Preview: Big competition at South Central Regional Championships
South Central Regional Championships
After Western State won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships, the Mountaineers automatically became favorites to win the South Central Regional Championships on Saturday. The team will be competing in the regional championships in Canyon, Texas against No. 2 Adams State, No. 5 Colorado Mines and No. 10 West Texas A&M.
Finishing with seven Mountaineers in the top 11 spots of the RMAC Championships, including RMAC champion Vegard Olstad, Western State will be looking for its first regional championship since 2007. Last year, Western State finished runner-up at the 2012 South Central Regional Championships.
Adams State earned 45 points for second place at the RMAC Championships. Sophomore Kevin Batt finished in second place with junior Tabor Stevens finished in third.
The Orediggers are gearing up for the final push before the National Championships later this month. Coming off a third-placing showing at the RMAC Championships, Mines is placing added emphasis on a strong regional showing.
West Texas A&M moved to 10th place in the national rankings last week, the highest in school history. The move came after a sweep of the Lone Star Conference Championships. It was the first title in program history for the Buffs. The Buffs will look to continue the success against the vetted and higher ranked teams in the South Central region.
Midwest Regional Championships
Wisconsin-Parkside will host the Midwest Regional Championships on Saturday. Third-ranked Grand Valley State and No. 7 Southern Indiana will face off.
Grand Valley State is coming off of 12th consecutive GLIAC title.
The race was won by Brent Showerman, who turned in an 8k time of 25:18.8 to win the race by nearly 10 seconds.
With the victory, Showerman was named the GLIAC Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Year. It is the ninth consecutive year that a Laker has won the race and been named the GLIAC Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
Southern Indiana is looking to qualify for the NCAA Division II National Championships for the ninth consecutive year as it returns to the course.
USI is ranked second in the region behind GVSU. The Screaming Eagles need a top-four finish to advance to the national meet, for the 21st time in the program's 35-year history.
Sophomore Johnnie Guy and junior Tyler Pence are among the favorites to capture the individual crown. Guy, the Great Lakes Valley Conference Runner of the Year, finished first at the GLVC Championships two weeks ago, while Pence posted a second-place showing at the league meet.
West Regional Championships
The defending champions of the West, Chico State, winners of nine of the past 11 West Region titles, enter the race ranked No. 1 in the West and No. 4 in the nation. Chico State will take on No. 9 Alaska-Anchorage in Spokane, Wash.
Chico State is coming off a sweep of the CCAA Championships on Oct. 26. The first six competitors to cross the line were Wildcats, netting head coach Gary Towne's squad the first perfect score of 15 in the history of the CCAA Men's Championships
Towne returns five All-West Region runners from last season's squad that outran Alaska Anchorage 38-46, snapping the Seawolves' two-year title run – Alfonso Cisneros (third last season), Isaac Chavez (fourth), Aaron Thomas (11th), Dayne Gradone (20th), and Johnny Sanchez (21st).
The Seawolves enter the championships looking to dethrone defending champion Chico State. UAA is second in the region and ninth in the nation. Chico State claimed the team title last season after the Seawolves furnished back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011.
UAA return four 2012 all-region athletes, including Dylan Anthony (13th), Isaac Kangogo (14th), Kevin Rooke (19th) and Dominik Notz (25th).
Central Regional Championships
Augustana (S.D.) continues its postseason march to the NCAA championships by hosting the Central Region championships on Saturday at Yankton Trails Park.
The Vikings are the defending champions of the Central Region, taking the first titles after the regions realigned last season. This is also the first time Augustana has hosted a regional championship in cross country. The men won their first region title since 1991 one season ago, just their second overall, and look to be an unstoppable force heading into this weekend's race. But the addition of 13 more teams isn't to be taken lightly according to head coach Tracy Hellman.
Atlantic Regional Championships
Lock Haven is set to host the Atlantic Regional Championships on Saturday.
Two of the nation's best will battle it out for the title on Saturday as rivals Lock Haven and Edinboro square off for the region's top honors. Eighth-ranked Lock Haven beat No. 14 Edinboro by 35 points two weeks ago at the PSAC Championships.
Up until last week, Edinboro held the region's top-ranking all season long.
Shippensburg, ranked No. 19 in the nation, can't be over looked as the Red Raiders always perform on the biggest stage.
California and Slippery Rock are also both ranked among the region's top-five teams.
The top three men's teams earn trips to the NCAA championship.
Lock Haven's Alex Monroe will toe the line on Saturday looking for his third consecutive individual crown.