NCAA XC DIII Recap: North Central Does Their Best NAU Impression

Workout Wednesday: North Central Crushes Mile Repeats

While the top Division I teams were going to head-to-head in Madison, Wisconsin, at Pre-Nationals on Saturday, the majority of the best squads in Division III were doing the same an hour and a half north in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at their version of Pre-Nats. 

The UW-Oshkosh Kollege Town Sports Invitational featured a who’s who of DIII stars competing on the same course that will host nationals in five weeks, and when the dust had settled, a clearer picture of the favorites for NCAAs had emerged. 

With most of the top DII teams being idle over the weekend, DIII gets all the attention in this recap. Here were the highlights from a maddening Saturday:

D3 Men: North Central Does Their Best NAU Impression At DIII Pre-Nats 

In a field that featured five other teams ranked in the top 10 in Division III cross country, the most dominant team in NCAA history, North Central, did what they do: crush everyone to all but confirm that a 19th national title will be theirs come November.

The two-time NCAA defending champions were heavily favored coming into the UW-Oshkosh Kollege Town Sports Invitational on Saturday, aka DIII Pre-Nats, and they delivered accordingly by stomping third-ranked Washington U. 41-97. The Cardinals put four in the top ten and all seven in the top 40, a very NAU-like performance for a team also looking to win their third straight NCAA crown.

If there’s any consolation for those hoping for a competitive team battle when the athletes return to Oshkosh in a month for NCAAs, second-ranked Wisconsin-La Crosse was not in attendance on Saturday; the Eagles of UWL instead finished third at a home meet behind junior college power Iowa Central and DII’s sixth-ranked Augustana (S.D.).

But it’s tough to imagine anyone topping this smackdown if it’s repeated on November 17:

FloXC No. 1 individual Dhruvil Patel reaffirmed his status as the NCAA favorite, while Matt Osmulski, who didn’t even make NCC’s nationals roster last year, ran undoubtedly the best race of his collegiate cross country career to take runner-up honors. Like always, coach Al Carius finds a way to mold unheralded runners into DIII legends, and he may have another on his hands with Osmulski.

This tweet says everything:

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Behind 53 Years Of North Central's History With Al Carius

D3 Women: Wash U. Crushes MIT At Pre-Nats, Hopkins Dominates Geneseo At Rowan

The women’s race in Oshkosh was missing top-ranked Johns Hopkins (I’ll get to them in a bit), but the battle between No. 2 Wash U. and No. 3 MIT promised to make clear which talented squad has the best shot at dethroning JHU come nationals.

The answer on Saturday, resoundingly, was Washington U. The second-ranked Bears used two top five finishes from their All-American duo of Paige Lawler (2nd, 21:31) and Aly Wayne (5th, 21:48) to crush MIT 70-108. The Engineers ran an admirable race-- Izzi Gengaro, Leandra Zimmermann, and Jenna Melanson all placed in the top 15-- but Wash U’s huge advantage up front was simply too much to overcome.

Behind those top two squads, the Brandeis women-- who didn’t even qualify for nationals last year-- had arguably the most impressive performance of the meet. The Judges beat three top 10 teams, led by three-time All-American Emily Bryson’s 4th place individual finish, and now have almost certainly secured their first NCAA bid since 2013.

In the individual race, FloXC No. 10 Claire Lamb of Otterbein scored a huge upset with her eight-second win in 21:23. Lamb, who was 22nd at nationals in 2017, beat five other top 10 ranked individuals at Oshkosh on Saturday.

Across the country in New Jersey, the top-ranked Johns Hopkins women put all five of their scorers in the top 11 to thoroughly dismantle fourth-ranked SUNY Geneseo 33-84 at the Rowan Interregional Border Battle. 

The two-time defending NCAA champions were led by junior Sam Levy, who finished third in 21:16. 

Levy, who didn’t even make the nationals roster last year, had a career day for the Blue Jays. She looks primed to be a low stick for a JHU squad that continues to compete without All-American senior Natalia LaSpada. With Levy running next to Ellie Clawson, the NCAA’s top returner in 2018, the Jays will be awfully tough to beat come nationals.

Coast Guard's Kaitlyn Mooney Eyes NCAA History At DIII XC

When Coast Guard sophomore Kaitlyn Mooney crosses the finish line Saturday at the 2018 DIII NCAA XC Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, there’s a very good chance she’ll have accomplished a feat that no other woman has in NCAA history.

Loyalty To Team Is The Driving Force At NCAA Cross Country Championships

(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

MADISON, Wisc. (16-Nov) -- Morgan McDonald has worn the Australian colors in five global championships, and placed eighth at last April's Commonwealth Games in the 5000m on home soil.  But the 22 year-old senior from Sydney, who will be running his final cross country race tomorrow for the University of Wisconsin, said those championships don't compare to tomorrow's NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships here when it comes to his drive to succeed as a member of a team.

2018 DIII NCAA XC All-American Projections

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

Below are FloTrack's 2018 projections for the men's and women's DIII NCAA XC All-Americans:

Former NCAA Stars Make Their XC Predictions

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

Watch the 2018 DI NCAA XC Championships LIVE on FloTrack, Saturday Nov. 17th!

DIII NCAA XC Women's Preview: Hopkins Hones In On Dynasty

Workout Wednesday: Johns Hopkins Men & Women

The 2018 DIII NCAA women’s cross country championships will feature a favorite in Johns Hopkins looking to expand on their recent dynasty, and a slew of challengers seeking to put an end to the Blue Jays’ dominance. Hopkins will race for their sixth title since 2012 on Saturday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a run that only one other DIII women’s program in history has accomplished. It should be fascinating to watch it all unfold in brutal cross country conditions this weekend.

Deep Field Tries To Take Down New Mexico, Kelati Goes For First Title

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

It didn’t take long for the narrative of the women’s NCAA cross country season to shift. New Mexico entered the fall with three of the nation’s best runners, high profile transfers, and a clear line to their third team title in four years. 

NCAA XC Champs Confidence Picks: NAU Three-Peats, McDonald Edges Fisher

The stakes are clear and the storylines are well established. 

NAU Goes For Three, Fisher/McDonald Finally Meet

2018 Men's DI NCAA XC Rewind

It was only minutes after they stepped off the track at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, that Tyler Day and Matt Baxter were thinking of the fall. 

DIII NCAA XC Men's Preview: North Central Goes For No. 19

Workout Wednesday: North Central Crushes Mile Repeats

The winningest program in NCAA cross country history will look to add another title to their storied legacy as North Central College races for their record 19th DIII XC men's national championship on Saturday November 17, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Cardinals will enter the meet as big favorites to take their third straight NCAA crown on the icy terrain of Lake Breeze Golf Course, but it won’t be easy as they battle experienced foes and freezing cold conditions. Another notch in North Central's hefty championship belt is at stake on race day, but it’s a notch they will really have to earn.

House Of Run: NCAA Sleepers And Storylines

Jason and Kevin discuss the sleepers, spoilers and storylines for Saturday’s NCAA Cross Country Championships. Can NAU and New Mexico continue their winning ways? Will the men’s race come down to Grant Fisher and Morgan McDonald?