Pac-12 cross country teams lead USTFCCCA polls entering NCAA Regionals

Chris Hook

SAN FRANCISCO – After winning both the men’s and women’s Pac-12 Cross Country Championships last week, COLORADO leads a heavy Pac-12 contingent in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national rankings released on Tuesday. The Buffs are now ranked No. 1 on the women’s side and No. 2 on the men’s side.

On the women’s side, the Pac-12 boasts three teams in the top 10 with No. 1 COLORADO garnering all 12 first-place votes, Pac-12 runner-up WASHINGTON checking in at No. 4, and STANFORD climbing into a tie at No. 7. The Buffaloes cruised to another victory at the Pac-12 Championships in Tucson, Ariz., on Friday after running away with the crown at the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., the previous weekend to take over the top spot in the poll.

No. 11 OREGON, No. 20 UTAH, and No. 27 CALIFORNIA remained in the ranks, giving the Pac-12 a national-best six teams in the women’s top 30.

On the men’s side, the Pac-12 has four teams in the top 10, while no other conference has more than four in the top-30 rankings. COLORADO, the Pac-12 Champions, made a significant jump from No. 7 last week to No. 2 this week. STANFORD, runners-up to CU at the Pac-12 Championships, are now ranked No. 4, while UCLA jumped to No. 8, its highest ranking ever in the USTFCCCA archives. Pre-National Invite champion OREGON dropped to No. 10 after placing fourth at the Pac-12 Championships.

WASHINGTON STATE appears in the top 20 for the second week in a row, coming in at No. 17 to give the Pac-12 a national-best five teams in the men’s poll.

Individually, OREGON senior Edward Cheserek continued his reign as he won for the 16th time in his last 18 races with his record fourth individual Pac-12 Cross Country Championship.

Just over one week remains until the NCAA Regional Championships on Friday, Nov. 11. Ten of 12 teams will run at the West Regional hosted by Sacramento State in Sacramento, Calif, while UTAH and COLORADO will run in the Mountain Regional hosted by Utah State in Logan, Utah. This will determine which teams advance 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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