The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Tomorrow I take off for my annual trip to Terre Haute. Note to employer: I have friends on the board, so sod off!

Others are doing a far better job of reporting on the NCAA Championships than I ever could, so I won't try to outdo them. Trackshark, The Meat Grinder, and Running Times are your best bets.

The meet will be live at noon on Monday on CBS College Sports and its website and

What do I expect?

1. They might as well hand out the women's championships right now.
Both Sally Kipyego and Washington are about as unbeatable as it gets in D-I cross. Unless, of course, something like a norovirus takes them out (last spotted at Madison, WI). Short of that, it would be stunning for either to lose.

2. The men's race is going to be the best XC race I've ever seen.
That prediction could go down the tubes as well, but I hope not.

  • Rupp v. Chelanga (aka Mammon v. God, Part 2)
Last year we had this great duel down the stretch between a runner from Jerry Falwell's university and one from Phil Knight's university. The same is expected this year. Dark horse German Fernandez makes this even more interesting. Only in the Obama year could we have three runners with three different racial backgrounds from three vastly different parts of the country all doing battle.

  • Oregon v. Oklahoma State
They have not met, neither ran in Pre-Nats, and they're head and shoulders above the rest. Oh, and do you remember where OSU coach Martin Smith got unceremoniously dumped from? I think I'll wear orange and sing the title song from a Rodgers & Hammerstein show (and it ain't The Sound of Music).

  • The remainder of the podium
Ben W's "Meat Grinder" has kept me so well informed on the plotlines that I'm watching for more than just the winners. As with the Tour de France, having a shot at an award at the end of it all is more than enough reward for those who have no real chance at winning. Stanford, Alabama and Portland are the favorites to take the two trophies remaining after Oregon and OK State take theirs. If you're betting for an upset, though, my advice is Wisconsin and Colorado.

Why Wisconsin? They've run well enough to be a legit top ten team even without Eagon and Withrow, who will likely run their best race of the year on Monday. Mick Byrne has proven he knows how peak. But if any of them got hit with that virus sweeping through UW, they'll be lucky to finish.

Why Colorado? Do you have to ask? Never doubt them on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Plus there's an X-factor: the weather. Sloppy conditions make for a longer race, which always plays into their hands. Wetmore will officially be granted genius status if they pull it off this time.

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