Southeast Regional: Men's and Women's Preview

October 24th, 2019

Will NC State men make history with a perfect score of 15? Can the UNC women win for the third consecutive year?

Southeast Regional Preview - Men (Wingate, NC)

North Carolina State University won in dominating fashion last year with a score of 20 and their top five runners finished 2-3-4-5-6, giving them a 63 point buffer over second place.  They return three of those top five, Spencer Husen, second, McKinney Brooks, fifth, and Ryan Bennison, sixth; but their dominance means that their sixth runner last year finished eighth, Danny Sodano, who also returns.  This makes the Wolfpack a clear favorite to repeat and dominate again. At the Carolina Classic they again claimed the second through sixth spots winning with another team score of 20, through the help of Ethan Frey, third, and James Vlasis, sixth.  Don’t blink or you might miss NC State possibly finish first through fifth.

Georgia Tech did well at the Southeast Regional last year as they claimed second, but ran up against the buzzsaw of NC State.  They return three top 30 individuals in Christopher Kitson, ninth, Noah Dusseau, 11th, and Kenji Tanaka, 29th, who will lead the charge.  At the Charlotte Race, a 5k, Aki Tsuchida, Jeremy Ericson, and Will Lusty helped the Yellowjackets claim third, but it remains to be seen how they will do on the 8k course.

Duke will be led by Ben Williams, 26th, who was their lone top 30 finisher, but also has Thomas Barlow, who finished 32nd, and Jack Ellwood, 37th, to lead their team.  At the Carolina Classic the Blue Devils finished fourth with 110 points, but had some valuable contributions from Yi-Ting Lai, Cameron Murr, and Charlie Daniel. There is a good mixture of top end speed and inexperience on the team leading to some uncertainty but a high ceiling.  Being one of the more experienced teams should help Duke finish higher than their sixth place finish in 2018.

Tennessee returns no top 30 runners from last year but will be a team to keep an eye on in Wingate.  At the Knoxville Invitational they were the only team on the men’s side, but posted some impressive times.  Christopher Rayder, Eli Sharp, Gavin Jones, John Neal, and Davis Rangi combined to give the Volunteers a 27:55 average.  With the addition of more runners and a more competitive environment, they will be a team to keep an eye on as that time would have been good for second place in 2018.

Auburn, Georgia, and North Carolina may struggle to keep up with the aforementioned schools, but they have some strong representatives who could find themselves on the podium.  Grant Brown is a Freshman at Auburn and comes into Wingate on the back of a first place finish at the Tigertown Throwdown. He will need to cut down on his time but confidence cannot be overlooked as he may find his way into the top ten.  Jimmy Cochran finished 18th last year for Georgia and is their only top 30 returner. Cochran finished fourth at the Tigertown Thrown and is expected to put in a solid effort as he hopes to lead the Bulldogs to glory. Lawton Ives is no stranger to the Southeast Regional as he finished seventh in 2017 and 14th in 2018.  Lawton will seek a return to the top ten and potentially seek to spoil the possible one through five finish for rivals NC State.

 

Prediction: 

1st - North Carolina State University

2nd - Georgia Tech

3rd - Duke

 

Darkhorse:

Tennessee

 

 

Southeast Regional Preview - Women (Wingate, NC)

North Carolina looks to defend their Southeast Regional title with Bridgette Sullivan (second at regionals in 2018), Faith Roy (eighth), Madi Marvin (12th), and Lauren Dicktel (13th) returning. The Tar Heels have been on a roll this season, finishing first as a team at the Carolina XC Classic and Charlotte McAlpine Trail Race. In both races, Janet Scott led the team by finishing first overall. Behind Scott, the Tar Heels have had a variety of their top returners and newer faces rounding up their top five runners. They definitely have plenty of depth that will make them tough to beat on Sunday.

North Carolina State University finished third last year and return Jennifer Mohler (first in 2018) and Alice Magnani (ninth) from last year’s top 30. In their one NIRCA competition so far this season, they finished second (46 points) behind North Carolina (35 points) at the Carolina XC Classic. They were led by a second place finish from Kate Sanborn (23:06), but had a spread of 2:45 between their first five runners. North Carolina State will need strong performances from their fourth and fifth runners to take down North Carolina.

Duke University was a narrow second to North Carolina in 2018 and would surely like to turn the tables with Gwyn Reece (seventh), Allison James (tenth), and Caroline Armstrong (14th) returning from last year’s regionals top 30. Duke placed third at the Carolina XC Classic with 72 points as a team, led by Sophia Divone who was fourth individually. At the Charlotte McAlpine Trail Race, Duke was fourth overall and the second place team from the Southeast region.

Florida is the last team with multiple returners from last year’s top 30: Sofia Lopez (fifth) and Sarah Cordier (23rd). It does not look like they have raced in any NIRCA competitions this season, which makes it hard to tell if they are ready to surprise the Carolina teams and run onto the podium after their fourth place finish last year.

In the battle for the individual title, Jennifer Mohler (North Carolina State) and Bridgette Sullivan (North Carolina) should be in the front of the pack after placing first and second last year, separated by just three seconds. They will also face Janet Scott (North Carolina), Samantha Cavanaugh (Tennessee; first at Knoxville Invitational) and Taylor Sorenson (Clemson; second at Tigertown Throwdown).



Prediction:

Teams: North Carolina defends their title and remains unbeaten on the season. North Carolina State University finishes second, edging out Duke in third.

Individuals: Janet Scott (North Carolina) continues her winning streak, beating out Jennifer Mohler in second and Bridgette Sullivan in third.


Michael Potter, NIRCA

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