Men's Team Winners And Losers of Wisco/Pre-Nats Weekend

Michael Scott
In the aftermath of the most crucial weekend of the regular season, teams around the country competed at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, the Pre-National XC Invitational, and the Penn State National XC Open. Each meet produced some serious shake-ups in the men's Saucony Flo50 team rankings. Here are some of the winners and losers of the competitive weekend in NCAA cross country.

nullSTOCK UP -- Northern Arizona, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, UTEP, UCLA, Washington State, Southern Utah, Virginia, Oregon

In a high-pressure situation, Northern Arizona stepped up and emerged as the new No. 1 team in the country after being ranked No. 10 previously. Led by a runner-up finish from All-American Futsum Zienasellassi, the Lumberjacks showed strength not only in the top five scorers, but also in all seven finishers who crossed the line within the top 59 individuals at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational. 

Possibly one of the biggest secret weapons who NAU debuted was New Zealand transfer student Matt Baxter, who finished eighth overall as the No. 2 man. Tyler Day (17th), Cory Glines (20th), and Geordie Beamish (31st) rounded out the team score of 78 points, well ahead of now No. 2 Stanford's 118 points. 

In a much-anticipated fall debut, Stanford finally let Grant Fisher and Sean McGorty loose on the Madison course. The decision paid off as Fisher finished fourth and McGorty followed right behind him in sixth overall. What is even more impressive about the Stanford team performance is the fact that it has more potential aces left to play. Coach Chris Miltenberg told FloTrack that freshman stars Thomas Ratcliffe and Alex Ostberg will potentially make their debuts at the Pac-12 Championships in two weeks--which opens up even more opportunity in the postseason. 



UCLA earned its first entry into the Saucony Flo50 rankings after finishing sixth and beating No. 15 Portland and No. 16 Iowa State at Wisconsin. The Bruins were led by a breakthrough 10th-place finish from senior Ferdinand Edman. Washington State earned entry into the rankings after capturing a ninth-place team finish and beating previously ranked No. 11 Colorado State. Southern Utah also emerged for the first time in the rankings after finishing 12th overall and beating No. 23 Tulsa and previously ranked No. 9 Georgetown. 

WATCH: Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational Men's Race

The Penn State National XC Open produced an upset in Oklahoma State's takedown of No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 12 Virginia. The Cowboys' victory in State College enabled the team to rise from No. 20 to No. 10 in the rankings. Led by a lethal 1-2 punch of Hassan Abdi and Joshua Thompson, who went second and third, Oklahoma State finished all five scorers within the top 17 for a team score of 47 points. 

Ole Miss followed close behind with 49 points total. Rebels' leader MJ Erb ran away with the individual victory and was followed by Robert Domanic in fourth, Wes Gallagher in fifth, Sean Tobin in 10th, and Taylor Caldwell in 29th. The performance brought the team up from No. 13 to No. 11 in the rankings. 

Virginia's third-place team finish, while respectable, could be even faster with the addition of NCAA champion Henry Wynne, who has yet to race this fall. Reports say that Wynne will make his debut at NCAA regionals or the NCAA championships. Even without its ace, Virginia remains at No. 12 in the rankings. 

WATCH: Penn State National XC Men's Race

The Oregon Ducks displayed several notable performances on the way to winning the Pre-National Invitational team title. The day was highlighted by a dominant individual victory from 15-time NCAA champion Edward Cheserek, who claimed the win by taking off at the 3K mark. With no one in sight, Cheserek cruised into the finish line for the victory, 22 seconds ahead of runner-up Frankline Tonui of Arkansas. After the race, Cheserek told FloTrack that the performance was a "tempo run." 



Cheserek was followed by a breakthrough performance from sophomore teammate Matthew Maton, who finished fourth overall ahead of Louisville All-Americans Calvin Chemoiywo and Edwin Kibichiy. Maton's performance was his first time racing on the tough Terre Haute course. Tanner Anderson (18th), Levi Thomet (26th), and Sam Prakel (36th) rounded out a low score of 85 points to win the meet and remain at No. 4 in the rankings. 

UTEP made a jump after finishing sixth as a team in Terre Haute with the help of two top-10 finishes from Cosmas Boit and Anthony Kosgei, who finished ninth and 10th, respectively. The team stands at No. 13 after being ranked 18th previously.


nullSTOCK DOWN -- Syracuse, Georgetown, Colorado State, Indiana, Boise State, Washington

The Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational proved to be telling for defending NCAA champion Syracuse. The Orange finished fourth in Madison behind NAU, Stanford, and BYU with 167 points, which dropped Syracuse's ranking from No. 2 to No. 6 in the country. The team's leader, Justyn Knight, put on a kicking clinic when he claimed the individual title, but as coach Chris Fox pointed out, the team's No. 3 through No. 5 scorers have the talent to perform better than their showings. He plans to get them up to speed for November. 

"We're good, we're not great right now. We couldn't win nationals right now, but five weeks is a long time," Fox told FloTrack. "We certainly have the personnel, we'll see if they have a good coach."



Georgetown, Colorado State, Boise State, and Washington had tough days in Wisconsin after disappointing showings that dropped their respective rankings. Previously ranked No. 9 Georgetown finished 14th and now stands at No. 18 in the rankings. After finishing 10th, Colorado State dropped from No. 11 to No. 19. Then-No. 19 Boise State finished 15th as a team and fell to No. 24, and previously ranked No. 14 Washington finished behind the Broncos in 16th--resulting in a drop to No. 25 in the rankings.

Previously ranked No. 17 Indiana experienced a drop when the team finished fifth at Pre-Nationals and got beat by No. 20 Michigan. The performance resulted in a drop to No. 21.

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