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The Top Five NCAA Men's Teams To Watch In This Cross Country Season

The Top Five NCAA Men's Teams To Watch In This Cross Country Season

The Oklahoma State Cowboys aren't only the defending national champions, but they're also one of the favorites to hoist the 2024 trophy this November.

Jul 10, 2024 by Maxx Bradley
The Top Five NCAA Men's Teams To Watch In This Cross Country Season

It feels like it was just yesterday that Oklahoma State put five men in the top 15 finishers, de-throning Northern Arizona from the top of the NCAA cross country world.

Somehow, we are already less than a month away from athletes returning to campus and there are already a few programs to keep an eye on.

Here are five of the top men's programs heading into the 2024 season. 

Oklahoma State 

Not even a year removed from one of the most dominant performances in NCAA championship history, the Cowboys are bringing back four All-Americans and six out of their 2023 top-seven. 

To keep it simple, it's going to take a lot to match Oklahoma State, let alone beat them. Denis Kipngetich, who took fourth at nationals in Charlottesville, had a great season on the track, running as fast as 13:26 and 28:10 in the 5,000m and 10,000m. Meanwhile, Brian Musau, Fouad Messaoudi and Victor Shitsama all had great seasons as well, with Musau finishing fourth in the 5,000m last month. Dave Smith didn't miss out in terms of incoming talent, either, with freshmen Henry Dover (7:57 3k) and Oliver Patton (8:06 3k) making up a potentially dangerous duo. 

Oklahoma State has a very good shot to repeat. 

Northern Arizona

For a team that has won six titles over the last eight years, this might be the most vulnerable the Lumberjacks have been during their dynasty. 

Both Nico Young and Drew Bosley have moved on from the program, with Young signing a deal with adidas and Bosley's eligibility on the grass gone.

Mike Smith's underclassmen will need to step up in big ways. After a historic 1,500m season, Colin Sahlman will be one of the big dogs this fall, with a 23:35 8K personal best to his name. Meanwhile, Aaron Sahlman, Ford Washburn, Zack Munson are a coming off their first year in Flagstaff and if the trend continues just like it has for Smith in the past, they're due for a strong season. 

Santiago Prosser, Corey Gorgas and Kang Nyoak are all veterans heading into the season, and the group could be lethal when the going gets tough. This wouldn't be Northern Arizona if we didn't see an underrated athlete stepping up, either. So keep an eye on potential new talent making their way up the roster ranks.

Brigham Young University

The only men's program beside NAU or Oklahoma State to win a national title since 2015, the Cougars will be in a position to go after another national title. 

After finishing a distant third last November, the 2019 national champions are set to return Casey Clinger, Olympian James Corrigan, Creed Thompson, Joey Nokes and Lucas Bons, while sophomores Isaac Hedengren and Wyatt Haughton could make big impacts over their second years. 

Eyestone did also bring in American Fork High School stars Daniel Simmons and Ben Jaster and both should be expected to compete in cross country before they head off on their LDS missions. 

Wake Forest

The entirety of the Demon Deacons' top-seven are back for another year in Winston-Salem, with guys like Rocky Hansen and Joseph O'Brien at the helm of the young team. Hansen and O'Brien clocked personal best times of 23:27 and 23:40 over 8,000 meters last October and could see a big improvement after getting a year under their belts. 

Incoming freshmen JoJo Jourdon, Landon Pretre, Will Hauser and Great Britain's Corey Campbell are joining in on the fun as well, as the incredibly young team looks to contend with the best of the best and gain experience. This team consisted of largely freshmen last year and reached the NCAAs. Expect that potential to blossom in 2024.


Heading into the fall, there are just a handful of teams which have the potential to take down Oklahoma State and the Razorbacks are one of them. 

For starters, the trio of Peter Maru, Patrick Kiprop and Kirami Yego are back and in it to win it, accompanied by junior Ben Shearer. It's also been a busy spring in the transfer portal for the 2023 fourth-place finishers, with the likes of Brian Masai (13:24 5k) and Timothy Chesondin (23:28 8k) joining the team in Fayetteville. 

One of most successful programs in NCAA history will be in the hunt yet again later this year, and the potential of this team is out of this world.

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