Follow our 2019 FloXC Countdown, where FloTrack ranks the top 10 cross country teams in NCAA DII/DIII this season. The 2019 NCAA Cross Country Championships will be LIVE on FloTrack for all three divisions. And be sure to watch our LIVE FloXC Podium Reveal Show Monday, Aug. 26, at 10 AM CT. The No. 6 DII men’s spot goes to Missouri Southern, and here's why:
Projected Top Six:
SO Gidieon Kimutai (14:10 5K; 4th at ‘18 NCAA XC)
SR Michael Shanahan (71st at ‘18 NCAA XC)
SO Ryan Riddle (4:08 Mile; 8:56 3200; 168th at ‘18 D1 NCAA XC)
JR Jarod Ozee (14:54 5K; 86th at ‘18 NCAA XC)
SR Nickson Kiptoo (14:48 5K; 55th at ‘18 NCAA XC)
SR Cody Berry (66th at ‘16 NCAA XC)
Adam Wright via Great Britain (1:50 800; 3:49 1500)
Led by DII’s top returner, sophomore Gidieon Kimutai, Missouri Southern could be one of the most improved teams in Division II this season as the Lions return their entire top seven from last year’s 11th-place team. In addition, coach Bryan Schiding adds an elite transfer in sophomore Ryan Riddle, a former Tulsa runner who has NCAA XC experience at the DI level.
MoSo’s depth is the true strength of the team, but Kimutai is certainly the star of the show. The Kenyan won three races last fall and ran like a veteran in the mud and muck of Pittsburgh to notch a fourth-place NCAA finish. Given his strong track season, Kimutai is the favorite for Sacramento this November until further notice.
Behind him, the Lions have eight men with nationals experience from 2018, if you count Riddle. Returners Jarod Ozee, Nickson Kiptoo, and Cody Berry have all finished inside the top 100 in their careers, and improvements could see one or more notch All-American honors in 2019. Riddle may need time to adjust to a new team and training system, but he was a star in high school who was Tulsa’s No. 2 man as a true frosh.
Southern is on the outside looking in on a podium spot for now with DII’s historically great programs still favored to finish above them, but don’t be surprised to see the Lions nab a trophy this fall.