Pac-12 cross country teams dominate latest USTFCCCA national polls
SAN FRANCISCO – Paced by COLORADO taking over the top spot in the women’s poll, the Pac-12 has a national-best seven women’s teams and six men’s teams in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national rankings on Tuesday.
On the women’s side, no other conference has more than three teams in the top 30 poll, while the Pac-12 boasts three in the top 5 with No. 1 COLORADO garnering eight first-place votes, No. 2 WASHINGTON capturing the remaining four first-place votes, and OREGON climbing four spots to No. 5. The Buffaloes and Ducks finished first and second at last week’s Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., and the Huskies cruised to victory at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.
No. 11 STANFORD and No. 17 UTAH remained in the ranks, while UCLA and CALIFORNIA jumped from receiving votes to Nos. 23 and 25, respectively. The seven women’s teams in the top 30 are a season-high for the Pac-12.
On the men’s side, no other conference has more than four teams in the rankings, while the Pac-12 has four in the top 10. The STANFORD men, runners-up at the Nuttycombe Invitational, made the most noteworthy leap as the Cardinal moved up nine spots to No. 2, just one position - and one point - ahead of league rival and Pre-National Invite champion No. 3 OREGON.
Along with No. 7 COLORADO and No. 25 WASHINGTON, both UCLA and WASHINGTON STATE enjoyed significant movement as the Bruins improved 17 places to No. 10, while the Cougars went from receiving votes to No. 15. UCLA appears in the top 10 for the first time since 2014 and WSU has its highest ranking since 1998.
Individually, OREGON senior Edward Cheserek continued his reign as he won for the 15th time in his last 17 races with his second Pre-Nationals Invitational individual title, along with a win at the race in 2014.
Just over one week remains until the 2016 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships hosted by Arizona at Randolph North Golf Course in Tucson, Ariz., on Friday, Oct. 28. It marks the second time the event will be held in Tucson, the most recent coming in 2005.
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.