A Quick Huddle: Cross Country Edition

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Daisy Rymer | Sports Layout Editor

This week, The Hullabaloo continues its American Athletic Conference column with a spotlight on cross country. So, without further ado, let’s lace up our shoes and get to work.

But first, to briefly explain scoring in cross country, the first five people on each team to finish are calculated into that team’s score. The resulting place of each runner is added together, and the team with the lowest score wins. For example, at last year’s AAC Men’s cross country championships, Tulane’s top five runners placed first, 29th, 35th,  54th, and 55th, earning Tulane a score of 174, and 17th place overall.

Because of the way meets are scored, AAC cross country teams regularly compete against multiple teams, including those from other conferences. While these meets offer the teams a chance to win titles, many use them to get ready for the conference’s cumulative event, the AAC championships, which is open to all AAC teams, regardless of their current performances.

Last year’s defending men’s cross country AAC champion, the University of Tulsa, is already having a stellar season, with both the men’s and women’s teams winning the Missouri Southern Stampede. It did not fare as well in the competitive Nuttycombe Invitational, however, with its men’s and women’s teams finishing 21st and 24th, respectively.

Last year’s defending women’s cross country AAC champion, University of Connecticut, has also continued its winning ways. The women’s team placed first at the Minuteman Invitational, but did fall a bit to third of nine teams, then sixth, in its next two meets. The men’s team placed second in its first meet, but dropped to 19th in its second meet, the Paul Short Invitational.

On a broader note, however, every year, the top two teams in each of nine different regions qualify for the NCAA championships. Though the final spots are determined by a regional meet, NCAA coaches provide rankings of the teams leading up to the regional championship. Becoming regionally ranked is a high honor, and this year, many men’s and women’s cross country teams in the AAC have hit that mark.

As of Oct. 1, UConn’s men’s and women’s teams are ranked 13th and 11th respectively in the northeast region. University of Cincinnati men’s team is ranked 14th in the Great Lakes region, and University of Houston’s women’s cross country team is ranked 12th in the South Central region.

More competitively, Southern Methodist University’s women’s cross country is ranked second in the South Central region. Temple University’s men’s and women’s teams are both ranked seventh in the Mid-Atlantic region, and Tulsa men’s and women’s teams are ranked fourth and 11th respectively in the Midwest region.

Clearly, Tulane has some fierce competition, but the Green Wave is up to the challenge. Tulane senior Emmanuel Rotich was recently named the AAC’s runner of the week after finishing the Texas A&M Invitational with the third fastest 8K time in school history. The women’s team has yet to be ranked, but the men’s cross-country team is ranked 13th in the South Central region.

As was mentioned earlier, the Green Wave men’s cross country team placed seventh in the 2017 AAC championships. The women’s cross country team placed fifth.

Tulane will host the 2018 American Athletic Conference championship on Oct. 25 in Audubon Park.