Follow our 2018 FloXC Countdown, where FloTrack ranks the top cross country teams in the NCAA this season, which will be LIVE on FloTrack. The No. 8 men’s spot in DII goes to Chico State, and here's why:
Probable Top Five:
SR Teddy Kassa (14:52 5K; 79th at ’17 NCAA XC)
SR Jack Johnson (8:59 3K SC; 14:07 5K; 189th at ’17 NCAA XC)
SR Eddie King (14:13 5K; 84th at ’17 NCAA XC)
SR Jason Intravaia (3:55 1500; 14:30 5K)
SO Wyatt Baxter (14:41 5K; 30:54 10K)
While it’s tempting to write off Chico State after the graduation of one of their top runners in school history— nine-time All-American Kyle Medina— as well as 14:06 5,000m man Connor Fisher, in truth the Wildcats are a sneaky deep team that bring back two top-100 finishers from 2017 and a bounty of men coming off big track seasons.
Yes, Chico was just ninth last November even with Medina’s fourth place finish buoying them, but with four NCAA veteran seniors up front and several 14:30 or faster 5K guys, the Wildcats shouldn’t fall off at all.
Senior Teddy Kassa looks like the number one man on this team, as he was the No. 3 guy at NCAAs behind Medina, but really any of the three other seniors in the projected top five could rise to the occasion. Jack Johnson and Eddie King each had remarkable spring track seasons that suggest they’ll be better on the grass this fall. Both Johnson and King were All-Americans at NCAA outdoor, a promising sign for coach Gary Towne moving forward. Johnson was just 189th at nationals in 2017, but with a sub-9:00 steeple and 14:07 5K now in his pocket, he’s bound to improve dramatically.
With zero returning cross country All-Americans, Chico State has the appearance of seeming a lot less fearsome than in years past. But if you can manage to squint, you just might see a deep group bursting with tons of potential.