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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. 5 men’s spot in DII goes to Queens (N.C.), and here's why:
Probable Top Five:
SO Felix Wammetsberger (3:48 1500; 14:24 5K; 44th at ’17 NCAA XC)
SR Daniel Wallis (4:04 Mile; 14:25 5K; 47th at ’17 NCAA XC)
SO Nick Kipkemei (14:52 5K; 62nd at ’17 NCAA XC)
JR Yannick Duppich (8:18 3K; 14:23 5K)
JR Anthony Raftis (14:51 5K; 160th at ’17 NCAA XC)
No team improved more in 2017 than Queens University (N.C.), who finished sixth at NCAAs— best in school history— after placing second-to-last the year before. Now with six of their top seven returning in 2018, the upstart Royals look equipped to keep on improving as they hunt their first-ever podium finish.
Leading the charge will be sophomore Felix Wammetsberger, who backed up his stellar 44th place finish at NCAA XC with an All-American finish in the indoor mile in March. The German has great range from 800 to 10K, and so too does his teammate Daniel Wallis, a senior-to-be who was 47th at nationals in 2017. Wallis was an All-American in the indoor mile as well, and the Royals surely believe that they have two potential top-20 guys based on the strong track seasons each man had.
The talent doesn’t fall off from there, though. Like Wammetsberger, Nick Kipkemei was just a freshman last season, and he finished a very respectable 62nd at nationals. But that placing doesn’t tell the full story on the Kenyan, as Kipkemei’s runner-up finish at the Southeast regional suggests he too has All-American potential. If the Royals strike gold on all three of their top runners in 2018, a top-four trophy in Pittsburgh isn’t out of the question.