Defending DIII Women’s XC Champ Johns Hopkins Starts 2014 No. 1 in the Preseason National Coaches Poll

By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA

August 27, 2014   

NEW ORLEANS – With two consecutive NCAA Division III cross country team titles under their belts, it should come as no surprise to see the Johns Hopkins women as the unanimous preseason favorites in the National Coaches Poll released Wednesday by U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

NCAA Division III National Coaches Poll Top 5 – Women

1)Johns Hopkins 2)Williams 3)Middlebury 4)Chicago 5)Oberlin
Johns Hopkins Williams Middlebury Chicago Oberlin
View Complete Women’s National Coaches Poll

The Blue Jays, powered by a trio of returning top-50 finishers from a year ago, garnered all eight first-place votes to begin their 2014 quest for a three-peat – a feat accomplished only once in Division III women’s history when SUNY Cortland won four-in-a-row from 1992-95.

Rounding out the top five were No. 2 Williams, No. 3 Middlebury, No. 4 Chicago – who all finished in that order in 2013 – and No. 5 Oberlin, last year’s eighth-place finisher.

The National Coaches Poll for Division III men was also released Wednesday.

National Coaches Poll PDFs: Top 35 Summary | Week-by-Week 2014 | Week-by-Week All-Time
Regional Rankings PDF: Regional Summary

Division III XC Polls/Rankings Central

Leading the way for John Hopkins once more will be junior Hannah Oneda, who has posted top-10 national finishes in each of the past two years – fourth last year and 10th as a freshman. She’s joined by fellow All-American senior Frances Loeb, making Hopkins one of only three teams with a pair of returning All-Americans.

For Oneda, Loeb and the Blue Jays, starting the preseason at No. 1 is by no means unfamiliar territory: JHU won last year’s title as the preseason favorite following its 2012 national title, and it has yet to relinquish the rank 10 polls and another team crown later.

Runners-up to Johns Hopkins a year ago at nationals, the Williams Ephs begin 2014 where they left off in 2013. Last year’s third-place finisher Kaleigh Kenny has since exhausted her eligibility, but Williams still returns three women who finished 52nd or better in 2013. Chief among them is sophomore Hannah Cole, who was 29th as a frosh, and sophomore Molly Belk, who missed All-America honors by just seven seconds.

As the only team last year whose seven runners all scored in the double-digits (Hopkins’ seventh scored an even 100), a balanced team effort will again serve four returning Ephs well in 2014 as they look to take the national crown on the 10-year anniversary of their last title in 2004.

As balanced as Williams may have been for runners one through seven, no one in the field ran in as tight a formation as No. 3 Middlebury’s top six. Just 31 positions and 22 seconds separated the Panthers’ top finisher Allison Maxwell in 36th place from Summer Spillane in 67th.

Seniors Maxwell and Spillane, along with sophomore Erzebet Nagy (42nd) and junior Katherine  Tercek (65th), are all back to create a contingent of top-100 finishers equal to the biggest in the nation with No. 9 NYU. Such team-oriented running could held Middlebury reclaim the title it last won in 2010.

In at No. 4 is last year’s fourth-place Chicago Maroons. Junior Catherine Young had a breakout sophomore season in ninth place overall, and she is joined by another top-100 returner in fellow junior Brianna Hickey (60th). In total, Chicago returns four of five scorers and five of seven overall from last year’s all-time program-best NCAA Championships finish.

Dating back to the beginning of the USTFCCCA archives in 2006, this is the highest Chicago has ever been ranked, surpassing the No. 6 rank it achieved in week eight of the 2008 season.

Rounding out the top five is Oberlin in its highest rank dating back to the beginning of the USTFCCCA archives in 2006. As one of just three teams with two returning All-Americans – No. 1 Johns Hopkins and No. 9 NYU are the others – and with all three top-100 runners returning for their senior season, the Yeowomen are trending high after an all-time program-best eighth-place finish at nationals a year ago.

Eleventh-place finisher Emma Lehmann and 28th-place Lindsay Neal are back as All-Americans from a year ago, accentuating a roster that features four returning scorers and six overall returners.

Completing the preseason top 10 were No. 6 MIT, two teams tied at No. 7 in Calvin and Willamette, No. 9 NYU and No. 10 SUNY Geneseo.

Notably high, No. 14 SUNY Oneonta checked in a full 11 spots better than its all-time program-best 25th-place finish at NCAAs a year ago.

Three conferences – the Centennial, the NESCAC and the UAA – put three teams each in the preseason poll, with all three represented at least once in the top four. Both No. 2 Williams and No. 3 Middlebury hail from the NESCAC.

The NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships are Saturday, Nov. 22 in Mason, Ohio, hosted by Wilmington (Ohio).

 

USTFCCCA NCAA Division III

Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll

2014 Preseason — August 27

next poll: September 17
Rank Institution (FPV) Points Region Conference Head Coach (Yr*)
2013 FINAL
1 Johns Hopkins (8) 280 Mideast Centennial Bobby Van Allen (16th)
1
2 Williams 271 New England NESCAC Pete Farwell (15th)
2
3 Middlebury 265 New England NESCAC Nicole Wilkerson (4th)
3
4 Chicago 252 Midwest UAA Chris Hall (14th)
4
5 Oberlin 245 Great Lakes NCAC Ray Appenheimer (9th)
8
6 MIT 243 New England NEWMAC Halston Taylor (8th)
5
7 Calvin 221 Great Lakes MIAA Brian Diemer (9th)
7
7 Willamette 221 West Northwest Matt McGuirk (11th)
12
9 NYU 203 Atlantic UAA Will Boylan-Pett (1st)
6
10 SUNY Geneseo 202 Atlantic SUNYAC Mike Woods (23rd)
16
11 Washington (Mo.) 197 Midwest UAA Jeff Stiles (14th)
21
12 Dickinson 187 Mideast Centennial Don Nichter (25th)
15
13 Haverford 181 Mideast Centennial Fran Rizzo (24th)
17
14 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 163 West SCIAC John Goldhammer (31st)
14
14 SUNY Oneonta 163 Atlantic SUNYAC Angelo Posillico (5th)
25
16 Tufts 156 New England NESCAC Kristen Morwick (15th)
13
17 Carleton 153 Central MIAC Donna Ricks (22nd)
18
18 Hope 144 Great Lakes MIAA Mark Northuis (27th)
9
19 UW-La Crosse 137 Midwest WIAC Derek Stanley (3rd)
19
20 St. Lawrence 135 Atlantic Liberty League Mike Howard (16th)
10
21 St. Olaf 127 Central MIAC Chris Daymont (34th)
26
22 Ithaca 111 Atlantic Empire 8 Erin Dinan (3rd)
23
23 UW-Stevens Point 105 Midwest WIAC Brett Witt (1st)
28
24 Elizabethtown 97 Mideast Landmark Brian Falk (7th)
29
25 Wartburg 89 Central IIAC Steve Johnson (26th)
11
26 Ohio Wesleyan 82 Great Lakes NCAC Matt Wackerly (5th)
30
27 TCNJ 68 Atlantic NJAC Justin Lindsey (2nd)
31
28 Brandeis 60 New England UAA John Evans (11th)
22
29 Whitworth 56 West Northwest Toby Schwarz (19th)
NR
30 Luther 55 Central IIAC Yarrow Pasche (10th)
27
31 Emory 49 South/Southeast UAA John Curtin (30th)
32
32 Swarthmore 34 Mideast Centennial Peter Carroll (15th)
NR
32 Mount Union 34 Great Lakes OAC Kevin Lucas (4th)
NR
34 Case Western Reserve 22 Great Lakes UAA Kathy Lanese (17th)
NR
35 St. Benedict 8 Central MIAC Robin Balder-Lanoue (19th)
NR
35 Bates 8 New England NESCAC Jay Hartshorn (10th)
NR
35 North Central (Ill.) 8 Midwest CCIW Mahesh Narayanan (14th)
NR
Others Receiving Votes: St. Scholastica 4, SUNY Cortland 2, Marywood 1, Bridgewater (Va.) 1
(* year as head coach of that team in women’s cross country, officially NCAA-recognized coach listed)