And now the men - NCAA XC Preview - USA Athletics Scholarships

And now the men – NCAA XC Preview

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See below for an athlete by athlete preview of the 20 British and Irish representatives that will be toeing the line in Terre Haute on Saturday. 31 teams and in total 255 individuals will do battle over 10km at the Lavern Gibson Cross Country Course. The last British winner of the race was John Nuttall (Iowa State – 1989) and more recently Ireland’s Keith Kelly (Providence) picked up the title in 2000.

Women’s preview is here.

Alex George (Arkansas)

The true freshman has made an excellent start to life as a Razorback, slotting straight in to the scoring five as if he was a seasoned veteran.  This kind of immediate impact is hugely impressive for an 18 year old, and his results so far suggest that he is getting better race by race. The Gloucester athlete is one who will potentially have European Cross aspirations post Saturday, and with the form he has been this season would make him a valuable member of a GB junior team.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Jack Goodwin (Florida State)

A steady rather than spectacular start to collegiate cross country for the post graduate student, Goodwin finished in the top 50 at both Notre Dame and Wisconsin. More recently he finished 6th at the South regional and will be expected to contribute positively to Florida States team aspirations

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Zak Seddon (Florida State)

A very similar looking season so far to FSU team mate Jack Goodwin for steeplechaser Zak Seddon. He has experience of competing in the NCAA event in 2012 where he finished 192nd, and despite not having as a good a build up as back then, will be looking to improve on that performance.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2012: 192nd

Tom Purnell (Harvard)

Yet another athlete who has made textbook like improvements during his time so far in the NCAA. From 14.37 for 5000m in 2012 to 13.59 this season, the individual qualifier is clearly a much better athlete now than when he finished 198th at this meeting last year.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2013: 198th

Kieran Reilly (Indiana)

A fairly modest start to his collegiate cross country career for the middle distance specialist would suggest that he is taking his time to adapt step up in standard and length of race. 127th at Wisconsin and 62nd in the Midwest regional, a top 200 finish in Terre Haute would certainly be no disgrace and give him plenty to build on in the future.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Jake Byrne (Iona)

The North-East regional winner leads a very strong Iona team into nationals, and it is a team that certainly knows how to get it right at Terre Haute. Byrne has ran at the NCAA event three times previously, with each result being much improved from the last. Will this be the year where the senior crowns his collegiate cross country career with an All-American finish?

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2013: 71st, 2012: 163rd, 2011: 224th.

Kieran Clements (Iona)

The Ipswich athlete finished a creditable 57th in the same race last year, and that was before he was a 7.57 3000m and 29.17 10,000m man.  He has only competed in two cross country races so far this season (Conference and Regional), though can hopefully draw on last years’ experience to produce his best when it matters most.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2013: 57th.

Sam StablerSam Stabler (Lamar)

The improvements made by the Darren Gauson coached athlete perfectly sums up why British athletes head to the NCAA. In 2012 Stabler ran 15.02 for 5000m in the UK Olympic trials. Two years who, his PB now stands at 13.55 and he has enjoyed an excellent XC season so far. 35th in the high quality Wisconsin Invitational, though seemingly in better form now, the Southland Conference champion is another who will be targeting a top 40 finish.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Sean Tobin (Mississippi)

After a slow start to his first collegiate cross country campaign, the Irishman has really come into form during championship season. 6th in the SEC and then 4th in South regional to qualify as along with his Mississippi team mates, Tobin is clearly starting to find his feet. A top 80 finish would be a solid result for an NCAA debut.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Matthew Bergin (New Mexico)

Yet another New Mexico post graduate Brit competing in his first season of collegiate cross country. Results for the Bedfordshire athlete suggest that he is yet to really get things going in Albuquerque, perhaps taking his time to adapt to altitude training? Such is the depth of the NCAA meet that we predict he could finish anywhere between 100-200th position.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Alex Cornwell (New Mexico)

The Woodford Green athlete has been up and down this season finishing 17th at Notre Dame and 4th at the Mountain West , though only 70th at regionals and outside the top 100 at Wisconsin. This makes it very hard to predict how he will do in such a deep race, though his predominantly British team mates will be hoping that he can return to form here.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Ross Matheson (New Mexico)

Along with some of his British team mates, Matheson is another who’s form has been up and down this year. The Scotsman can at least draw upon the experience of having raced this meet last year and for his team to do better than they did at regionals will need him to step up and become a leader in Terre Haute.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2013: 131st

Jake Shelley (New Mexico)

One of New Mexico’s mid-pack runners, the former Oxford University student will need to improve on 70s finishes at Notre Dame and Wisconsin if the team are to finish inside the top 20. After ending his cross country season at the conference meet last year, this will be Shelley’s debut at an NCAA Championship.

 Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Daniel Studley (New Mexico)

The predominantly middle distance man has enjoyed a steady start to life in Albuquerque. No real stand out races yet but no disasters either, a top 100 finish from Studley would serve his team nicely as they look do improve on a disappointing 7th place in the Mountain regional meet.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Hugh Armstrong (Providence)

Any team is only as strong as its 5th man and the role of Hugh Armstrong for the Providence Friars this Saturday will be to pick off as many people as he can in that long finishing straight. 24th in the Big East and 80th in the North East regional, anything inside the top 200 would be a good result when thrown into the lion’s den for the first time on Saturday.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Aaron Hanlon (Providence)

The freshman has done well to become an immediate scorer for a team that almost always qualifies for nationals. Similar to Hugh Armstrong, giving everything he can for the team will be the main responsibility for Hanlon this Saturday.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

Ben Connor (Providence)

Along with team mate Shane Quinn, Ben Connor was another who was agonisingly a few spots the wrong side of the All-American cut off last year. Both athletes are back again to lead Providence, and fresh off a runner up finish in the North East regional we know that Ben Connor is in form.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2013: 44th.

Shane Quinn (Providence)

Two very respectable finishes in this meet for Shane Quinn in 2012 and 2013, the Irishman will be desperate to finally crack the top 40 and earn his first All-American honour. 4th in the North East regional, Quinn is another who has the potential to be top British or Irish finisher in Terre Haute.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2013: 42nd, 2012 69th.

Marc Scott (Tulsa)

Now a three time qualifier for this meet, Tulsa’s number one is heading to Terre Haute in fine form. Second at the strong Mid-West regional meet and also now the AAC Champion, the Yorkshireman will be aiming for All-American and has an excellent chance of being the top British or Irish finisher.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2012: 93rd, 2013: 193rd

Kevin Dooney (Yale)

Kevin Dooney is back at the NCAA for the second year in a row having finished 98th last time out. Since then he has gone on to take 45 seconds off of his 10,000m PB which now stands at 29.10. We have the North East regional 3rd placer down as an athlete who if he produces his top form could manage a top 40 finish.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2013: 98th

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