By: Brian Elder
Over the weekend, the NCAA Cross Country Championships were held at the legendary LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Indiana. Although there was some incredible racing and even throughout the middle of the race there was a lot of uncertainty about the how the results would turn out, at the end of the day there were few surprises in the final results.
In the men's race, Oregon sophomore Edward Cheserek repeated as NCAA champion to follow up his individual championship performance and incredible win as a freshman. Cheserek took home the 8k title with a time of 30:19.4 and was followed close by his teammate Eric Jenkins. Cheserek is the first repeat NCAA champion since 08-09 when Sam Chelanga of Liberty repeated. The last Oregon runner to repeat was the legend Steve Prefontaine in '70 and '71. Unfortunately for Oregon their one-two punch was no match for the University of Colorado and their front pack of runners.
Colorado took home the men's team title with an incredible score of 65 points and repeated as Men's NCAA Cross Country Champions to hold off the Stanford Cardinals at 98 points. When asked about the possibility of a three peat next year, Colorado coach Mark Wetmore responded by saying they will be hard to beat next year because they have a lot of returning talent and even a few runners with great potential they have yet to use in competition.
On the women's side of competition, Michigan State captured the team title with 85 points and were led by Rachele Schulist in fourth place. Michigan State took a very similar approach to Colorado as their top four finishers packed together and finished in the top 21. This was the first NCAA Championship for any women's sports team at Michigan State. Coming in at second was Iowa State followed by New Mexico to cap off the top three.
Brian Elder is a learner, amateur explorer, and nomadic runner that is going to run until it takes him somewhere. He is a senior at the University of Georgia studying English and Religion. After running competitively on trails and roads, he fuels with an appetite so big you would swear it’s competitive. Follow Brian on Instagram.