| October 25, 2013

In the cards

Three top-five teams at RMAC Championship

On Saturday, Western New Mexico will play host to the RMAC Championships. The meet will feature three top-10 teams, including top-ranked Adams State, No. 2 Western State and No. 4 Colorado Mines. The RMAC is historically one of the toughest conferences in the nation and the winner of this meet is the likely favorite entering the national championship run.

Adams State sits atop the top 10 heading into the championship season and the RMAC Championship is nothing new to the Grizzlies. Adams State took home the team title at last year's event and later went on to win the national title. This season, ASU has kept pace and performed well, most recently winning first place at the at the Fort Hays State Tiger Open on Oct. 12.

Second-ranked Western State took third in last season's RMAC Championship, the Mountaineers are striving to place higher on Saturday. Western State has Ryan Haebe on its side. Haebe is a strong athlete who is recently on a comeback after a serious injury. Haebe won the 2011 NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship and the 2012 NCAA Division II Outdoor 3,000-Meter Steeplechase Championship. He was the national men's cross country runner of the year and is a seven-time All-American in two seasons of competition. Haebe competed in the steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on June 25, 2012 in Eugene, Ore.  Haebe's accident occurred a few days after the Olympic Trials in July.

He has recently returned and won the W Mountain Race on Oct. 12. Western State will use Haebe's recent victory and vengenance from last year in the stiff race on Saturday.

Colorado Mines, No. 4 in the nation, has not competed since Sept. 28 when the Orediggers took first at the Stanford Invitational and placed second overall at the Rocky Mountain Shootout. The team will look to ride that success to Western New Mexico this week after almost four weeks of recouperation and practice.

No. 3 Grand Valley State at GLIAC Championship

Grand Valley State has dominated the GLIAC Championship in years past. The Lakers have won 11 consecutive conference titles. On Saturday at Michigan Tech, GVSU could grab a dozen title.

The Lakers have had a successful campaign thus far. In the past two meets, the Notre Dame Invitational and the Jayhawk Invitational, the Lakers have walked away with both team titles. At the Jayhawk Invitational, the team won the event with only 27 points. The Lakers had seven athletes finish in the top 16, including Ethan Barnes, who crossed the line second with a time of 25:38.79 on the 8k course.

The team has not competed since the Jayhawk on Oct. 11.

No. 5 Chico State at CCAA Championship

The Wildcats will host the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships on Saturday morning at Hooker Oak Park.

Chico State is the 11-time defending CCAA Champions and currently ranked No. 5 in the nation and No. 1 in the West. The Wildcats boast 14 consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.

After a promising campaign this year, the Wildcats hope the trend will continue. In their final tune-up before the CCAA meet, the Wildcats literally ran away with the UC San Diego-hosted Triton Classic on Oct. 12, taking top team honors while boasting the top six finishers and placing 14 runners in the top 20.

No. 6 Augustana at NSIC Championship

Augustana's postseason journey begins on its home turf when it hosts the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championships on Saturday at Yankton Trails Park.

Augustana checks in ranked No. 6 nationally in the latest poll, earned a runner-up finish in their inaugural season in the NSIC and have reeled off four consecutive team titles and the past three individual champions. Head coach Tracy Hellman says he has always put "a high priority" on the NSIC Championships and this meet can dictate the postseason performance.

Paul Yak looks to cap off a stellar senior season with his third consecutive men's individual title -- a feat that would be just the second three-peat in NSIC history.

No. 7 Southern Indiana at GLVC Championship

The 2013 Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships will be held on Saturday at Forest Park in St. Louis, Mo. Maryville will serve as host of the event for the first time in school history.

Seventh-ranked Southern Indiana is racing for a league-record ninth consecutive Great Lakes Valley Conference title. USI, which already owns a league-high 20 conference titles, needs a first-place finish Saturday to continue the most dominate run in the history of the GLVC.

This year's squad is as deep and talented as it has ever been, with sophomore Johnnie Guy and junior Tyler Pence among a handful of favorites to capture the individual title.

No. 8 Alaska-Anchorage at GNAC Championship

Undefeated Alaska-Anchorage heads to Monmouth, Ore., for the 13th annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday.

The Seawolves enter the championships as the three-time defending champion of the GNAC title.

UAA is led by juniors Dylan Anthony – currently undefeated this season – and Isaac Kangogo, who both registered all-conference honors last year.

No. 9 Edinboro at PSAC Championship

When the gun goes off on Saturday on the Kutztown course, Edinboro will be in search of its third consecutive Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference crown and 30th overall title. The Fighting Scots will look to be at the front of the 16-team pack when the 8K race concludes, as they were a year ago when Edinboro had eight runners earn All-PSAC honors to outdistance second place East Stroudsburg.

Leading the way is Bryan Deibel, a senior who used a fourth place finish at the PSAC Championships as a springboard to an All-American finish at Nationals. He is a two-time All-PSAC performer who came in seventh in 2011.    

No. 10 Missouri Southern at MIAA Championship

Missouri Southern will travel to Pitt State on Saturday to compete in the MIAA championship. The Lions are prepared for the race, as they have placed in the top three in each meet they raced in this season.

The most recent meet was the Jackling Jocks Invite on Oct. 12 and MSSU walked away with another team title.

MSSU will be led by two-time MIAA Runner of the Week Eric Schott in Saturday's race.