A Fresh View at the 2010 Landscape Brings Texas A&M Men, LSU Women to Front
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released updated national team rankings and the first edition of the regional team index for the 2010 outdoor track & field season in Division I on Tuesday. As a result of the normal week-four procedure to start using only 2010 season data to compile the national team rankings, the earth shook a little under the feet of all teams, placing the men of Texas A&M and the women of LSU to the top spot for the first time this year.
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Starting with this week, national team rankings, with one exception, are compiled using only data from the 2010 outdoor season. As a result, those who have not made a mark in the 2010 outdoor season will not contribute to their team’s ranking total until a scoreable mark has been achieved. In combined events (decathlon and heptathlon), individual contributions to team totals are still calculated from the best of preseason and current-season data until week six.
The Aggies of Texas A&M (285.02) took over the nation’s top spot after being ranked No. 2 since the preseason. The Aggies sport national leader Sam Humphreys in the javelin and the second-ranked 4×100 and 4×400 relays. In addition, the Aggies have three of the nation’s top 12 triple jumpers, including senior Zuheir Sharif and a total of 10 marks that lay in the current national top 10.
LSU (270.55) is ranked No. 2 on the men’s side, climbing seven spots from their previous pirch at No. 9. The Tigers have the collegiate leader in the 800 meters with Richard Jones (1:46.90) and the second-ranked hammer thrower, Walter Henning. Florida (268.23) slipped from the ranking’s top spot to No. 3 despite having the national leader in the 400 meters (Calvin Smith) and the nation’s best 4×100 and 4×400 relays.
The SEC is on top of men’s leaderboard with eight teams in the national top 25 while the Big 12 flanks seven. The Pac-10 spots five in the top 25.
On the women’s side, LSU (371.04) moved from No. 2 to the nation’s top spot, citing a sizeable margin over now-No. 2 Texas A&M (299.05). The Lady Tigers own the top three best times among collegians in the 800 meters, including collegiate leader LaTavia Thomas’ 2:01.40. Samantha Henry is No. 2 in the 200 meters and LSU has the second-ranked 4×100 and 4×400 relays.
Texas A&M has the nation’s leading 4×100 (42.56) and Jessica Beard currently holds the top seed in the 400 meters (51.64). No. 3 Oregon held steady and was the only team between all men’s and women’s teams in the top 25 not to have changed positions.
The SEC, Big 12, and ACC all lay claim to five teams in the top 25 while the Pac-10 has four.
“With the new qualifying format, we’ve seen some changes to how teams approach this season,” said Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA track & field rankings coordinator. “Before, teams would make sure their elite athletes gained marks that would place them on the top of national performance lists as a protection from not advancing or finishing in the top five in their regional. Now it seems, especially in the distance events, that teams are making sure their elite athletes at least secure a spot in the NCAA preliminary round, but realize that since those protections no longer apply to those on top of the performance list, that need to post a superior mark early in the season no longer exist. It’s a generalization, but the data seems to dictate that many more have taken that approach this season.”
For the first time in at least 30 years, qualification for the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Division I will not rely on a hard-line qualifying standard. Instead, one’s rank within one of two regions will determine entry into the national championships which will play out in three locations over two weekends.
“As a result, without the crutches of preseason marks that we use to compile the rankings for the first few weeks, we’ve seen some teams surge several spots in the national rankings and some teams lose several spots in the rankings," Lewis said. "It will be very interesting to see how things play out and conference meets in the next few weeks will be more-and-more important in shaping the landscape of the national team race.”
About the Rankings
For more on the rankings and links to guideline and rationale information visit …
NCAA Division I
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Rankings
2010 Week #4 – April 27
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Rankings
2010 Week #4 – April 27