NCAA cross country kicks into gear this week with the debut of many of the nation’s top teams and runners competing at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin XC Invitational live on FloTrack.
At this stage in the season, it’s hard to be confident about much of what will transpire on Friday in Madison with line-ups shuffling and coaches managing the effort of their athletes. However, this season is marked by dominant programs--teams that have distinguished themselves through sheer dominance and the removal of the uncertainty that is inherent in September cross country.
With that said, here are five confidence picks about the biggest meet thus far in 2018 NCAA cross country season.
Confidence Picks presented by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans
NAU’s Matt Baxter and Tyler Day pick up where they left off last November and finish 1-2, leading the Lumberjacks to the men’s championship.
The New Mexico women, bolstered by the new additions of Adva Cohen and Hannah Nuttall, score fewer than 40 points to defend their women’s title.
Two freshman finish in the top 10 of the women’s race.
Morgan McDonald places in the top five in his first cross country race since 2016 and the Badgers finish in the top three.
The unranked men’s team from Villanova plays the role of sleeper, finishing in the top 10.