Pac-12 continues to lead way with five in USTFCCCA national rankings

SAN FRANCISCO – The WASHINGTON women’s cross country team climbed eight spots to No. 4 in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll on Tuesday, the most significant movement among the national-best five Pac-12 men’s and women’s teams in the latest top-30 rankings.

Anchored by a team victory at its own Washington Invitational, the Huskies’ jump from No. 12 to No. 4 now gives the Pac-12 four teams inside the women's top 10 along with No. 2 COLORADO, No. 6 STANFORD and No. 9 OREGON. All of the league’s top three representatives in the women’s ranking – Colorado, Washington and Stanford – won as race hosts last weekend, with the Buffaloes’ Erin Clark, Huskies’ Charlotte Prouse and Cardinal’s Elise Cranny also taking individual titles. In addition, ARIZONA STATE was the fourth league member to win a team title last week with a triumph at the Sacramento State Capital Cross Challenge.

No. 23 UTAH rounds out the list of five ranked women’s teams, the most of any conference in the country, while UCLA and CALIFORNIA are also receiving votes.

On the men’s side, top-10 teams No. 4 OREGON and No. 6 COLORADO both dropped one spot in the rankings despite posting team victories last week. Anchored by three-time Pac-12 and NCAA individual champion Edward Cheserek’s 14th victory in his last 16 cross country races, the Ducks captured the Washington Invitational title, while the Buffaloes had a trio of top-5 finishers – not counting All-American John Dressel’s win as an unattached runner – to win the Rocky Mountain Shootout.

No. 11 STANFORD, No. 23 WASHINGTON and No. 27 UCLA complete the list of the Pac-12’s five ranked men's teams, tied with the Big Ten for the most nationally, with WASHINGTON STATE and CALIFORNIA also receiving votes.

Along with six combined team race titles last week, four men and four women won individual race titles:

- Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won the Washington Invitational, his 14th victory in his last 16 cross country races.
- Colorado's John Dressel won the Rocky Mountain Shootout
- Stanford's Thomas Ratcliffe won the Stanford Invitational in his first-ever cross country race.
- UCLA's Garrett Reynolds won the Mustang Challenge
- Arizona State's Chelsey Albertson won the Sacramento State Capital Cross Challenge
- Colorado’s Erin Clark won the Rocky Mountain Shootout with just the fourth-ever sub-20 minute time on the Buffalo Ranch course. The last person to break the 20-minute mark was 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Jenny (Barringer) Simpson in 2009. Simpson and fellow CU alumna and Rio Games bronze medalist Emma Coburn were on hand at the Shootout as official meet starters.
- Stanford’s Elise Cranny won the Stanford Invitational
- Washington's Charlotte Prouse won the Washington Invitational

Only four 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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