November 10, 2017
The 2017 NCAA cross country regionals are in the books and we’ve run Bo Waggoner‘s computer program and have given you the project men’s and women’s field. Here’s what caught our attention from today’s action.
The Utah State men and women, the Furman women, and the Eastern Kentucky women will all be dancing for the first time in history. Congratulations to all three programs.
What rebuilding year?
Last year, the Navy men made NCAAs for the first time since 1997 thanks to a senior-heavy lineup — five of their top six at NCAAs were seniors. As a result, the Midshipmen had an almost entirely new team this year, but somehow they got it done again under Al Cantello (now in his 50th year as cross country coach!) and will be dancing for back-to-back years for the first time since 1988-89.
It almost was a fairy tale Veterans Day weekend for the service academies as the Air Force men made it and Patriot League champion Army almost got in after finishing third in the Northeast. They were the next team in. Nonetheless, the Cadets who were looking for their first NCAA appearance since 1996 had a fabulous year as they beat Navy twice – once in their dual meet and once at the Patriot League Champs.
On the outside looking in
At the time of the final men’s at-large selection, both Minnesota (seven points) and Eastern Kentucky (four points) had more than enough points to qualify as at-large teams. The only problem? Neither team could get it done today at regionals. Minnesota was fifth in the Midwest, finding its way blocked by Tulsa and Illinois, while Eastern Kentucky could only manage ninth in the Southeast.
Alabama fans should be toasting Tulsa and Illinois tonight as if either of those teams failed to beat Minnesota, Alabama would not have qualified as a team.
On the women’s side, both Ohio State (four points) and Northern Arizona (three points) had more points than the eventual final qualifier, Virginia Tech. But the Buckeyes (seventh in the Great Lakes) and Lumberjacks (8th in the Mountain) did not run well enough today to earn their spots in Louisville.
Georgetown misses out times two
Neither the Georgetown men (unranked but #31 in votes the coaches’ poll) nor the #27 Georgetown women ended up making it to NCAAs. This is the first time that Georgetown won’t send either a men’s or women’s team to NCAAs since 1987 (the Georgetown women qualified for the first time in 1988).
It wasn’t a total loss for the Hoyas however as Jonathan Green won the men’s Mid-Atlantic individual title and Martha McDonald qualified as an individual.
Wisconsin men stay home again
From 1972 to 2014, the Wisconsin men never missed an NCAA meet. But after finishing third in the Great Lakes today, the Badgers have now missed out twice in the past three years. The Badgers ran well today — they were just five points away from qualifying — but one of their top runners, Olin Hacker, did not race at all this fall due to injury, and their top runner, Morgan McDonald, redshirted. With McDonald and Hacker back in the fold next year, the Badgers should be much improved next year when they host NCAAs. With only 1 senior in the their top 7 today, and with McDonald contending for the individual crown, the Badgers might even be able to contend for a podium spot as a team in 2018.
Alli Cash debuts
Cash, who was 14th at NCAAs last year and the #2 scorer for the national-champion Oregon Ducks, made her first appearance of the season. But if the Ducks, who finished third today in the West behind San Francisco and Stanford, are to repeat in Louisville, they will need a better performance from Cash, who was only 43rd (Oregon’s #7 woman).
Nothing that shocking happened today
No team ranked in the top 24 on either gender failed to make it to NCAAs. Here are the ranked teams that failed to advance and the unranked teams that made it.
Ranked men’s teams left out
Ranked women’s teams left out
#25 Ohio State
|Unranked men’s teams that got in
Unranked women’s teams that got in
Who needs a good team to be great?
In the men’s Southeast region, individuals from teams not making it to NCAAs went 1-2-3-4. Let’s hope a top team doesn’t try to poach one of the following guys for 2018.
- Lawrence Kipkoech, Campbell
- Amon Kemboi, Campbell
- Azaria Kirwa, Liberty
- Nadeel Wildschutt, Coastal Carolina
Do you now of something interesting about regionals that you want to share? Email us or post it in our fan forum: MB: Official 2017 NCAA XC Regional Discussion Thread – Find out who is dancing here.