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Saturday, November 17, 2007

NCAA XC Preview

I'll be in attendance at Monday's Division I championships in Terre Haute.

TV coverage:
CSTV (live), Monday at noon

Web coverage:
Coaches' association website (via CSTV), live Monday at noon

All the basic info is at the coaches' association's "Championship central"
meet website -- entry lists -- final polls
Tribune-Star preview -- CSTV preview

Let's Run's predictions

Men's race (begins at 12:08 PM)
The team favorite is Oregon, with Colorado, Iona, UTEP and Wisconsin figured as the major contenders. Personally I always figure for Colorado to beat their pre-meet ranking, and since they're #2 right now I guess I'd have to make them my pick to win.

As far as individuals go, that's always a more wide-open race. Lopez Lomong has already had a full-page story in USA Today and been featured on HBO's Real Sports; he's got serious 800m speed, so he will win a kicker's race. But these things rarely come down to a kick. Galen Rupp is a strong runner and Nike's favorite son; he'd be considered a co-favorite. Josh McDougal recorded the fastest time at pre-nats, which is less impressive than it sounds--don't bet the farm on him. Patrick Smythe of Notre Dame is a sentimental favorite after the death of Ryan Shay, but emotion alone is not enough for a national title. The essential elements to win this race are talent, conditioning, and big brass balls. Lomong will win.

Women's race (begins at 12:58 PM)
Stanford is the overwhelming favorite to win here; Oregon might be their only real challenger.

As far as the individuals go, Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech has been so dominant that no one realistically expects her to be challenged. Last year's runner up, Colorado's Jenny Barringer, was 14 seconds in arrears to Kipyego at the regional. If anyone could beat the Kenyan, it would be Barringer.

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