Curse of Grote? Happened to me in my first PAC-10 race, soph year though, 1993…at Stanford. Was fired up, went down on first fairway, got up and all I saw was USC guys and Arizona State. Bad news. Hammered, caught teammates after a mile (we had one stud Brit who refused to not try to beat eventual NCAA Champ Kapkory, and 6 solid dudes) and told them I was OK. Wound up fading a bit, and finished I believe 25th, together with 2 teammates. Only win ever for U-Dub men.
Two weeks later, regionals, determined not to fall went out inexplicably hard…have great photo from the side from a distance…Kapkory, our Brit, and another stud Wazzu Kenyan…then 5m…then mysorryass…then a gap, then Karl Keska from Oregon, Portland studs Pete Julian, Cal’s Richie Boulet, NCAA runner-up Gary Stolz, etc. Wound up giving up a few spots, but hung on well enough for Washington to be 2nd, get the auto to NCAA’s at Lehigh. I never ran 8:44y in high school, college, post-college, or my dreams, and in fact didn’t break 17 at Holmdel in high school, so I bet Joe Rosa has a good 10k in him.
I also suspect that like the aforementioned '93 race, the Portland Pilots will win.