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. 6 men’s spot in DII goes to CSU-Pueblo, and here's why:
Probable Top Five:
SR Marcelo Laguera (14:18 5K; 30:19 10K; 23rd at ’17 NCAA XC)
SR Derrick Williams (8:03 3K; 8:52 3K SC; 13:55 5K; 14th at ‘15 NCAA XC)
SR Alec Choury (8:43 3K; 28th at ’17 NCAA XC)
FR Cole Muñoz (9:34 3200; 8th at ‘17 CO State XC)
FR Ben Highfill (4:32 1600; 9:46 3200)
Cole Muñoz via Colorado Springs, CO (9:34 3200; 8th at ‘17 CO State XC)
Ben Highfill via Pueblo, CO (4:32 1600; 9:46 3200)
Colorado State University-Pueblo was one of just four teams to have at least three All-Americans at last November’s NCAA Championships, with the other three teams being the first, second, and third place squads. Although one of Pueblo’s top 40 finishers from 2017-- Paul Roberts-- has transferred, the return of superstar Derrick Williams to the cross country course will easily fill that void.
The three-headed monster that is CSU-Pueblo’s top three features seniors Marcelo Laguera, Alec Choury, and Williams. Laguera and Williams could be top 10 guys at nationals on a good day, and Choury-- despite not sharing his teammates’ elite track PRs-- likely won’t be too far behind. Williams hasn’t had a successful cross country season since 2015, but an incredible 2018 track season-- in which he broke 14:00 in the 5k for the first time and finished fourth in the steeple at nationals-- shows he’s ready for big things this fall.
The loss of Paul Roberts still stings for the Thunderwolves, as does the departures of Michael Duran and Logan Morley, two other potential NCAA scorers for Pueblo that have left the program. Because of those losses, head coach Matt Morris will likely have to rely on two true freshmen, Cole Muñoz and Ben Highfill, to step up and fill those big shoes.
Fortunately, the Thunderwolves have some breathing room because of their spectacular top three as they shoot for the top four in December.