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 SUNY Geneseo, and here's why:
Probable Top Three:
SR Isaac Garcia-Cassani (3:42 1500; 14:16 5K; 1st at '17 NCAA Mile/1500; 4th at '16 NCAA XC)
SR Alex Burks (14:54 5K; 84th at '16 NCAA XC)
SR Connor Pulvidente (15:09 5K; 115th at '16 NCAA XC; 163rd at '15 NCAA XC)
Fourth/Fifth Man Battle:
SR Matt Jorgensen (188th at '16 NCAA XC)
SO Jack Tate (15:01 5K)
JR Luke Holtzman
SR Colin Kern (15:01 5K)
SO Sean McAneny
SO Justin Hoelzl
Brad Farnham via Penfield, NY (4:20 1600, 9:44 3K SC)
SUNY Geneseo's never made nationals before 2003, and have never missed it since, giving them the fourth-longest men's active streak in DIII. (North Central has made it every year since 1973; Haverford and Calvin started their streaks in 1993.) In that time, the Knights men have stood on the podium three times --fourth in 2011 and third and second the last two years -- and they have an excellent shot to make it a fourth this fall.
Despite graduating their second, third, and fifth runners from last year's runners-up squad, head coach Dan Moore says, "This year's team is better." And he's not just blowing smoke: they objectively performed better than the 2016 squad at the annual preseason time trial 5K, according to Moore.
Unfortunately for Geneseo, it's a very deep year on the men's side, and Moore knows that, telling me that "we could be better than we were last year but still be fourth, fifth, sixth." They can't control who comes back from the Midwest, though, so let's dive into what they've got.
Isaac Garcia-Cassani will be No. 1 in our individual rankings, and not just because he's the top returner: he might be the most consistent national performer in DIII. In the mile and 1500 indoors and out, he's been third, third, third, first, and first the last two years; at the last two cross country nationals, he took eighth and fourth. He'll almost certainly be first or second in the country in November.
Behind him, Alex Burks and Connor Pulvidente are both top-65 returners, giving the Knights an ironclad top three. What will determine their podium status -- in addition to the usual variables -- is how strong they are at the four and five spots. There are at least five good candidates to fill those two slots. Luke Holtzman and Sean McAneny ran regionals last fall; Matt Jorgensen was 188th at nationals a year ago; and Jack Tate and Colin Kern both ran 15:01 on the track.
There aren't many programs like Geneseo -- like we said above, only four schools have made nationals each of the last 14 years. And programs like that tend to get top-100 finishes out of athletes like Holtzman, McAneny, Jorgensen, Tate, and Kern. This is a podium team.
FULL MEN'S RANKINGS HERE