2016 Men's and Women's Rankings - Week 2

October 17th, 2016 (Updated: Oct 21st)

It’s been a busy few weeks of racing and our Week 2 rankings reflect that, with most of the ranked or previously ranked clubs having one or more meets under their belt.


The Mid Atlantic Region was highlighted in one of the biggest NIRCA meets so far when 13 complete men’s clubs competed at the Princeton Invitational (site of last years regional meet). In a surprise the two ranked clubs in the region, Penn State and UPenn, both finished behind the hosts from Princeton. The Tigers out-dueled the Nittany Lions 41-48 with the Quakers taking third with 75 points. Binghamton, the defending Northeast Regional champs and favorites to repeat there, took fourth with 124 points. While it looks like both PSU and UPenn competed without their number one runners, the Tigers victory is no less impressive and moves Princeton into the top ten and points to an even more exciting Mid Atlantic Regional later this month. Princeton averaged 26:24 on the day, PSU 26:18 and UPenn 26:41.

In the midwest, the Spartan Classic hosted by Michigan State and the MC5 hosted by Ball State have given us some more insight on the Great Lakes squads. Michigan has looked strong, winning both invites in dominating fashion: 37-56 over regional rival Indiana at the MC5 and 19-56 over in-state rival Michigan State at the Spartan Classic. The Maize and Blue averaged 16:13 on the 5k course in East Lansing.

Three ranked clubs in the Great Plains all went head to head at the Roy Griak Invitational where Iowa State prevailed as the top club over Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Cyclones averaged 28:18 on the tough 8k course while the Gophers clocked in at 28:26 and the Badgers at 28:36. The other ranked Great Plains club, Illinois, took 3rd at the Eastern Illinois (D2) Invite with an average time of 27:02.

Out west, Oregon has raced twice with varying results. The Ducks averaged 27:10 at the Bill Dellinger Invite but then a week later averaged a NIRCA-best 25:54 at the Willamette Invite, placing 6th of 21 teams. The second best average time in NIRCA this year belongs to Penn State at the Lock Haven (D2) Invitational where the Nittany Lions went 26:01 to win the meet.

Meanwhile in the Southeast and lower Mid Atlantic region, UVA appeared to be the top team at the UNC Invite but in-state rival Virginia Tech got the best of Virginia when they went head to head at the JMU Invite. North Carolina State, the defending Southeast champs, dominated their home invitational 27-46 over Maryland. The Wolfpack averaged 16:33 for the 5k course (a rough conversion to a 27:14 8k). Duke was third in the meet with 76 points.

#1 UC Davis, the defending national champs, have yet to race in 2016 but are scheduled to compete this Friday at the SF State Invitational.

Rank Team Region Previous
1 UC Davis Pacific 1
2 Penn State Mid-Atlantic 2
3 Princeton Mid-Atlantic NR
4 Michigan Great Lakes 4
5 Illinois Great Plains 7
6 Oregon Pacific 9
7 Penn Mid-Atlantic 6
8 Iowa State Great Plains 3
9 North Carolina State Southeast NR
10 Indiana Great Lakes 5

Dropped out: #8 WIsconsin, #10 Minnesota

Teams to Watch: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, Maryland



Race results early on in the season have proved one thing on the women’s side: the traditional powers are still the traditional powers. Virginia, Penn State, North Carolina, Oregon, and Michigan have all been steady or impressive each picking up wins in invitationals. But the one surprise has been previously un-ranked Michigan State. While the Spartans aren’t new to the national scene, they did make the podium at 2014 Nationals, the dominating victory over Michigan at their home invite was not expected.

Kicking things off in the Great Lakes Region, the Spartans put all scoring five in the top nine to overwhelm their in-state rivals, and everyone else for that matter, averaging 19:31 on the 5k course. At Ball State’s MC5, it was Michigan taking the victory over Ohio State 58-71 with Miami (OH) edging Indiana for third with 82 points. The Wolverines averaged 25:58 on the 6k course while the Buckeyes averaged a respectable 26:17.

In the Great Plains, Wisconsin emerged as the top club team at the historic Roy Griak Invitational. The Badgers averaged 25:46 over 6k while Iowa State was next (26:47) and Minnesota third (27:13). The Illinois women competed at the NCAA D2 Brissman/Lundeen Invitational, placing 14th and averaging 24:40 for the 6k course.

Defending national champs Penn State picked up a big win at the Princeton Invitational this past weekend taking down a Virginia squad that likely did not bring some key runners and the hosts Tigers who finished a close second 39-45. PSU averaged 24:22 on the day but has an average of almost a minute faster the previous week at Lock Haven, averaging 23:12 there. Princeton averaged 24:33 on the day. An up and coming Pittsburgh squad wasn’t far behind Penn State at the Lock Haven (NCAA D2) Invite averaging 24:06.

UVA put a much more complete squad in the James Madison Invitational and it showed, winning the team title with 34 points (Virginia Tech was next with 80). The UVA women averaged 25:35 in Harrisonburg.

In the Pacific Region, Oregon was in action at the Willammette Invitational where the Ducks averaged 19:25 on the fast 5k course.

In the Southeast, Duke took top honors at the NC State Invitational, beating the host club 31-38 behind a 20:30 5k average. But the big headline in the Southeast, and all of NIRCA, was North Carolina’s performance in their home invite to kick off the season. The Tarheels placed five in the top seven to obliterate the team race and turned heads with an 18:18 5k average! While it is impossible to know if all five runners pace continues over another k, but a quick calculation has that at a blistering 22:12 6k.


Rank Team Region Previous
1 North Carolina Southeast 3
2 Penn State Mid-Atlantic 2
3 Michigan State Great Lakes NR
4 Virginia Mid-Atlantic 1
5 Oregon Pacific 6
6 Princeton Mid-Atlantic NR
7 Illinois Great Plains 7
8 Michigan Great Lakes 4
9 Duke Southeast NR


Great Plains

Dropped Out: #5 Indiana, #8 Iowa State, #9 Penn

Teams to Watch: North Carolina State, Ohio State, Penn, UMass


Ben Thomas, NIRCA

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