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2017 FloXC Countdown: #4 Alaska Anchorage Men

2017 FloXC Countdown: #4 Alaska Anchorage Men
Follow our 2017 FloXC Countdown, where FloTrack ranks the top ten cross country teams and individuals in the NCAA this season which will be LIVE on FloTrack. The No. 4 men's spot goes to Alaska Anchorage, and here's why:

Probable Top Five:

SR Edwin Kangogo (14:16 5K; 29:46 10K; 34th at '16 NCAA XC)
SR Henry Cheseto (14:08 5K; 29:36 10K; 3rd at '15 NCAA XC)
SR Justin Carrancho (3:54 1500; 8:34 3K; 73rd at '16 NCAA XC)
SR Nathan Kipchumba (1:49 800; 3:51 1500; 91st at '16 NCAA XC)
JR Amos Kipchumba (21st at '16 GNAC XC)

Analysis:

The Seawolves of Alaska Anchorage enter this season with a very obvious problem: they don't have a fifth man. Not literally, of course, but for a team with two returning All-Americans and four runners who finished inside the top 100 at nationals, Alaska Anchorage will have to rely on a fifth man with no championship experience or elite track PRs to keep them among the NCAA elite. With no room for error among their top runners -- and a huge question mark as to how good their last scorer will be -- the Seawolves are a highly talented squad in a precarious situation. Uncertainty coupled with tremendous talent slots them into fourth on our countdown.

But let's get to the good news. Seniors Edwin Kangogo and Henry Cheseto are both two-time All-Americans in cross country and together form the bedrock of the 2017 team. Cheseto had an offyear in 2016 to only finish 49th at nationals, but this is a guy who was third at NCAAs in 2015. If Cheseto can get anywhere near that form again, he and Kangogo could be among the top duos in DII in 2017. The latter was 34th at nationals last season and 30th the year prior.

Fellow seniors Justin Carrancho and Nathan Kipchumba should make for an excellent supporting cast. Bringing back four men with NCAA experience is a luxury not many teams enjoy. The Seawolves have that, with all four returners being seniors. The question is whether or not UAA can bring along a fifth man to keep this team competitive with the powerhouses of Division II. Junior Amos Kipchumba is seemingly the next man up to fill that role, but his resume is limited. A 21st-place finish at the competitive GNAC meet is promising, but not yet a solution entirely. The Seawolves will need him to keep improving to ensure that the potential of their senior core is fully realized.

FULL MEN'S RANKINGS HERE
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