British and Irish athlete by athlete NCAA XC Champs preview

NCAA XC Mens preview

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Below is our British and Irish athlete by athlete preview of who we believe will be competing in this weekend’s NCAA Cross Country Championships. Apologies if we have missed anyone, this may have happened in the case of any athletes who did not run at regionas but will run nationals. Our previews are based both on knowledge of the athletes form and also experience of having competed in the NCAA Cross Country Championships on multiple occasions. If any athletes reading disagree with our predictions, we very much hope that they welcome the challenge to prove us wrong.

Listed in alphabetical order…

Kieran Clements (Iona – team)

Lead man for the perennially strong Iona Gaels, Kieran Clements heads to Kentucky in solid form. He finished a very respectable 21st at Wisconsin and then qualified for NCAAs with a fourth place at the North East regional. With newly found sub 29 10,000m strength this year, Clements will be looking to improve from his NCAA XC best of 57th in 2013.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2014: 177th, 2013: 57th.

tbUSA predicted finish – 37th

 

Jamaine Coleman (Eastern Kentucky – team)

Competing in his first full NCAA XC season, the Preston steeplechaser has done well to make it into a strong Eastern Kentucky team. Where teams finish in the overall standings is far more down to where the fith man is in the race than the first, and this will most likely be the role required from Coleman this weekend. 140th at Wisconsin – anything close to that here would be considered a success.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

tbUSA predicted finish – 217th

 

Liam Dee (Iona – team)

Another athlete who could be in line to play the number 5 role for his team, Liam Dee should find himself in the mid 100s with a mile to go, so anything between 120th- 220th could happen depending on how he handles those last few minutes running. 7th in the MAAC Championships has been the British junior’s best result this season. With a good run in Kentucky, he may be one who has eyes on the GB U20 team for the European Cross.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

tbUSA predicted finish – 155th

 

Kevin Dooney (Yale – individual)

One of the highest placed returners from last year, All-American has made it to NCAA’s for the third year in a row. Only 54th at Pre-Nats, he improved from that to finish 2nd at the Ivy Championships and then qualified with an 8th place at North East regional. Whether he is in the same form as last year remains to be seen, though one major advantage he has is the experience of getting it right on the big day.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2014: 34th, 2013: 98th

tbUSA predicted finish – 71st

 

Alex George (Arkansas – team)

The European Junior 5000m champion has certainly been in plenty of big races this year. As well as picking up the title in Sweden, he was also 39th in the junior race at the IAAF world cross. With the luxury of not having to run at regionals, the Arkansas athlete will certainly be fresh and has an excellent chance of an All-American finish. We predict it will be a tight battle between George and Michael Vennard for 2nd and 3rd Brit finishes.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2014: 183rd

tbUSA predicted finish – 39th

 

Jack Goodwin (Florida State – team)

A key man in Florida State’s team aspirations, Jack Goodwin has been very steady so far this season. Nothing spectacularly good, though nothing especially bad – 40th at Wisconsin, a couple of top 10’s at smaller meetings, and then 13th at the South regional. He produced an excellent run to qualify for the 5000m nationals on the track this season, so if he can step it up again then a finishing position somewhere between 40th and 60th would be a good days work.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

tbUSA predicted finish – 68th

 

Neil Gourley (Virginia tech – team)

Full marks to both Neil Gourley and his Virginia Tech team mates for stepping up this season, as they have not typically been a team to qualify often in the past. The 1500m man has been steady this season, though after 30th and 63rd place finishes at the ACC and South East Regional meetings, he may find it tough going in Kentucky.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

tbUSA predicted finish – 231st

 

Alex Short (San Francisco – individual)

Not a school known for having any history of dealing with British athletes, all of a sudden there have been several head out to San Francisco this year. Alex Short has been the pick of those and produced a strong run to finish 15th in the West Regional and qualify as an individual. The former Cambridge University student finished 31st at Pre-Nats in his first test against top collegiate competition, and with some solid XC pedigree back in the UK, we challenge him to defy our prediction and finish top 100.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

tbUSA predicted finish – 128th

 

Rhys Park (Boise State – team)

Rhys Park has steadily been improving so far during his two years in Boise. This is evident from his 109th place last year to a 36th place finish this year in the West Regional. He was a respectable 85th in Wisconsin in October and may be called upon to be that crucial fifth man for his team.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

tbUSA predicted finish – 168th

 

Zak Seddon (Florida State – team)

2015 has been an up and down season so far for the Florida State steeplechaser. A respectable 55th place at Wisconsin and a home meet win, though only 38th in the ACC Championships. However, given his overall strong form in 2015 on the track, and previous experience of two NCAA XC appearances, we think he has a chance at top 100 if all goes well on the day. As a minimum he should improve on last year’s result of 152nd.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2014: 152nd, 2012: 192nd,

tbUSA predicted finish – 131st

 

Marc Scott (Tulsa – team)

John Nuttall – Iowa State – 1989. If you are wondering what relevance that has, it just happens to be the name and year of the last British male to win the thing. He is also the picture above this page. After such a long wait can it finally happen again in the form of Marc Scott? Four wins from four this season (including Wisconsin), the Tulsa man is clearly operating on a whole different level to last year when he finished 14th. Confidence will be sky high and we do think he does have a chance of emulating Nuttall, though to do so will require what will certainly be perceived as a shock if he is to overhaul two time defending champion Edward Cheserek. This is Marc’s fourth and final NCAA XC appearance, so is a case of now or never if he is to go down in history.

Previous NCAA XC experience – 2014: 14th, 2013: 193rd, 2012: 93rd

tbUSA predicted finish – 3rd

 

Sean Tobin (Ole Miss – team)

The Mississippi sophomore has had a very good cross country season so far. 33rd at Wisconsin and 15th at SEC’s, both very high quality meetings – should have prepped him well for what he will face in Kentucky. Combine this strength with a 1.47 800m personal best and hopefully he can do some damage in the final mile by coming through the field strongly.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

tbUSA predicted finish – 91st

 

Luke Traynor (Tulsa – team)

Still in his first semester at Tulsa, Scottish athlete Luke Traynor has made an immediate and successful transition into collegiate completion. 50th in his first big test at Wisconsin, he has since had a couple of good confidence boosters of 3rd in the American Conference meeting then 7th at the mid-west regional. Whilst team mate Marc Scott will be challenging up front, how Tulsa do as a team will be largely effected by how high Traynor can perform in Kentucky.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

tbUSA predicted finish – 99th

 

Michael Vennard (Boise State – team)

17th in Wisconsin, as well as three other top five runs – Vennard has been enjoying a superb cross country season so far. A slight downer of 17th at the West regional, though it was enough to help his team through and hopefully some energy saved in the process. He has had a tremendous 2015 across all three disciplines and what a way it would be to finish the year off with an All-American accolade.

Previous NCAA XC experience – N/A

tbUSA predicted finish – 40th

 

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