Six top-10 teams among 10 ranked entering Pac-12 Cross Country Championships

Tom Lynn/GoDucks.com

SAN FRANCISCO – The No. 1 COLORADO women and No. 4 STANFORD men will enter next week’s 2018 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships as favorites according to their respective national rankings in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Week 5 polls released on Tuesday.

USTFCCCA MEN’S POLL (Week 5)
4. Stanford (+1)
7. Washington (+5)
T8. Colorado (+3)
11. Oregon (+2)
12. UCLA (+13)
29. Washington State (-12)

USTFCCCA WOMEN’S POLL (Week 5)
1. Colorado (-, 9 first-place votes)
4. Oregon (-)
6. Stanford (-1)
16. Washington (-)
RV: Oregon State, UCLA, Utah

The Pac-12’s combined 10 ranked teams equal the most of any conference in the country, highlighted by six top-10 programs, which are double the next closest leagues.

For the sixth consecutive poll this season, the Pac-12 boasts a national-best six ranked men’s teams led by No. 4 Stanford, the host of next week’s Conference championship meet. This week’s rankings were highlighted by significant movement as five of the league’s six teams improved 24 combined spots led by UCLA jumping 13 positions to a season-best No. 12 and WASHINGTON rising five slots to No. 7, its highest men’s ranking in program history according to USTFCCCA records.

The defending Pac-12 team champion Cardinal and top runner Grant Fisher, the Conference’s reigning individual champion, will carry significant momentum into the Pac-12 Championship on their home course as Fisher was named USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week after winning last week’s Pre-Nationals Cardinal Race at Wisconsin. The victory helped Stanford to a runner-up finish at the NCAA tune-up behind only current No. 1 ranked and defending national champion Northern Arizona.

Colorado remained No. 1 for the second straight women’s national poll and appears to be the frontrunner for a fourth consecutive Pac-12 team title, though No. 4 OREGON, No. 6 Stanford and No. 16 Washington are expected to challenge the Buffaloes’ reign. While the Buffs rested their top runners, the Ducks impressed with a runner-up finish at Pre-Nationals led by Jessica Hull’s individual win in the Cardinal Race.

The Pre-Nationals were divided into two main races – Cardinal and White – with 71 women’s teams and 68 men’s teams competing in total, compared to 31 men’s and women’s teams at the NCAA Championships. The Pac-12 placed six men’s teams and four women’s teams in the top 10, as well as 21 men and 16 women placing in the top 40 (All-America status at NCAAs), in their respective races.

Outside of Pre-Nationals, the OREGON STATE women took home the team title at Santa Clara’s Bronco Invitational, amassing 48 points en route to a 124-point triumph over runners-up Rice and UTEP to earn votes for the second consecutive national poll.

The 2018 Pac-12 Championships will be hosted by Stanford at the Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 26. For the second straight year, the Championships will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks with racing starting at 11 a.m. PT.

The NCAA Mountain and West Regionals will be held Friday, Nov. 9 in Provo, Utah and Sacramento, Calif., respectively, with teams advancing to the 2018 NCAA Championships in Madison, Wisc., on Saturday, Nov. 17.

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 (28 – 16 men/12 women) and individual titles (28 – 25 men/3 women) of any league in the country.

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