Six Pac-12 cross country teams in USTFCCCA polls as UCLA joins ranks

SAN FRANCISCO – Fresh off top 10 showings at the ultra-competitive Roy Griak Invitational, the UCLA men’s and women’s cross country teams both entered the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national rankings on Tuesday to lift the Pac-12 to an NCAA-best six teams in the Week 3 polls.

Last week, it was the WASHINGTON STATE men’s and UTAH women’s teams that entered the national ranks, giving the Pac-12 an NCAA-best five teams in both polls. This week, Pac-12 teams now comprise one-fifth of both top-30 charts with the addition of the UCLA men and women, with no other conference occupying more than four spots in either poll.

With a sixth-place finish at the 29-team Roy Griak Invitational, the UCLA men’s team went from receiving votes last week to 27th in this week’s top-30 poll. Of the eight nationally ranked programs competing at the event, UCLA finished ahead of four in No. 19 Oklahoma, No. 22 Furman, No. 24 Colorado State and No. 26 Southern Utah.

The Bruins join fellow ranked Pac-12 members No. 3 OREGON, No. 5 COLORADO, No. 11 STANFORD, No. 21 WASHINGTON and No. 24 WASHINGTON STATE in the Week 3 men’s poll.

By virtue of its seventh-place showing among 36 entries at the Roy Griak Invite, the UCLA women’s team moved into a tie for 29th in the latest national rankings. The Bruins, who weren’t receiving votes entering the Griak, beat out three of the nine ranked teams in the field – No. 17 Iowa State, No. 25 Minnesota and No. 29 Mississippi State – to make their way into the poll.

The Bruins are in the Week 3 women’s poll along with Pac-12 members No. 2 COLORADO, No. 4 OREGON, No. 6 STANFORD, No. 12 WASHINGTON and No. 28 UTAH, while CALIFORNIA is receiving votes.

Ten Pac-12 programs will be in action this week, highlighted by Stanford and Washington hosting their own invitational races as well as entries in Notre Dame’s Joe Piane Invitational and the Capital Cross Challenge at the site of the NCAA West Regionals – Haggin Oaks Golf Complex – in Sacramento, Calif.

Five weeks remain until the 2016 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships hosted by Arizona at Randolph North Golf Course in Tucson, Ariz., on Friday, Oct. 28. The NCAA Mountain and West Regionals will be held Friday, Nov. 11 in Logan, Utah and Sacramento, Calif., respectively, with teams advancing to the 2016 NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 19.

The Pac-12 will be looking to add to its distinction as the winningest conference in NCAA Cross Country history this fall as current league members boast the most combined team national championships (27 – 16 men/11 women) and individual titles (28 – 25 men/3 women) of any league in the country.

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