Seven men’s, four women’s teams ranked in USTFCCCA poll

Ken Moreland

SAN FRANCISCO - Seven Pac-12 men’s teams and an additional four women’s teams are ranked in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released today. Headlining the polling are the COLORADO men, who are ranked No. 1 in the country after winning the 2014 NCAA title.

The Buffs were voted No. 1 unanimously and have been the unanimous top team in the nation since the preseason last year. Colorado returns four All-Americans, including Ammar Moussa and Ben Saarel, who both placed in the top 10 in at the NCAA Championship race in 2014. Also in the top 10 are second-ranked STANFORD and No. 6 OREGON. Last year’s runner up, the Cardinal have a deep roster at its disposal with brothers Jim and Joe Rosa running in their final campaigns together. The Ducks lost Eric Jenkins, the second-place finisher at the NCAA meet last year, but welcome back two-time NCAA Champion Edward Cheserek.

UCLA earned a No. 13 preseason ranking, followed by No. 20 WASHINGTON, No. 22 ARIZONA STATE and No. 28 CALIFORNIA. The Bruins and Huskies both advanced to the NCAA Championships last season, finishing in the top 20, but the Golden Bears and Sun Devils look to make it back since 2011.

On the women’s side, COLORADO was ranked No. 4, losing just one runner from last year’s squad that was seventh at the NCAA Championships, its second-straight top-10 finish at the national meet. OREGON and STANFORD are sixth and seventh in the polling. All five Ducks that ran at last year’s NCAA title race are back and looking to improve upon a sixth-place showing at the event. The Cardinal has former Pac-12 Champion Aisling Cuffe back after she redshirted last season, as well as Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and the second-place finisher at last year’s Conference race Elise Cranny leading the way. WASHINGTON was ranked No. 15 in the polling.

Pac-12 teams are gearing up for the regular season, which begins this weekend. League teams will come together to compete for the Conference crowns on Friday, October 30 at the Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships hosted by WASHINGTON STATE in Colfax, Wash. The season will conclude at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 21 in Louisville, Ky.

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