Utah, Colorado meet wins highlight jumps for Pac-12 Cross Country in USTFCCCA polls

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SAN FRANCISCO – Meet victories at the competitive Joe Piane Invitational propelled the UTAH women and COLORADO men in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Week 4 national rankings released on Tuesday, headlined by a program-best No. 6 national ranking for the Utes.

USTFCCCA WOMEN’S POLL (Week 4)
3. Colorado (-2)
T4. Stanford (+1)
6. Utah (+26)
8. Washington (-2)
14. Oregon (-1)
25. Oregon State (-1)
RV: UCLA

USTFCCCA MEN’S POLL (Week 4)
3. Colorado (+1)
4. Washington (-1)
5. Stanford (+1)
7. Oregon (-)
20. UCLA (-)

Utah scored a considerable upset at the Piane Invitational in South Bend, Ind., as the Utes, who were receiving votes and just outside the national top 30 entering the race, beat out 11 ranked teams including then-No. 1 and rival Colorado to vault 26 spots to No. 6. It marks the highest ranking in program history for Utah, whose previous best was No. 17 in Week 5 of the 2016 season.

Though the Buffaloes fell from the top spot, the Pac-12 now boasts four teams in the women’s top 10 and a combined six in the poll – both national bests.

Led by Joe Klecker’s third-place individual finish, the Colorado men posted a comfortable 36-point victory at the Piane Invite, placing ahead of 10 ranked teams en route to the win. The Buffaloes climbed to No. 3, swapping spots with WASHINGTON, while STANFORD improved to a season-best No. 5 to give the Pac-12 an NCAA-leading three top-5 teams for the first time this season.

The Pac-12’s combined 11 ranked teams are tied for the most of any conference (Big Ten – 11), with eight of the Conference’s 11 ranked programs inside the top 10, more than double the next closest leagues (WCC – 3).

The 2019 Pac-12 Championships, originally set to be contested at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore., will now be held at Ash Creek Preserve in nearby Monmouth, Ore., with Oregon State remaining as host institution. Extensive flooding of the Willamette River and Trysting Tree this spring prompted the shift. The Championships will be televised live on Pac-12 Network for the third consecutive year with racing starting at 11 a.m. PT.

The NCAA Mountain and West Regionals will be held Friday, Nov. 15 and hosted by Pac-12 programs Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah and Washington State in Colfax, Wash., with teams advancing to the 2019 NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 23.

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 (29 – 16 men/13 women) and individual titles (29 – 25 men/4 women) of any league in the country.

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