Biola (Calif.) Tabbed No. 1 in NAIA Women’s Cross Country Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Biola (Calif.) Tabbed No. 1 in NAIA Women’s Cross Country Preseason Coaches’ Poll

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Biola (Calif.) has been tabbed as the No. 1 team in the NAIA Women’s Cross Country Top 25 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the NAIA announced Wednesday. The Eagles were awarded 15 of 21 possible first-place votes for 586 points. Second-ranked California State-San Marcos earned six first-places to tally 571 points. Malone (Ohio) is listed third with 532 points, followed by Simon Fraser (B.C.) and Azusa Pacific (Calif.) tied at fourth with 531 points to round out the top five.

Thirteen conferences had at least one team represented in the preseason poll, with the Cascade Collegiate Conference and Golden State Athletic Conference each boasting four ranked squads. Representing the CCC are No. 6 College of Idaho, No. 9 Concordia (Ore.), No. 15 Eastern Oregon and No. 25 Southern Oregon. Biola, Azusa Pacific, No. 7 Concordia (Calif.) and No. 11 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) appear for the GSAC. The Association of Independent Institutions had three teams garner preseason ranking: California State-San Marcos, Simon Fraser and eighth-ranked British Columbia.

After a runner-up finish at the 2009 NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships, Biola opens the 2010 campaign as the nation’s top-ranked team. The Eagles, who finished just three points behind California State-San Marcos (137) for the title, return All-Americans Katie Thede and Sarah Brooks. The senior duo will look to lead Biola to its first ever women’s cross country national championship on Nov. 20 in Fort Vancouver, Wash.

Last season Simon Fraser was tabbed as the preseason No. 1 before Azusa Pacific took over for eight-straight polls starting on Sept. 23, 2009. The two teams finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at the national championships, and were separated by a mere four points. Tied for the No. 4 spot in the poll, the Clan and the Cougars are one point back from third-ranked Malone.

Ninth-ranked Concordia’s 12th-place finish at the national championships lifted the Cavaliers from their final ranking of No. 22 to a top-10 ranking for the largest climb in the poll. Despite a final ranking of No. 7 and a sixth-place finish in 2009, Cedarville (Ohio) fell 17 spots to No. 24.

Defending individual champion Justyna Mudy is back for her senior season with No. 19 Shorter (Ga.). The Hawks are one of three teams, Eastern Oregon and No. 22 Friends (Kan.), to be ranked after finishing last season either receiving votes or being unranked. The trio of teams replace previously-ranked No. 21 Park (Mo.), No. 23 Vanguard (Calif.) and No. 24 Saint Xavier (Ill.).

The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. The first regular season poll of the 2010 season will be released on Sept. 13.

1 4 Biola University (Calif.) (15) 586
2 2 California State University-San Marcos (6) 571
3 5 Malone University (Ohio) 532
4 3 Simon Fraser University (B.C.) 531
4 1 Azusa Pacific University (Calif.) 531
6 6 College of Idaho 503
7 13 Concordia University (Calif.) 461
8 11 University of British Columbia 443
9 22 Concordia University (Ore.) 433
10 17 Black Hills State University (S.D.) 418
11 9 Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.) 361
12 8 Concordia University (Neb.) 360
13 18 Milligan College (Tenn.) 334
14 20 Kansas Wesleyan University 320
15 NR Eastern Oregon University 272
16 16 Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho) 269
17 14 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Fla.) 268
18 10 Spring Arbor University (Mich.) 263
19 12 Morningside College (Iowa) 236
20 15 Aquinas College (Mich.) 233
21 NR Shorter University (Ga.) 224
22 RV Friends University (Kan.) 214
23 19 Indiana Wesleyan University 198
24 7 Cedarville University (Ohio) 181
25 25 Southern Oregon University 141

Others receiving votes: Westmont College (Calif.) 135; Saint Xavier University (Ill.) 106; Park University (Mo.) 95; Vanguard University (Calif.) 57; Southwestern College (Kan.) 40; Northwestern College (Iowa) 39; Lindenwood University (Mo.) 35; Wayland Baptist University (Texas) 22; Jamestown College (N.D.) 20; Mount Mercy University (Iowa) 17; Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) 14; Northwest Christian University (Ore.) 4; Taylor University (Ind.) 3; Siena Heights University (Mich.) 3; Dakota State University (S.D.) 1; Cornerstone University (Mich.) 1; Mills College (Calif.) 1; William Woods University (Mo.) 1; Oklahoma Baptist University 1; Rocky Mountain College (Mont.) 1; Savannah College of Art and Design (Ga.) 1.

^ Nov. 8, 2009

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