americans last year (and who raced NCAAs in 2013)

Marc Scott, Tulsa (193rd to 14th)
Connor Winter, Colorado (177th to 24th)
Thomas Awad, Penn (176th to 27th)
Sean McGorty, Stanford (161st to 20th)
Ernest Kibet, Louisville (144th to 32nd)
Reid Buchanan, Portland (142nd to 28th)
Caleb Hoover, Northern Arizona (139th to 36th)
Martin Hehir, Syracuse (113th to 38th)
Michael Atchoo, Stanford (100th to 29th)
Kevin Dooney, Yale (98th to 34th)
Ammar Moussa, Colorado (95th to 5th)
Craig Nowak, Oklahoma State (62nd to 16th)
MJ Erb, Syracuse (59th to 37th)
Ben Connor, Providence (44th to 30th)
Shane Quinn, Providence (42nd to 26th)

WOMEN

All-Americans last year who weren’t All-Americans this year (and who raced NCAAs in 2014)

Monika Juodeskaite, Oklahoma State (23rd to 107th)
Annie Lehardy, North Carolina (25th to 49th)
Dana Giordano, Dartmouth (31st to 45th)
Emma-Lisa Murphy, Wisconsin (35th to 143rd)
Bethanie Brown, Iowa State (37th to 53rd)

All-Americans this year who weren’t All-Americans last year (and who raced NCAAs in 2013)

Sarah Disanza, Wisconsin (104th to 2nd)
Rachele Schulist, Michigan State (50th to 4th)
Rachel Johnson, Baylor (105th to 5th)
Katy Moen, Iowa State (77th to 8th)
Lindsay Clark, Michigan State (71st to 11th)
Jillian Forsey, West Virginia (145th to 14th)
Katrina Coogan, Georgetown (60th to 16th)
Leah O’Connor, Michigan State (44th to 17th)
Molly Seidel, Notre Dame (171st to 19th)
Maddie Meyers, Washington (138th to 27th)
Erin Clark, Colorado (97th to 31st)
Catarina Rocha, Providence (62nd to 33rd)
Emily Stites, William & Mary (46th to 36th)
Samantha Nadel, Georgetown (47th to 37th)
Hillary Montgomery, Texas A&M (190th to 39th)

Do you know of any other people/teams that should be on this list? There are tons of ways to think about it. Email us your ideas. We’ve already listed the four men’s regional champs who weren’t All-Americans elsewhere.

More: 8 Final Thoughts on NCAA XC: Futsum Is Tired of Losing, The Pac-12 Is Dominant and Really Early 2015 Projections.


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