Friday, September 28, 2007

Weekend Meets Preview

Assembled in order of importance. Rankings handy right there next to each team from the Coaches and LetsRun polls, respectively. You can thank me later.

Dellinger, Griak, and more, after the jump.

Oregon Bill Dellinger
Wisconsin - 1, 1
Oregon - 3, 3
UTEP - t6, 7
Portland - 11, nr
Alabama - 17, nr
UCLA - 21, nr
Cal Poly - 22, nr
Washington - 30, nr
Others: Colorado State, Georgia, New Mexico, Ohio State

In the same way that Eugene has hijacked the "distance running mecca" label from Boulder (see: Nike's Pre legacy campaign, Lananna's recruiting, Salazar, Gouchers, Ritzenhein, etc.), Oregon's Bill Dellinger Invite has left ND, Griak, and the rest of this weekend's meets a bit lacking. And don't tell me Eugene has always been the mecca. Boulder has been that ever since Running With the Buffaloes showed us how hardcore/intelligent Mark Wetmore is, and Ritzenhein laid the foundation for the sometimes volatile - but only because they like the make-up sex - relaationship between the Internet and running in 2001. Oregon spending seven years or more being totally irrelevant to NCAA cross country didn't help.

Dellinger is the premier meet this weekend only if these two teams run their good runners, obviously. There's been a lot of letsrun speculation about Portland, so their finish-placing alone might be worth checking out the results for on Saturday afternoon, before you destroy your mind with some alcoholic or chemical substance. Dyestatters especially will be interested in the Footlocker all-star team that Oregon looks to be building.

What2Watch4 - Portland's top three... and 4 and 5. Some say top ten nationally, others top 5?!?!! I'll say I've never rooted for a team in purple (save my early adolescent year as a Toronto Raptors fan. I was young and confused; we all were back then) but I might change my mind for this spunky "cross country first, track, second" team.

Notre Dame Invitational
North Carolina State - 9, nr
Notre Dame - 12, nr
Providence - 14, nr
Brigham Young - 20, 10
Florida State - 24, nr
Michigan - 25, nr
Others: Liberty, Butler, Cornell, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Indiana State, Kent State

"No TRUE cross country runner cares about their times and PRs."

You may try to convince yourself of that statement or you may be willing to admit the truth. Either way, there is always the track compulsion to compare PRs with other people, thus asserting your place on that theoretical all-time list that we all know exists. It is because of this list and what it means to the self-worth of all runners that the Notre Dame Invitational is so important. Every runner at Notre Dame will run :45 to a minute faster on Friday than they ever have before or will again, sorry to say. And they will hold up that PR proudly, much like others might hold up a degree or spouse, any time someone asks them what they got out of college. It is pathetic and a sorry commentary on the state of all college cross country runners... mainly because I never got to run the Notre Dame Invitational.

As for this year's race and field, in particular... two words: "been" "better." In the past, there were a number of top ten teams, particularly top west coast teams like Stanford, that would show up. This year, there is one top ten team (NC State or BYU from the coaches' and letsrun polls, respectively).

What2Watch4 - Josh McDougal, king of the NCAA Invitational and Mr. Course Record (he holds about 90% of them around the nation), makes his first appearance on the fast ND course.

Roy Griak
Minnesota - 18, nr
Northern Arizona - 19, nr
Michigan State - 23, nr
Virginia - 28, nr
Iowa State - 29, nr
Others: Arizona State, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Lamar, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Washington State

Griak is a great meet. The course and the atmosphere are nice. The competition is always heated with inter-regional point-scoring the main focus of most teams. You get to hang out at the Mall of America while you're waiting to go to the airport.

The Mall of America, by the way, I usually equate to purgatory. There's a lot of stuff to do, but you really don't want to do any of it and are constantly tired for no reason and have nowhere to sleep. That might be a personal association, I don't know.

Either way, the results of this meet will probably mean nothing until the regional meet early in November when it matters that Kansas beat Virginia. Until then, you can probably skim results for people you beat in high school.

What2Watch4 - Lopez Lomong's (if he races) first cross country race while on the radar.

Paul Short
Iona - 4, 4
Princeton - 27, nr

With Iona's image as mainly foreign (and thus, unlikeable by any red, white, and blue-blooded American like myself) and Princeton's image as the hippest of the Ivy League, it would be nice to see Princeton dust off the ol' back-door offense and sneak up on Iona.

What2Watch4 - Where is Kiplagat's younger brother?

Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree
Arkansas - 5, 6
Oklahoma State - 8, 9

I am planning on looking up these results mainly because I want Arkansas to lose. (It's a phobia/loathing of southern culture thing I picked up while growing up with only a rive separating me from Kentucky - don't ask.) I also don't care for Oklahoma State, though, mainly because the wear bright orange uniforms and they are from Oklahoma. That type of flamboyance has no place in such a Great Plains state.

Side note: Jamboree?!?!?! Are you serious, Oklahoma State? 'Dust off the possum skewer, Ma, the cross country meet's coming up this week!'

What2Watch4 - Nothing. Nothing interesting at all could come out of this race besides some yokel on LetsRun claiming "Arkansas is back."


Colonial Inter-Regional Challenge
William & Mary - 13, nr
Georgetown - 16, nr

It's difficult to be excited for a meet with such a bland name. William & Mary is another one of those XC-first teams (like Portland) that you can't help but root for.

Rocky Mountain Shootout [Colorado 2, 2]
Nothing Colorado does outside of Terre Haute, IN matter... ever.

Stanford Invite [Stanford - t6, 5]
Used to be a good meet. Lananna owns Stanford.

Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic [Louisville - 15, nr]
Coach Mann is good, but Louisville being the 15th-best is tough to believe. This meet isn't going to convince anyone, of course.

Auburn Invite [Florida]
Irrelevant results and times on a course 0.5 miles short.

Not Competing [Texas - 10, 8]
I wouldn't want to compete either if it meant missing a night on 6th Street in downtown Austin. Public nudity is legal there... NUDITY... LEGAL!

No comments: