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Stan Becton | | October 29, 2022

8 takeaways from DI cross country conference championship weekend

The top college cross country performances after 1 month of the 2022 DI season

Friday marked the first full day of Division I cross country conference championships (the SWAC Championships were Monday), with 15 different conferences competing for titles. Conference championships saw records set, exciting finishes and dominating performances from household names. Here are some takeaways.


We might have seen the finish of the year, and it's only October

0.2 seconds. That's the time that separated first and second place for the ACC men's cross country individual title after Notre Dame's Carter Solomon used a fantastic final kick to beat North Carolina's Parker Wolfe. Solomon trailed Wolfe entering the final uphill stretch of the race, but Solomon overtook Wolfe in an all-out sprint to the finish.

NC State is not slowing down

Defending national champion NC State won its seventh straight ACC women's cross country championship, with star power fueling its latest win. Katelyn Tuohy and Kelsey Chmiel went 1-2 in the championship race, finishing in 19:08.9 and 19:20.0, respectively. The Wolfpack finished with two other top-10 finishers, enough to hold off Notre Dame for the conference title by four points.

Big Ten

Wisconsin is the Big Ten standard

After Friday, 21 out of the last 24 Big Ten men's cross country titles lie in Madison, Wisconsin, as the Badgers won the 2022 championship by a resounding 32 points. Wisconsin was the favorite to win the Big Ten men's title, so the result is no surprise. It has been a dominant Big Ten run for Wisconsin, as the Badgers continue to prove that they run the conference.

Big 12

Alex Maier has what it takes to win a title on his home course

In less than a month, the DI cross country championships will run at Oklahoma State's home course. The championships are only a week before Thanksgiving, but the Cowboys may have some home cooking when it's all said and done.

That's because Alex Maier continues to look like one of the best in the nation after winning the Big 12 men's individual title by 15.3 seconds. It's not the first time Maier has impressed on a big stage, previously winning the Cowboy Jamboree. With another win under his belt, Maier has momentum entering the depths of the postseason.

We should not forget about Ceili McCabe when it comes to the individual title contenders

Ceili McCabe reminded us all of her talent, winning the Big 12 women's individual title in 20:08.4. McCabe beat elite Oklahoma State runners Taylor Roe and Natalie Cook in the race; all three runners are individual title contenders. But McCabe finished the highest of trio at last year's national championships, finishing third. 

However, this year, much of the attention has gone elsewhere regarding the individual DI title race. But after winning the Big 12 title, McCabe looks like a top contender on a national scale yet again.


Charles Hicks and Stanford can interrupt a dynasty

Charles Hicks has won back-to-back Pac-12 men's individual titles, with his latest victory coming in a course record 22:30.9. Hicks broke the course record by 28 seconds as Stanford won its fourth team title in six years. Hicks wasn't alone in his success at the Pac-12 Championships, with his teammates finishing 2-5-6-7, accumulating just 22 points. With five top-10 finishers, Stanford has the top-end runners to break through Northern Arizona's dynastic championship run.

Tiebreakers are fun

After an entire 6K race, the Colorado and Utah women's teams each finished with 66 points. The two schools tied for first place for the Pac-12 team title. That meant a tiebreaker would decide the winner of the conference crown.

Colorado finished with three top-10 finishers, with point scorers finishing 1-3-7-16--39. Meanwhile, Utah had point scorers finish 2-5-17-19--23. With a 3-2 head-to-head advantage, Colorado won the tiebreaker and the Pac-12 women's team title.


Parker Valby is really, really good

Florida's Parker Valby won the SEC women's individual title in 18:25.9, defeating Alabama's Mercy Chelangat by almost 10 seconds. To put the win in perspective, Chelangat is the two-time defending SEC individual champion, the 2021 NCAA individual runner-up and the 2020 NCAA individual champion. The SEC championships marked only Valby's second race this year, yet she beat an established star in the sport by a wide margin. Valby continues to show that she is one of the best in the country.


Here is every conference champion through Friday's action, with links to full results:

Conference Champion Results
American Men's: Tulsa
Women's: Tulsa
ACC Men's: Wake Forest
Women's: NC State
Big 12 Men's: Oklahoma State
Women's: Oklahoma State
Big Sky Men's: Northern Arizona
Women's: Northern Arizona
Big Ten Men's: Wisconsin
Women's: Michigan State
CAA Men's: Stony Brook
Women's: Elon
Ivy Men's: Princeton
Women's: Harvard
Mountain West Men's: Air Force
Women's: New Mexico
Missouri Valley Men's: Bradley
Women's: Bradley
NEC Men's: Wagner
Women's: Central Connecticut
Pac-12 Men's: Stanford
Women's: Colorado
SEC Men's: Alabama
Women's: Alabama
Southland Men's: UIW
Women's: New Orleans
Sun Belt Men's: Arkansas State
Women's: Southern Miss
SWAC Men's: Jackson State
Women's: Bethune-Cookman
West Coast Men's: BYU
Women's: BYU

What's next?

There are 15 more conference championship races on Saturday, Oct. 29 and one more conference championship race on Sunday, Oct. 30. Once conference championships finish this weekend, regionals will be up next on Friday, Nov. 11.

FUTURE: Here are the future cross country regional championship sites

The national championship race will be Friday, Nov. 19, concluding the 2022 Division I cross country season.

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