NCAA Men's Individual Preview: Predicting The 40 All-Americans

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By Meg Bellino, Gordon Mack, Taylor Dutch and Dennis Young for Flotrack

Returning All-Americans we picked to repeat: Edward Cheserek (1st in 2015), Patrick Tiernan (2), Justyn Knight (4), Sean McGorty (7), Colin Bennie (8), Jonah Koech (11), Grant Fisher (17), Gilbert Kirui (20), John Dressel (26), Ben Saarel (31), Luke Traynor (34), Frankline Tonui (40)

Returning All-Americans we didn't pick to repeat: Jonathan Green (5), Jefferson Abbey (13), Jerrell Mock (19), Jack Bruce (23), Dylan Lafond (29), Joel Reichow (36), Michael Clevenger (38), Philo Germano (39)

2015 All-Americans who didn't make it back: Jacob Burcham (16), Kyle Eller (28), Colby Gilbert (32), Jaime Perales (37)

2016 honorable mentions: Cory Glines, Hassan Abdi, Alex Short, James Randon, Iliass Aouani, Dylan Lafond, Michael Clevenger, Dylan Blankenbaker, Nick Hauger, Jerrell Mock, Harry Mulenga, Tyler Day, Jonathan Harper, Thomas Pollard, Sherod Hardt

40. Chartt Miller, Iona

I forgot about him once and never will again. -Gordon Mack

39. Fred Huxham, Washington
38. Yusuke Uchikoshi, Boise State

A Japanese born cross country All-American? When's the last time that happened? Uchikoshi is coming off a win at the Mountain West championships and is a safe pick to finish top-40.

37. Garrett Sweatt, Stanford

Garrett Sweatt has finished in the 60s the past two years. His senior year he will crack the top-40, hoping to be the lowest no. 4 man to lead Stanford to a team title.

36. Conor Lundy, Princeton

Conor Lundy has quietly been an extremely impressive true freshman this season. Coach Jason Vigilante has a young star to lead the Tigers in the years to come.

35. Joe Klecker, Colorado
34. Matthew Maton, Oregon
33. Sean Tobin, Mississippi
32. Alex George, Arkansas
31. Scott Carpenter, Georgetown
30. Benard Keter, Texas Tech
29. Gilbert Kirui, Iona
28. Joshua Thompson, Oklahoma State
27. Frankline Tonui, Arkansas
26. Luke Traynor, Tulsa
25. Matthew Baxter, Northern Arizona
24. Kieran Clements, Iona

No. 7 Iona's stars Kieran Clements and Gilbert Kirui have been working together all season long and are poised to finish in All-American position. Clements and Kirui finished seventh and 12th, respectively at the Wisconsin Invitational. Clements just returned from a third-place finish at the northeast region. Kirui was held out at Northeast, which hopefully indicates he'll be fresh for this weekend. 

No. 4 Arkansas should also have some representation in the 24-35 range with key scorers Frankline Tonui and Alex George. Tonui, the NCAA outdoor runner-up in the steeplechase, is returning from finishing seventh in the South Central. George is returning from a fifth-place finish at regionals and a decisive victory at the SEC championships.

23. Emmanuel Rotich, Tulane

Emmanuel Rotich is a sneaky breakout star of 2016, finishing in the top three of every race he's run. He was second to Flo50 No. 24 Thomas Ratcliffe at Stanford, lost by a second in a 5K to a runner he beat at regionals, lost to Alabama's Antibahs Kosgei in Memphis and two Tulsa athletes at conferences. He's the real deal. 

22. Lawrence Kipkoech, Campbell
21. Colin Bennie, Syracuse
20. Edwin Kibichiy, Louisville

Colin Bennie was eighth at nationals last year and has had basically the exact same regular season this year; watch out for him. Edwin Kibichiy missed being an All-American by one spot last year, and has been top six in every race this year. Lawrence Kipkoech is the exact opposite of those two---he was 131st at nationals this year, but has been in the top two every race this year except for Pre-Nats.

19. MJ Erb, Mississippi
18. Malachy Schrobilgen, Wisconsin
17. Thomas Ratcliffe, Stanford

These three are wild cards. MJ Erb has been a stud all year, but was just 187th at NCAAs last year. Thomas Ratcliffe has never run a 10K in his life. Malachy Schrobilgen dropped out at his home Wisconsin Invite. 

16. John Dressel, Colorado
15. Jonah Koech, UTEP

John Dressel, outside of Pre-Nats, is solid. He was 26th at NCAAs last year, and this year was 27th at Pre-Nats, sixth at Pac-12s, and fifth at regionals. He'll likely be an All-American.

Jonah Koech hasn't raced much this year, but was second at regionals and conferences. Last year, he was first and second and first at those two races, and went on to take 11th at nationals. He has to get the benefit of the doubt this year.

14. Nico Montanez, BYU
13. Ferdinand Edman, UCLA

Neither Nico Montanez nor Ferdinand Edman has finished outside of the top ten in a race this year; they finished consecutively at Wisconsin. While neither has turned in a signature performance, they've both been more consistent than the runners that have beat them. On a good day, they can lead their teams to their best finishes in years.

12. Ben Saarel, Colorado
11. Andrew Ronoh, Arkansas
10. Amon Terer, Campbell
9. Sam Parsons, North Carolina St.

Amon Terer and Andrew Ronoh have been flying under the radar this fall. The Campbell senior was third at Pre-Nats before winning Big South and Southeast regional titles. Ronoh was injured during the beginning of the year and has only raced twice for the Razorbacks, finishing sixth at the SEC meet and runner-up in the South Central. This may be Ronoh's first XC season for Arkansas, but he ran 28:36 on the track last spring at Payton Jordan. Saarel has been eighth, seventh, and 31st for the Buffaloes in NCAA XC. Though last year was off for him, his third-place in the Pac-12 should be a good sign that he's ready for a top 15 showing. Parsons was 63rd in both 2014 and 2015 NCAA XC races, but he hasn't finished worse than fifth this year, at Wisconsin no less.

8. Sean McGorty, Stanford
7. Patrick Tiernan, Villanova
6. Morgan McDonald, Wisconsin
5. Jacob Choge, Middle Tennessee State

Sean McGorty, Patrick Tiernan, and Morgan McDonald finished runner-up, third, and fifth at last spring's NCAA outdoor 5K. They've got impressive running resumes with fast PBs, and finishing the top 10 will happen on Saturday. Jacob Choge of Middle Tennessee State is a wild card pick here. He defeated UTEP's Jonah Koech at the Conference USA championship by 11 seconds and won the South regional comfortably. He's the only contender in the field to have never raced King Ches, but also hasn't McGorty, Tiernan, or McDonald. Top 10 would be huge for this newcomer, but certainly not out of the question.

4. Futsum Zienasellassie, Northern Arizona
3. Grant Fisher, Stanford
2. Justyn Knight, Syracuse
1. Edward Cheserek, Oregon

Futsum Zienasellassie, Grant Fisher, and Justyn Knight have had outstanding seasons thus far, but are any of them capable of dethroning the King? It's unlikely. Their best chance will come if they're with Cheserek throughout the entire race and manage to out-kick him in the final stretch. The only one I see capable of doing this is Knight, whose kick earned him victories at Wisconsin, the ACC championship and not to mention a track race against Galen Rupp this summer.