Yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin nearly 600 collegiate runners competed for the title of NCAA champion. Three Canadians cracked the top 40, helping their teams to top titles and claiming the individual title of All-American. 

The NCAA Cross-Country Championships are one of the most competitive races in the North America. On the track, runners are split up between distance specializations, meaning talent is more spread out. But in cross-country, all of the runners race together. The depth at the cross-country championships is wild, and cracking the top-40 at the puts you in an elite class of runners. For context of the depth of the fields, Canadian record holders Mohammed Ahmed and Cam Levins’ highest placements were fifth and fourth respectively.

RELATED: Greatest Canadian moments in NCAA cross-country history

In the women’s race, Charlotte Prouse of the University of New Mexico fulfilled her goal of finishing in the top 10, placing ninth and helping her team to a second place finish. Yesterday was Prouse’s last collegiate cross-country race, but she will still have eligibility in both the indoor and outdoor track seasons. The runner said pre-race, “I want to put myself in it and stay focused. I can tend to zone out in the middle of a long race, but I want to avoid this, stay in the top 10, and see how fast I can run that final kilometre. The last 100m will be the last time I run cross-country, so that should give me an extra push.”

The New Mexico Lobos finished with a total score of 103 behind Colorado who finished with 65 points. Colorado has been known to shine at the NCAA championships and the women didn’t disappoint yesterday. Senior runner Dani Jones took the win. She told Let’s Run post-race that the Colorado women were hoping for difficult conditions because that’s what they train in, so when they woke up and saw it was snowing outside, they were thrilled. “It was like Christmas morning.”

Nicole Hutchinson of Villanova was 40th, grabbing the last All-American spot. The senior, originally from Vancouver, bettered her 2017 finish by 50 places. 

An honourable mention goes to the University of Michigan’s Anne Forsyth. The freshman runner was 46th, just shy of All-American status, but as a first year that’s a very impressive result. She was the third freshman across the line. The dual-citizen will race the Athletics Canada national championships in a weeks time at Fort Henry in Kingston. 

In the men’s results, Rory Linkletter was 22nd. The former Blue Jean Mile world record holder helped his team, BYU, to a second place finish. Yesterday was Linkletter’s last collegiate cross-country race. He will being post-collegiate running in the fall of 2019. 

Full results can be found here

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