2023 NCAA Cross Country Season Preview

The CITIUS MAG Podcast

September 27, 2023

The 2023 cross country season had its first big weekend with the Virginia Invitational at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville, which will host this year’s championships on Nov. 18, the Bill Dellinger Invitational in Oregon and the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota.

Here are some of the notable results and takeaways:

Virginia Invitational

– Several top teams headed to Panorama Farms to get a preview of the course that will host the NCAA Cross Country Championships in two months.

Stanford MenStanford Men

Credit to Stanford Athletics


– NAU looks poised to defend their title on the men’s side as the Lumberjacks won the men’s team title with Drew Bosley winning in 23:20.3 for the 8K course and leading four of his teammates into the top 25. NAU won with 71 points.

– Watch for North Carolina’s Parker Wolfe this season as he ran 23:23.1 for a runner-up finish behind Bosely and helped the Tar Heels finish third as a team behind NAU (71 pts) and BYU (101 pts). The team also got a major assist from Alex Phillip, the five-time Division III national champion from John Carroll, making his DI debut.

– Stanford’s Ky Robinson, the NCAA champion at 5000m and 10,000m on the track, finished third in 23:29.4 but it was a day to forget for the Cardinal as they finished ninth overall as a team. Cole Sprout finished 62nd. Freshmen Leo Young and Lex Young finished back in 46th and 75th place, respectively.

Rocky HansenRocky Hansen

Credit to Wake Forest Athletics

Rocky Hansen, the Wake Forest freshman who broke four minutes for the mile as a senior at the Christ School, was very impressive with a fifth-place overall finish in 23:30.9.

– CITIUS MAG contributor and Virginia sophomore Gary Martin finished 13th in 23:38.6.


Ky Robinson looked good with probably only running miles and some threshold stuff.

– It’s nice for NAU to get another year out of Theo Quax. He provides experience, leadership and maturity for the team.

– Parker Wolfe is really coming into his own at UNC.

– Obviously, Wake Forest true freshman Rocky Hansen is impressive in his NCAA debut.

– If Butler had a stronger No. 5 they’d be like a top 10-15 team.

– Syracuse is back? I’m not saying they ever left, but they’ve yet to really be a podium contender these past few years. The Perry Mackinnon pickup for Syracuse is big.

– One time a friend of mine who worked at Air Force told me that he thought Ryan Cole was ‘a magician’ and at first I was like, “Huh? Like I mean Air Force is good, but like, are they really good enough to call Cole ‘a magician’? I agree with him now. He is. Look at his team year in and year out. He DEVELOPS guys. He doesn’t take chances with them as 1st/2nd years. He develops them aerobically so well those first few years that their engines are at a level that most aren’t at because he’s not wringing them out. So they get there in their third and fourth year and they are STUDS. Look at his seniors. Sean Maison as a sophomore was a 4:14/9:15 guy and he’s crushing a bunch of guys he stared at their back his entire high school career.

Elise StearnsElise Stearns

Credit NAU Athletics


– NAU’s Elise Stearns, who was fourth at last year’s NCAA Cross Country Championships, won the women’s 5K race in 16:18.9. NAU won the women’s team title with 48 points as Annika Reiss and Gracelyn Larkin finished eighth and ninth for three Lumberjack women in the top 10 – and then all seven within the top 16.

– Stanford was second with 104 points and Virginia took third with 123 points on their home course to round out the podium.

– Stearns narrowly outkicked Georgetown’s Chloe Scrimgeour, who finished second in 16:19.7. She came into this race as last year’s Big East 5000m champion and finished eighth at June’s NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Stanford WomenStanford Women

Credit to Stanford Athletics


– NAU without Ruby Smee, Maise Grice or Aliandrea Upshaw did that? Yikes. They’re good. They have all the keys to being a contender. 1) Low Stick. 2) 3 potential low sticks. 4) A No. 1 to No. 5 spread that’s within 30 seconds and 5) a proven coach. Check check check check check.

– A pretty decent opener for Amy Bunnage from Stanford. For her very first college cross country race. Yes, she’s an 8:51 runner for 3000m but these first big college meets can be intimidating. I know she’s run World Cross Country Championships, but it’s different. In fact, the last cross country race she’d run was World XC and she DNF’d. Frankly, Stanford ran well, NAU is just that good.

Roy Griak Invitational


– Pay attention to New Mexico’s Habtom Samuel, who made his NCAA debut and won the Roy Griak Invitational 8K in 23:36.4 for the second-fastest time in the race’s history. Samuel is a new face that could make an instant splash as a contender for the men’s individual title since he brings credentials as a two-time U20 world championship medalist and was 17th at this year’s World Cross Country Championships. He has personal bests of 13:13.74 for 5000m and 27:20.08 for 10,000m.

– Fellow incoming freshmen Lukas Kiprop and Evans Kiplagat finished third in 24:02.5 and fifth in 24:14.1, respectively. The Lobos finished third as a team as the rest of their scorers finished 50th-51st-62nd-92nd.

– Arturs Medveds led California Batptist University to the team title (46 pts) with his fourth place finish overall in 24:10.8. CBU freshman Valentin Soca (6th in 24:17.4) and juniors Rikus Van Niekerk (8th in 24:25.1) + Matias Reynaga (24:26.1) cracked the top 10.

– Gonzaga’s runner-up finish (80 pts) was headed by juniors Will Smith and Kyle Radosevich going second and seventh overall.


– New Mexicos’ top three are really good. Need Jonathan Carmin to chill a little. – CBU is the sneakiest best team in the NCAA no one is talking about. Adam Tribble is flat-out the best international recruiter in the game.

– Is Will Smith from Gonzaga a top 20 guy? Could be! He is a 13:40/28:24 guy for 5000m and 10,000m on the track.


– We saw a tight battle between California Baptist and Utah with both team putting three runners in the Top 10. Cal Baptist’s 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th runners packed together to finish 21-25-26-28 to win the team title 63-64.

– CBU’s Greta Karinauskaite, who was the NCAA Outdoor Championship runner-up in the steeplechase, won the individual title in 20:27.6.


– Two shoutouts. One to Tribble, again for being the best international recruiter in the game. Two to Coaches Kyle Kepler and Charlee Linton at Utah for being the best at finding gold in the transfer portal and developing the kids they bring in locally. They’ve been consistently good now for the last almost decade.

Oregon WomenOregon Women

Credit to Eugene Register-Guard

Dellinger Invitational

– Cal Poly won the men’s team title over Oregon 41-58. The Mustangs’ Davis Bove claimed the individual 8K title in 23:40.1.

– Oregon’s top runner was junior Quincy Norman, who was just three seconds off the victory. The Ducks had freshmen Simeon Birnbaum (3rd in 23:44.1) and Connor Burns (48th in 24:45.0) running unattached.

– The BYU women put their five scorers in the top 13 to win the women’s team title in 42-78 over Oregon.

– Oregon State’s Kaylee Mitchell won the women’s individual 6K race in 19:37.2.


– BYU getting eligibility back for Sadie Sargent is big for them (8:57 3k). Trust Diljeet Taylor. These women will be better than anyone currently thinks.

– Oregon’s men’s program is one to two years away from being podium/national contenders year in and year out. Enjoy the time while they are still building. Frankly, if they pulled the redshirts on those boys they could be in the hunt for that coveted podium spot this year. Not sure what they’re going to do there.

– Oregon’s Quincy Norman’s development has been inspiring to watch. He was an 8:33 high schooler for 3000m and was just the top U of O finisher at Dellinger. Pretty cool. 2-3-4-7-10 Oregon goes if they score everyone on their team.

Host: Chris Chavez | @chris_j_chavez on Instagram

Guest: Isaac Wood | @isaacew on Instagram

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Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.

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