NCAA Cross Country


I am hearing a lot last year’s all-Americans state as their goal to finish top-10 in the championship meet, but how can it happen when conservatively Oklahoma, Stanford and NAU each will likely put 2 guys in the top-10, add in Sam Chelanga, Steven Sambu and one athlete from Oregon and that’s ‘pretty much’ it.

Oklahoma 2
Stanford 2
Sam Chelanga 1
Steven Sambu 1
Oregon 1

Is it possible that a couple of schools will be so dominant that guys like Ryan Sheridan, Ryan Hill, Don Cabral, no one from Syracuse, Alabama, Florida, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Colorado, Portland or Arkansas makes it into the top-10?


Well, one thing we know for sure – only ten runners will make it into the top ten. I’m not sure what is upsetting about this???


Every year there are probably 25 guys that have the capability to be in the top ten, but only ten do it. It’s actually quite difficult.

I’d say the only locks are Derrick, McNeill, Chelanga, and maybe Lowe.

I’d be very surprised to see anyone from Syracuse, Florida, Georgetown, Wisconsin, CU, or UP in the top ten. Same goes for Oklahoma - of course you mean Oklahoma State.


Ok, here’s my rough top 10

  1. Chelanga (rooting for Derrick)
  2. Derrick
  3. McNeill
  4. Fernandez
  5. Sambu
  6. Puskedra
  7. Heath
  8. Lowe/Girma
  9. Centro
  10. Chipangama?? Mo Ahmed??

This is tough to call because there will be some random people jumping into that top 10. Miles Batty of BYU? There’s a myriad of guys that are 11-20 type guys that could just have a breakout and break into that top 10.


Not a bad list, here would be mine:

  1. Chelanga
  2. McNeill
  3. Derrick
  4. Sambu
  5. Puskedra
  6. Lowe
  7. Kirui
  8. Centrowitz
  9. Ulrey
  10. Fernandez

I’d say the top 4 would be my only locks, though I’d feel confident saying 5-9 will be in the top 25.


Obviously Sambu has a decent resume and is on form, but I don’t agree with people calling him a ‘lock’ for anything when he has yet to run a NCAA meet.
How many times does a hyped-up but relatively unknown Kenyan from a warm-weather school who might be in it for the win crash-and-burn his way to 40th or something?


Looking especially prophetic now with Sambu apparently injured a few weeks and missing pre-nats for that reason.


A few observations:

Cabarl is not a name that comes up in the individual title discussions, but 24 flat on the VCP course is hauling, he also beat a couple of good runners as well. Perhaps putting him in the individual title discussion is a stretch, but top-5 is definitely in play.

I don’t think Oregon had a particular good race this weekend, but I think with a few tweaks, they could be a title contender. Luke and Centro are not at the level of Derrick and should stayed off the lead and formed a pack of 4 about 100 meters back. You heard it from me, 2 of Stanford’s top three have peaked and I’m picking Oregon for #2. Although, Derrick did not have a great race this weekend, he is head and shoulders above Heath & Riley; that threesome is a mirage. Derrick is one of only 3 athletes that can give Sam a challenge and if Heath & Riley attempts to run with Derrick over 10k when he is going all out, they will be pissing away their championship bid.

The NC State freshman Laura Hoer beat several all-Americans, McShine, Cheruiyot and Schaaf. I am trying to put this race into perspective; I watched the race and it was not a fluke…this girl is for real.


I gotta go with my boy Mohammed Ahmed for the top 15. He knows how to peak when it matters. 4th at NCAAs in the 10 000 as a freshman isn’t anything to scoff at. He’ll definitely be AA, and I could see him even sneaking into top 10 in the right race.


I could see Cabral as a top 12, I do not think he is near top 5, but in that second chase pack

off what he looks like so far this year hard for me to see Ulrey as a top ten and maybe not top 15

Derrick is very very good, obviously

I thought Ryan Hill has legit shot at top ten, maybe he rebounds

Sheridan will no longer run for Iona, that I do know.Not sure of circumstances surrrounding all that.


Although, Derrick did not have a great race this weekend, he is head and shoulders above Heath & Riley; that threesome is a mirage. Derrick is one of only 3 athletes that can give Sam a challenge and if Heath & Riley attempts to run with Derrick over 10k when he is going all out, they will be pissing away their championship bid

Derrick could have crushed his teammates like a bug if he wanted to at any time this year, in any race.Do not think differently for one minute, he did not have a bad race this weekend, it is he who gets them to pull away in the big spots so far.

The only issue is whether he works them into top 10-15 team wise and they go that way,and then CD runs late to get third. He is that good to do that, rather than cutting him loose after Chelenga. McNeill and Chris D are only true threats to Chelenga, soon to be 26.:smiley:

There is no reason to think Heath (very very talented) and Riley have peaked as they have run together all season, no reason yet to think they would tank at all. They are a year better and have a lot at stake here.


how is sambu a lock for top 4 when he finished 5th at his own conference? I agree it would take a herculean effort for someone to break into that top 3 however.


Ok here’s my updated top-10 after conference weekend.

  1. Chelanga
  2. McNeill
  3. Fernandez
  4. Derrick
  5. Heath
  6. Lowe
  7. Mecheso
  8. Riley
  9. Puskedra
  10. Peacock? Sambu? Cabral? Estrada?

Once again, the 10-20 spots could be anybody’s. Kinda surprised by Ryan Hill as well.


Not a bad and a pretty fair list

Until German finishes ONE race in the top 30 I would have a hard time putting him third here and ahead of Chris Derrick, NOW in XC.,

I think Heath will run outisde the top 10 not by too much

I do not think Matt Centro is a top ten at all, altho he has that kind of talent

I also think Puskedra will struggle for top 10 this year

Peacock was so all out at 8K just to win Big Ten I see him at around top 20 not 10

Do you really think Ok State AND Stanford are putting 6 in top 10?

No way, no how.Way too much shake up will happen.


This is not a good list, I really doubt Heath, Riley and Puskedra will finish in the top 10 and I’m on the fence with Lowe; I would replace those names with Peacock, Sambu and Cabral. Since everyone sees Sam as a lock for first and NAU is not expected to make the podium; with that said, until about the last 2K, Stanford, Oregon and OK may focus on the team title. If a few Stanford and OK guys get in over their heads, which is easy to do, I can clearly see a strong Oregon pack capturing the team title.

Keep in mind, most the guys you are putting in the top-10 are struggling to run sub-23 for 8k; the leaders in the championship race will run that faster in route to 10k…like I said, it will be real easy to get in over your head. So far we only know of 3 athletes, Chelanga, McNeill and Derrick who can hit 8k at 23 and hold it together. The reason why I say the Stanford threesome is a mirage is the fact that at the Conf meet, Heath and Riley were completely spent running 23 flat for 8K; Derrick came through the 8k in last year’s Championship race in 23:20 something with 2K to go. Derrick is at a completely diferent level, he will likely be in the top 3 and Heath & Riley likely somewhere between 15-20.


#112 Elliott Heath Stanford 4:37.7 23:00.46 1
2 #115 Jake Riley Stanford 4:37.8 23:00.57 2
3 #110 Chris Derrick Stanford 4:37.8 23:00.59 3
4 #80 Luke Puskedra Oregon 4:38.8 23:05.80 4


with all due respect, this statement makes you lose any and all credibility on this matter and look like a damn idiot. In addition to the times listed below, heath and riley (along with derrick) ran sub 2320 at pre-nats (#9-11 AT on that course). I do think that if they all raced their own individual races from the gun, derrick would win by a comfortable margin but they dont do that nor should they really.


Not buying that one. There has been no indication this season, of that level of fitness in a long time. His second place finish to mecheso at conference was a good step but it was still a second place finish.

My list:

  1. Chelanga
  2. Derrick
  3. McNeill
  4. Heath
  5. Puskedra
  6. Mecheso
  7. Sambu
  8. Lowe
  9. Cabral
  10. Dunbar

I see McNeill chasing chelanga too hard. I think he dies by 6k and Derrick takes him easily. I think Heath might even get the chance to make a bid at him if Chelanga takes it out like he’s been known to do. Dunbar will be my dark horse this year.


With all due respect!

I meant “23”, not 24…from time to time I get things mixed up, but I am far from a “damn idiot”. Btw, over the last 3 years, the records and top times on just about all of your major NCAA course have been rewritten. I am not taking anything away Stanford, but if OK and NAU had raced in Indiana, they would have put several guys on the all time list as well. The point I was trying to make is you want see a Stanford threesome at the national meet, in fact I think OK will put 2 runners in front of Heath and Reily and another one right behind them.


i really do think you meant 24 not 23, considering you said it on repeated occasions and also mentioned that the national meet will go out faster than that. I would be flat out stunned if the lead group for the national meet went out in under 23 flat (i dont even know if sammy C going out hard will come thru much under 23). I never said stanford will put 3 in front of the OK state guys, so do not put words in my mouth. There will definitely be a gap between derrick and the other 2 for the first time all year.