Stillwater in Oklahoma stages the NCAA Cross Country Championships Finals on Saturday, November 19.
The men's individual race is shaping up as a wide-open competition without a clear favorite.
The names to watch are NAU's Nico Young, Oklahoma State's Alex Maier, Stanford's Ky Robinson, Charles Hicks, and Victor Kiprop of Alabama.
Maier won the Cowboy Jamboree Cross Country race on 24 September, beating Young and Hicks. Maier finished second in the 10000 meters at the NCAA Championships last June.
Kiprop is the only undefeated runner in the NCAA this year. He has won all five races, including the Joe Plane Invitational at Notre Dame and the Southern Eastern Conference, where he beat Dylan Jacobs of Tennessee. Kiprop ran the 5000 meters in 13:24.48 at the Brian Clay Invitational in Azusa and the 10000 meters in 28:15.72 at Stanford.
Ky Robinson from Australia finished fourth in the 5000 meters in 13:30.23 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last June and finished sixth in the 10000m at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Robinson won the Nuttycombe road race beating Nico Young, and finished sixth at the Pac-12.
Hicks finished second at Cowboy Jamboree, third at Nuttycombe, won the Pac-12 in the current cross country season, and sixth in the 10000m at the NCAA Championships. He was born in London and competed for Great Britain.
Young is one of the best high school cross-country runners. He helped the Lumberjacks win two national cross-country titles and finished ninth in the 5000 meters at the Olympic Trials in 2021 at 18. Last spring, he clocked 13:11.30 in the 5000m at San Juan Capistrano, setting the fastest time by a US teenager, and finished third in the 5000m at the NCAA Championships.
The other names to follow are Nickolas Scudder, who lost only a race against Victor Kiprop at Notre Dame but won the Panorama Farms Cross Country Under 23 Championships and the Southeast Regional this year, Dylan Jacobs, who clocked 13:14.04 in the 5000m indoors in Boston in 2022 and won the NCAA title in the 10000 metres in Eugene in 2022, and Bob Liking, two-time Big 10 Cross Country Championships and fourth at Nuttycombe.
Four schools can win the NCAA men's team title; Stanford, NAU, BYU, and Oklahoma State can win.
The favorites are Katelyn Tuhoy and Parker Valby. Tuhoy was one the greatest high school cross country runner in history. He broke middle school records held by Mary Cain. This year she won the NCAA outdoor title in the 5000m in 15:18.39 and improved her PBs to 15:14.61 in the 5000m and 4:06.84 in the 1500m. This year she won four cross-country races at Notre Dame, Wisco, ACCs, and Regionals.
Parker Valby finished second to Tuhoy in the 5000m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and is undefeated in her three cross-country races at Texas A&M, SEC, and Regionals.
The other top names are Mercy Chelangat, who won the NCAA Cross Country title in March 2021 and lost to Tuhoy and Valby in the current cross country season, Ceili McCabe, third at last year's NCAA Cross Country Championships and winner at PAC 12 ahead of Taylor Roe, who finished second at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in March 2021 and third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 5000m in Eugene in 15:24.41, Kaylee Mitchell and Laura Pelicoro from Italy, who finished first and second at the West Regionals at the
North Carolina State, the defending NCAA champions, are heavy favorites to win the women's team title.