Five Upsets That Shaped DII NCAA XC

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Race Replay: 2018 DII NCAA XC Championship Men's 10k

A muddy and hilly course in Pittsburgh made for a brutally tough day at NCAA DII XC on Saturday, and that chaos helped to create an avalanche of upsets that may not have been possible otherwise.

Here were the top-five most shocking upsets from DII XC:

Marcelo Laguera blows past Zach Panning to win CSU-Pueblo’s first XC title

The Pueblo senior had never finished inside the top 20 at NCAA XC before Saturday, and in his four years he never even won a conference cross country title, and yet Marcelo Laguera used the treacherous Pittsburgh conditions to his advantage as he shockingly kicked past pre-race favorite Zach Panning in the final 200m on Saturday.

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'Mountain Guy' Marcelo Laguera Scores Upset Win At DII XC


Laguera implemented a perfect strategy to capitalize on the shredded course, as he stalked Panning for 30-plus minutes, never touching the lead, and then finally striking when the finish came in sight. On terrain perfectly suited to his “mountain guy” strengths, he timed his move just right and the upset was on.

Grand Valley State women put four runners in front of every other team’s top two

If anyone was going to dominate the women’s race at DII XC in the way Grand Valley State ultimately did (41 points, lowest team score since 2004), you figured it would’ve been 17-time NCAA champion and No.1-ranked Adams State, which had dropped an impressive 23-second spread at the South Central regional. 

Instead, four Lakers entrenched themselves at the front of the race from the beginning -- a smart move on a course ill-suited for making up ground -- and held on to put four in the top 10 and completely dominate a stacked field. GVSU was just sixth last year, but a combination of three crucial factors flipped the script for them in 2018: individual champion Sarah Berger’s addition to the team, unheralded Hanna Groeber’s sixth-place finish in her NCAA XC debut, and the wet and sloppy conditions. All three factors created a perfect storm for a Grand Valley team coming off a disappointing 2017 nationals.

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Race Replay: 2018 DII NCAA XC Championship Women's 6k


Emily Roberts finishes third in her first NCAA Championship race in two years

With all due respect to winner Sarah Berger and runner-up Eilish Flanagan, the most impressive individual finish in the women's race belongs to U-Mary senior Emily Roberts, who placed third despite struggling with injuries for the better part of two years. 

Her talent has always been evident -- Roberts was fifth at NCAAs in back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016 while at Southern Indiana -- but her return to health and competitiveness was an arduous one, as Roberts was only running 18:30 for 5K as recently as February. For someone with a 16:05 PR, it looked like her All-American days were over.

But Roberts persevered, and after a steady climb in performance throughout the fall since transferring to U-Mary, everything came together in her final collegiate cross country race. Roberts hadn’t finished as the Marauders No. 1 all season -- in fact, she was just the team’s seventh at Roy Griak on September 29 -- but the tough course at NCAAs clearly worked in her favor as she used her 10K strength (2016 NCAA 10K runner-up) to lead a talented U-Mary squad that ended up with five All-Americans.

With a return to health and the perfect setting for her skill set, Roberts’ storybook comeback was complete.

Grand Valley State men beat Adams State at nationals for the first time ever

Adams State’s tough day in the men’s race helped to underscore just how dominant the Grizzlies have been for more than two decades at DII NCAAs: their fourth place finish in Pittsburgh was their worst showing at nationals since 1996. Part of the difference this season was the fitness of two top-10 finishers from 2017, as Kale Adams (44th) and Joshua Joseph (119th) both struggled after placing third and ninth, respectively, at nationals last year. According to Grizzlies head coach Damon Martin, Adams dealt with injuries during the summer that delayed his training and ultimately prevented him from reaching his potential. 

The poor conditions didn't help matters either, as 13:29 5K guy Sydney Gidabuday was never a factor up front. The senior Gidabuday took 12th, 56 seconds behind Marcelo Laguera, whom he beat for the RMAC title just a month earlier.

The Grizzlies rough day at Schenley Park and Grand Valley’s victory also provided another dose of history: for the first time ever, the Lakers beat the 13-time NCAA champions Adams State at nationals. 

Sioux Falls men finish fifth after placing a distant third at Central regional

Although they finished 39 points away from the podium, the Sioux Falls men still had a remarkable day at NCAAs, securing a fifth-place finish, their best in school history. What’s even more impressive is that they did it despite placing a distant third in the Central regional two weeks prior, losing by 55 points to regional champ Missouri Southern and 40 points to Central runner-up Augustana (S.D.) on November 17. But at nationals, the Cougars turned the tables.

Led by Mason Phillips’ seventh-place finish, Sioux Falls crushed Missouri Southern by 131 points and six places and Augustana by 114 points and five places. What a difference two weeks -- and a much different course than the lightning quick Missouri Southern surface -- made for the Cougars.

Tara Davis Reportedly Transferring From Georgia to Texas

Update (Dec. 13): Georgia head coach Petros Kyprianou announced that Tara Davis is transferring to Texas, though she has yet to respond herself with her official plans for the future. 

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Christina Aragon Feels Like An Experienced Runner Now

Aside from the inherent drama and intrigue present in every NCAA Cross Country Championships, last month’s meet served as an excellent table-setter for the indoor season. 

Which NCAA Stars Will Go Sub-4 For The First Time In 2019?

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Men's Mile, Heat 6

The sub-4:00 mile chase is one of the most compelling facets of the NCAA indoor season, and in 2019 there are plenty of collegiate contenders ready to punch their membership cards for the first time.

House Of Run: Scintillating FL Finish, Another Ingebrigtsen Double

Jason and Kevin discuss the Ingebrigtsen victory party at Euro Cross, an epic finish line fall, a thrilling final 200 meters at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, Caterine Ibarguen and Eliud Kipchoge winning the IAAF Athlete of the Year, Russia getting its ban renewed and the most important people in track and field of 2018.

Champions Set To Return To Boston Marathon

It Still Hasn't Sunk In Yet For Des Linden

John Hancock Financial announced today that 2018 champions Yuki Kawauchi of Japan and Des Linden of the United States have been contracted to run the 2019 Boston Marathon. Reigning wheelchair division champions Tatyana McFadden of the United States and Marcel Hug of Switzerland are also set to return.

Weekend Recap: Cheserek Cashes In Again, Epic Foot Locker Sprint

Ed Cheserek After Running Fastest-Ever Mile On Hawaiian Soil

With Foot Locker, the European XC Championships and some early season indoor track events all happening over the weekend, it was particularly unique and busy few days in the running world. If that wasn’t enough, Edward Cheserek messed around and ran the fastest mile ever on Hawaiian soil to win his second-straight Merrie Mile in Waikiki in a photo finish.

U-Mary's Emily Roberts Conquered Injuries, Doubts To Crush It At NCAAs

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Race Replay: 2018 DII NCAA XC Championship Women's 6k

When University of Mary senior Emily Roberts crossed the finish line in third place at the NCAA DII Cross Country Championships on Dec. 1, a remarkable comeback that had been nearly unimaginable at the beginning of the season was complete. 

Fun Stats From The 2018 European XC Championships

Courtesy of Ken Nakamura, here are some fun stats from the 2018 European XC Championships in Tilburg, Netherlands.

Successful Marathon Debut For Donn Cabral In Honolulu

Donn Cabral Takes Fourth In Marathon Debut

(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Despite Powerful Winds, Ekiru Comes Close To Honolulu Marathon Record

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2018 Honolulu Marathon Highlights

(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved