Warming Up For The Pre-Nationals

A 1-7 by the Oregon women at the Dellinger Invitational is about as dominant as you can get. (PATRICK HOLLERAN/SHANNON DIGITAL IMAGING)

Wisconsin is where it’s at in this collegiate cross country season. Not only will the Badgers be hosting the NCAA Championships on November 17, they’ve also hosted the biggest invitational, Nuttycombe (men’s story here, women’s story here) and the annual Pre-Nationals extravaganza (men’s story here, women’s story here). Here’s a quick review of the best of the harrier season elsewhere (team ranking numbers are as voted in the USTFCCCA poll at the time of the event):

Dellinger Invitational

Springfield, Oregon, September 21—A powerful display of pack running by the No. 4 Oregon women on their home course, taking the first 7 spots in the 6K race. At the front, 4 seniors ran together: Susan Ejore (19:32.8), Weronika Pyzik (19:33.0), Jessica Hull (19:33.3) and Carmela Cardama Baez (19:34.2). It was Hull’s first race since winning the NCAA 1500 in June.

On the men’s side Portland soph Reuben Kiprono, who redshirted track, returned with a vengeance, clocking 24:39.5 over 8K to handily beat Cooper Teare (running unattached) and his 24:54.0. The host team was led by 3rd-placed Jackson Mestler (24:55.3). No. 3 Portland, with 5 in the top 14, won the team nod, 25–38, over No. 8 Oregon.

Coast-To-Coast Battle In Beantown

Boston, Massachusetts, September 21—No. 10 Syracuse (37 points) repeated, topping No. 26 Washington (70) and No. 30 Ole Miss (77), with No. 17. Virginia in 4th at 98. Campbell, ranked No. 12 nationally, finished 6th. Campbell’s Amon Kemboi outkicked Aidan Tooker of Syracuse, 24:02.2-24:02.5. In 3rd at 24:04.7 was Lawrence Kipkoech of Campbell. Ole Miss was led by junior transfer Farah Abdulkarim in 4th (24:08.5), a Canadian by way of Morehead State. Noah Affolder of Syracuse grabbed 5th in 24:10.1, while Washington’s Tanner Anderson (24:14.8) took 6th.

Ole Miss won the women’s race in a 102–105 squeaker over Georgia Tech, while Utah prevailing over No. 24 Minnesota on the tiebreaker with 161 points for 3rd.
Providence’s Abbey Wheeler (“She ran a great race,” said Friars coach Ray Treacy) won in 17:09.7 after breaking away in the first kilo. Minnesota’s Bethany Hasz edged Virginia frosh Abigail Green for 2nd (17:16.4-17:16.8).

Chile Pepper Festival

Fayetteville, Arkansas, September 22—Arkansas (No. 14) won the men’s title with 38 points, on the strength of a 2-3-4 finish by Gilbert Boit (24:05.8), Cameron Griffith (24:23.0) and frosh Ryan Murphy (24:28.7) on a soft, wet course. “We still have a lot of work to do, our spread from 1-5 will need to be cut down, but we have three weeks before Penn State,” said Hog coach Chris Bucknam. Individually, Frankline Tonui, running for the Army, narrowly won in 24:05.4. Cloud County CC showed off a couple of solid Kenyan recruits in 7th and 9th, Dennis Kiptoo (24:37.3) and Santino Kenyi (24:39.3).

The No. 9 Arkansas women easily topped runner-up Wichita State, 34–116 over 5K. Aussie frosh Katrina Robinson (PRs of 2:07.34, 4:14.05, 9:03.83, 16:06.01) dominated with a 13-second win in 16:15.3. Next came teammate Carina Viljoen (16:28.3). Wichita State’s Winny Koskei looked remarkably improved in 3rd (16:36.5). Said Razorback coach Lance Harter, “This was the first race in the U.S. for Katrina. Obviously, she opened it up in style. I was very impressed with how fast they ran in spite of the conditions of the course following last night’s rain of 3-plus inches and the five races before ours.”

Piane Invitational

Notre Dame, Indiana, September 28—The No. 2-ranked BYU men’s team flexed its muscles, placing 5 in the top 9 for a stunning 23 points over Wyoming (105) and Notre Dame (119). BYU’s Connor McMillan led in 23:43.3, with teammate Daniel Carney (23:43.7) running wingman.

The BYU women, No. 11, ran nearly as strongly, scoring 37 points to beat No. 12 Furman (80), Florida State (113) and No. 22 Notre Dame (114). BYU took the 1-2: junior Erica Birk in 16:19.6 and soph Whitnni Orton in 16:26.1, as Notre Dame’s Anna Rohrer ran 3rd in 16:35.9.

“What we were hoping for was a strong performance. We really didn’t back down for this meet at all,” commented Cougar coach Ed Eyestone.

Louisville Classic

Louisville, Kentucky, September 29—Div. III No. 1 North Central won the men’s gold race over some solid Div. I programs, scoring 102 to Kentucky’s 110. Louisville frosh Emmanuel Cheboson, a Kenyan who first competed for the Cardinals in the spring, won in 23:41.1. “My coaches told me to run at the front,” said the victor. “I was strong and I decided to do it.”

On the women’s side, No. 10 Michigan put 7 in the top 25 to win with 46 points. Louisville’s Dorcas Wasike won by more than 10 seconds with her 16:27.8.

Griak Invitational

St. Paul, Minnesota, September 29—Duke came out on top of a tight 3-way battle, its 74 points just edging Minnesota (77) with Harvard not far behind. Harvard junior Kieran Tuntivate topped Ty Mogan of Montana State in the individual standings, 24:33.4–24:34.8.

For the women, Minnesota’s Hasz twins (Bethany 20:47.9 & Megan 20:54.3) finished more than 200m ahead of the competition, keying a 30-point victory for the No. 23 Gophers over Cal Baptist (52-82). Said Bethany Hasz, “It’s fun to be able to go together.”

Stanford Invitational

Stanford, California, September 29—The No. 4 Cardinal men ran up the score on the home course, putting runners in 2-4-5-7-8 to tally an impressive 26 points. UCLA (53) and Div. II No. 1 Adams State (75) took the next two spots. UCLA’s Robert Brandt, running unattached, won in 23:46.6 over Sydney Gidabuday of Adams State (23:55.6) as some of Stanford’s big names, including senior team leader Grant Fisher, sat out.

The scoring for the women was closer, with No. 3 Stanford (62) topping Div. II No. 1 Adams State (69) and No. 16 Washington (90). Stanford’s Elise Cranny (20:32.5) won with a big kick over Washington’s former Duck Katie Rainsberger (20:39.7). Fiona O’Keeffe of Stanford took 3rd (20:41.2). “We were dictating the pace without pushing it,” said Cranny.