2017 Men’s NCAA XC Regionals Preview: Who’s Projected to Make It to NCAAs & Everything Else You Need to Know About Friday’s Races

*What do you think? Vote in the 2017 LetsRun.com Regional Polls.

By LetsRun.com
November 9, 2017

We’re only nine days away from the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Kentucky. And while we’re sure a few teams have already made plans to visit the Bluegrass State, right now there are still 31 spots up for grabs on November 18. Eighteen of those spots will be handed out at the nine NCAA regional meets on Friday, with 13 more at-large qualifiers to be announced this weekend. But through the magic of former Duke runner and Olympic Trials qualifier Bo Waggoner‘s computer program, we can project which teams will qualify right now. Then, once the final regional meet is finished on Friday (shortly after 3 p.m. ET), we’ll run the program one last time and tell you, using the same criteria as the NCAA, whether your favorite team will be dancing in Louisville next weekend.

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Below, we present the current projected men’s NCAA team qualifiers based on results to this point and assuming the Regionals go according to the most recent USTFCCCA Regional Rankings (men here, women here). We have the women’s projections in a separate article.

After those projections, we’ve included a few notes about which teams/regions will be particularly important on Friday, followed by the details for each regional meet: where it is, who is competing, how you can watch it (if there’s a broadcast), and where to find results.


Who will hoist the trophy in Louisville next weekend?

Who will hoist the trophy in Louisville next weekend?

Projecting the qualifiers can be tricky, and right now we can’t give you a single complete field of 31. That’s because at the #27 spot (ninth at-large team), there is a tie between Columbia, Illinois, and North Carolina St. And depending on which team wins that tiebreaker, you can get a couple different fields. The NCAA has several tiebreaking procedures in place, such as head-to-head and common opponents, but in this case, those three teams are still level. The next tiebreaker goes to the team whose score at regionals was the closest to the second-place team in its region (we believe this is a new rule for 2017). Obviously, we can’t break that tie without knowing each team’s score at regionals. So what we have done is given you the 18 auto qualifers, followed by the two variations of at-large qualifiers.

One final note: if teams are still tied after that, the rulebook says that “the committee may give the advantage to the team whose individual(s) is most likely to score highly at the championships, as determined by the committee.” It’s unlikely that this tiebreaker comes into play, but if it does, it pays to have a low stick.

Automatically selected (projected to finish top-two at regionals)

1 Michigan
2 Michigan State
3 Georgetown
4 Princeton
5 Iowa State
6 Oklahoma State
8 Northern Arizona
9 Syracuse
10 Iona
11 Mid. Tenn. State
12 Alabama
13 Texas
14 Arkansas
15 Furman
16 Virginia Tech
17 Stanford
18 Portland

At-large teams (scenario #1)

19 Colorado
20 Colorado St.
21 Southern Utah
22 Air Force
24 Oregon
25 Utah State
26 Ole Miss
27 North Carolina St.*
28 Illinois*
29 Minnesota
30 Washington
31 Boise State

*Illinois may get in at #27 and NC State at #28 depending on who wins the tiebreaker

At-large teams (scenario #2)

19 Colorado
20 Colorado St.
21 Southern Utah
22 Air Force
24 Oregon
25 Utah State
26 Ole Miss
27 Washington
28 Boise State
29 Illinois
30 Minnesota
31 Washington St.

The only signficant difference between the two scenarios is that in scenario #1, NC State gets in, while in scenario #2, Washington St. gets in. So it will be important for both of those teams to run well at regionals. We should also note that, even though Columbia is involved in the tiebreaker, Columbia doesn’t get in no matter how the tie is broken (due to complex reasons involving the push rule). That doesn’t mean Columbia can’t qualify. It just means the Lions will have to work for it.

Total bids by region
7: Mountain, West (if Washington St. gets in)
4: Midwest
3: South, Southeast (if NC State gets in)
2: South Central, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast

Ranked team that would be left out
No. 23 NC State or No. 27 Washington State
No. 25 Wisconsin

Unranked teams that would be dancing
Georgetown (No. 31 in votes)
Princeton (No. 33 in votes)
Minnesota (No. 37 in votes)

Team that would be dancing for the first time ever
Utah State

Regions/teams to watch

  • Wisconsin: As it stands, the Badgers are on track to miss their second NCAA meet in three years after qualifying for 43 in a row. The main reason? Wisconsin bombed its premier point-getting opportunity at its home meet on October 13, finishing 25th. So even if the Badgers finish 3rd at the Great Lakes Regional, they’re not on track to get a bid. The good news is, Wisconsin was only six points behind the projected #2 in the region, Michigan State, when the teams squared off at Big 10s two weeks ago. The Spartans have enough points to snag an at-large spot, but if Wisconsin is to make it, the Badgers will likely need to finish in the top 2.
  • Columbia: Right now, the Lions have two points. That’s still not enough to get in as things stand, but it’s enough to put them in contention. But both of those points come from the same meet: the Iona College Meet of Champions back on September 15, where Columbia beat Arkansas and Iona. Both Arkansas and Iona rested some athletes in that race, but depending on who they run at regionals, that meet could still count as a point for Columbia. If Columbia can’t finish in the top 2 on Friday, it will need to hope Arkansas and Iona run similar lineups to that meet from two months ago for its points to count.
  • Alabama: The Crimson Tide, with its Kenyan trio of Vincent KipropGilbert Kigen, and Alfred Chelanga, needs to auto-qualify to go dancing for the first time since 2010. Right now, they’re projected to auto-qualify, but if Ole Miss beats them (very possible, as Ole Miss was just one point behind them at SECs), then Alabama could find itself on the outside looking in as they don’t have many points. Bubble teams like Columbia, NC State, Washington State, and Wisconsin will all be rooting against Alabama because if they’re out, that frees up an extra spot.
  • The West region: Stanford, Portland, UCLA, and Oregon are all going to get in in some order. But the 5-6-7 spots in the West are key as Washington, Boise State, and Washington State are all on the bubble. The Mountain Regional is similarly stacked (six of the top 16 teams in the country, including No. 1 NAU & No. 2 BYU) but those teams all have a lot of points so it shouldn’t really matter in which order they finish.

*It was necessary to make a few assumptions based on whether a school was running an A team or a B team at a certain regular season meet. We believe we’ve caught all the B teams out there, but if you know of one, don’t hesitate to email us to confirm.

Below, you’ll find details about all nine regional meets.

# = team is projected to qualify for NCAAs

Ole Miss won this region in '14 and '16 but is only projected for 3rd in '17

Ole Miss won the South Regional in ’14 and ’16 but is only projected for 3rd in ’17

South Regional
Live results * Official site
Harry Pritchett Running Park, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Start times: 10:00 a.m. ET (women); 11:00 a.m. ET (men)

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings

  1. No. 21 Middle Tennessee State #
  2. No. 28 Alabama #
  3. No. 29 Ole Miss #
  4. Florida State
  5. Georgia Tech
  6. Tennessee
  7. Georgia

South Central Regional
Live results * Official site
Watts Cross Country Course, College Station, Texas
Start times: 10:15 a.m. ET (women); 11:15 a.m. ET (men) 

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings

  1. No. 17 Texas #
  2. No. 17 Arkansas #
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Lamar
  5. McNeese State
  6. Baylor
  7. Rice

Southeast Regional
Live results * Official site
Panorama Farms, Earlysville, Virginia
Start times: 10:30 a.m. ET (women); 11:30 a.m. ET (men)

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings

  1. No. 7 Furman #
  2. No. 9 Virginia Tech #
  3. No. 23 NC State #*
  4. Virginia
  5. Campbell
  6. Charlotte
  7. Eastern Kentucky

Mid-Atlantic Regional
Results will be hereOfficial site
Goodman Course, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Start times: 10:45 a.m. ET (women); 11:45 p.m. ET (men)

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings

  1. Georgetown #
  2. Princeton #
  3. Penn
  4. Villanova
  5. Penn State
  6. Navy
  7. Temple
Syracuse will be looking for a 5th straight regional title on Friday

Syracuse will be looking for a 5th straight Northeast Regional title on Friday

Northeast Regional
Live results * Official site
Audubon Golf Course, Amherst, New York
Start times: 11 a.m. ET (women); 12 p.m. ET (men)

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings

  1. No. 3 Syracuse #
  2. No. 22 Iona #
  3. Columbia
  4. Army
  5. Stony Brook
  6. Boston University
  7. UMass Lowell

Great Lakes Regional
Results will be here * Official site
LaVern Gibson Championship Course, Terre Haute, Indiana
Start times: 11:15 a.m. ET (women); 12:15 p.m. ET (men)
How to watch: Live on Flotrack Pro ($$$)

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings

  1. No. 10 Michigan #
  2. No. 15 Michigan State #
  3. No. 25 Wisconsin
  4. Purdue
  5. Eastern Michigan
  6. Butler
  7. Indiana

Midwest Regional
Live resultsOfficial site
ISU Cross Country Course, Ames, Iowa
Start times: 11:45 a.m. ET (women); 12:45 p.m. ET (men)

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings

  1. No. 14 Iowa State #
  2. No. 19 Oklahoma State #
  3. No. 30 Illinois #
  4. Minnesota #
  5. Bradley
  6. Tulsa
  7. Nebraska

Mountain Regional
Results * 
Official site
Steve & Dona Reeder Cross Country Course, Logan, Utah
Start times: 12:15 p.m. ET (women); 1:15 p.m. ET (men) 

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings

  1. No. 1 Northern Arizona #
  2. No. 2 BYU #
  3. No. 5 Colorado #
  4. No. 8 Colorado State #
  5. No. 12 Southern Utah #
  6. No. 16 Air Force #
  7. No. 23 Utah State #
Stanford won the West last year en route to a runner-up NCAA finish

Stanford won the West last year en route to a runner-up NCAA finish

West Regional
Live results * Official site
Jefferson Golf Course, Seattle, Washington
Start times: 1:30 p.m. ET (women); 2:30 p.m. ET (men)
How to watch: Live on Flotrack Pro ($$$)

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings

  1. No. 4 Stanford #
  2. No. 6 Portland #
  3. No. 10 UCLA #
  4. No. 13 Oregon #
  5. No. 20 Washington #
  6. No. 26 Boise State #
  7. No. 27 Washington State #*

What do you think? Vote in the 2017 LetsRun.com Regional Polls.