Women's Cross Country Earns First No. 1 National Ranking

Oct. 7, 2008

USTFCCCA National Rankings Release

SEATTLE - Washington's women's cross country team made history today as it moved into the top spot in the national rankings for the first time ever. The Huskies have captured their first two meets in dominating fashion and were rewarded by receiving 11 of the 12 first place votes in today's U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll.

The Huskies began the season ranked No. 3, then moved up one spot following their season-opening win at the Sundodger Invitational. Last Saturday, the Huskies placed seven runners in the top-nine at the Tiger Invite hosted by Auburn to win by a huge margin. The Auburn result was enough to convince the voters to move Washington ahead of previous No. 1 Oregon, who now sits second.

'Achieving the number one ranking is a great statement on where our program has come and it's a testament to the progress our student-athletes have made, but certainly it is not the ultimate goal,' said 12th-year head coach Greg Metcalf. 'Right now the ranking doesn't mean that much. Ultimately all that matters is what happens on November 24th in Terre Haute, Indiana (at the NCAA Championships).'

Washington has been led by freshman Kendra Schaaf (Lumsden, Saskatchewan) in its first two races. The reigning Canadian Junior National Cross Country Champion, Schaaf has won each of her first two college races, and done so by a wide margin. Schaaf won the Sundodger by 25 seconds and the Tiger Invite by 16 seconds.

Fellow freshman Christine Babcock (Irvine, Calif.) made her collegiate debut in Auburn, and was second only to Schaaf. Sophomore Mel Lawrence (Reno, Nev.) has also had an outstanding start, finishing second and third at the first two meets.

As the season wears on, the Huskies will also rely more and more on their two returning All-Americans: senior Anita Campbell and junior Katie Follett. The two placed in the Top-20 at last year's NCAA meet and are progressing well this season. Campbell was ninth at the Tiger Invite while Follett placed sixth in her first race since the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials where she made the semifinals of the 1500-meters.

Women's cross country becomes the seventh intercollegiate sport at the University of Washington to achieve a No. 1 ranking. The previous six were men's crew, women's crew, football, men's soccer, softball, and volleyball.

The Huskies' next meet will be Saturday, Oct. 18 at the Pre-National Race, held on the same course as the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The Women's Division I Cross Country National Poll:

Ranking Team (1st place votes) Totals Previous
1 Washington - (11) 359 2
2 Oregon - (1) 348 1
3 Florida State 336 3
4 Minnesota 315 4
5 Princeton 306 6
6 Stanford 299 5
7 West Virginia 281 9
8 Arizona State 277 7
9 Michigan State 276 8
10 Arkansas 249 11
11 Michigan 247 15
12 Stony Brook 209 30
13 Villanova 193 NR
14 Florida 188 14
15 Baylor 180 16
16 Illinois 166 10
17 Wisconsin 162 12
18 Georgetown 147 22
19 North Carolina State 144 20
20 Providence 117 13
21 SMU 109 NR
22 Northern Arizona 100 24
23 Penn State 98 NR
24 Rice 93 19
25 Wake Forest 66 NR
26 BYU 57 23
27 New Mexico 52 18
28 Duke 49 26
29 Texas Tech 33 21
30 Colorado 25 NR

ORV: Iowa (20), Oregon State (19), Colorado State (17), Syracuse (16), UC Riverside (11), Notre Dame (7), Boston College (4), Georgia (4), and Portland (1).

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