Arkansas & Iowa State Women Move up in Tumultuous Post-Conference Division I XC National Poll

Iowa State Women
New No. 5 Iowa State with their Big 12 Championship trophy. (Photo: Big 12 Championships)

NEW ORLEANS – Round one of the NCAA Division I Cross Country championships season is in the books, with the results of conference championship meets reverberating throughout the second-to-last edition of the women’s National Coaches’ Poll released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Dominant performances at the Big Ten Championships, Big East Championships and Pac-12 Championships kept the now-unanimous No. 1 Michigan State Spartans, No. 2 Georgetown Hoyas and No. 3 Oregon Ducks, respectively, atop the polls.

National Poll PDFs: Week 6 Top 30 Summary | Week-by-Week 2014 | Week-by-Week All Time
Regional Rankings: Week 6 Summary
Division I XC Rankings and Polls Central

The men’s National Coaches’ Polls were also released Tuesday.

NCAA Division I National Coaches’ Poll Top 5 – Women

1)Michigan State 2)Georgetown 3)Oregon 4)Arkansas 5)Iowa State
Michigan State Georgetown Oregon Arkansas Iowa State
View Complete Women’s National Coaches’ Poll

Big Ten winner Leah O’Connor led the way for the Spartans, who took three of the top four spots and five of the top 11 in Iowa City in a rout of new No. 6 Wisconsin and in-state rival No. 8 Michigan (which ran without 2013 Big Ten Champ Erin Finn). Their 26 points were the lowest of any Big Ten women’s winner since Wisconsin’s 25 in 1999.

Georgetown was even more dominant as individual champ Katrina Coogan led the Hoyas to seven of the top nine individual spots and a 19-point total. Oregon was similarly well represented at the head of the Pac-12 field with five top-15 finishers, boosted by the debut of transfer Waverly Neer in 10th-place.

From there on, however, throw the previous edition of the top-30 out the window: 24 of the next 27 teams checked in at a different position than the last polls following the Wisconsin adidas Invitational and Pre-National Invitational.

The Big Ten loss by the preseason favorite Finn-less Michigan dropped the Wolverines from No. 4 to No. 8, paving the way for several teams to move up to the best national rankings in recent times.

SEC Champion Arkansas moved up to No. 4 with a big, 32-85, win over No. 16 Vanderbilt. Dominique Scott won her second conference title in a row as teammate Grace Heymsfield joined her for the 1-2 sweep.

In at No. 5 was Big 12 Champ Iowa State, up to its highest rank since week three of the 2012 season. The Cyclones, led by decisive individual winner and national title frontrunner Crystal Nelson, scored a scant 29 points – the lowest in the Big 12 since Colorado’s 25 in 2004 (the last time the Buffaloes won the national title). All this without returning All-American Bethanie Brown, who is expected to return for NCAAs. Picking up the slack was individual runner-up Katy Moen, fourth-place Margaret Connelly and ninth-place frosh Erin Hooker.

Ranked its highest since week one of the 2007 season, the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers moved up two spots after a runner-up showing at Big Tens, ahead of No. 8 Michigan, 55-93. UW’s individual runner-up Sarah Disanza challenged MSU’s O’Connor for the win, leading four Badgers in the top 12. As explained in the USTFCCCA weekend recap, Wisconsin performed so well that even with Finn hypothetically defending her Big Ten crown and everyone else in the field sliding down one spot, Michigan still would have finished approximately 10 points shy of Wisconsin.

No. 7 West Virginia, at its highest rank since entering the NCAA championships No. 7 in 2009 (it would finish sixth), performed similarly at the Big 12 meet, scored 58 points behind fifth-place Katie Gillespie and five scorers within the top 17. The Mountaineers’ No. 1 in their fifth-place showing at Wisconsin, Jillian Forsey, was just their No. 3 in 12th at Big 12s on Saturday.

Michigan dropped to No. 8, followed by Mountain West champion No. 9 New Mexico in the single digits for the first time this season, and the return of Stanford to the top 10 with its runner-up showing at Pac-12s.

Just missing the top 10 was No. 11 North Carolina, which moved up four spots to its highest poll position since 2004 with its dethroning of six-time-defending ACC Champ No. 13 Florida State, 57-99.

The biggest jump in the poll, however, came from the No. 17 Iona women – up to their highest rank since at least the beginning of the USTFCCCA archives in 1995. Behind the stellar debut of last year’s No. 3 national finisher Kate Avery, the Gaels won the MAAC Championship to skyrocket from the ranks of those teams receiving votes into the top-30 for the first time since week six of the 2006 season.

Other big moves around the country? No. 21 Baylor moved up seven spots from a week ago, following its third-place finish at Big 12s, while Darmouth moved up four into a tie at No. 22 with Syracuse with its Ivy League crown.

It wasn’t all good news Tuesday, though. No. 12 Colorado dropped five spots with its third-place effort at the Pac-12 Championships, the aforementioned Syracuse fell six positions with an eighth-place finish at ACCs, and No. 30 Villanova dropped six spots following a fourth-place showing at Big Easts.

Also returning to the poll was No. 29 Notre Dame with a fifth-place ACC finish.

The NCAA Championships will be held Saturday, November 22, in Terre Haute, Indiana, at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course.

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I

Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll

2014 Week #6 — November 4

next poll: MONDAY, November 17
Rank Institution (FPV) Points Region Conference Cross Country Coach (Yr*)
Last Week
1 Michigan State (12) 360 Great Lakes Big Ten Walt Drenth (11th)
1
2 Georgetown 345 Mid-Atlantic Big East Michael Smith (3rd)
2
3 Oregon 332 West Pac-12 Robert Johnson (3rd)
3
4 Arkansas 317 South Central SEC Lance Harter (25th)
5
5 Iowa State 311 Midwest Big 12 Andrea Grove-McDonough (2nd)
6
6 Wisconsin 287 Great Lakes Big Ten Mick Byrne (1st)
8
7 West Virginia 268 Mid-Atlantic Big 12 Sean Cleary (8th)
9
8 Michigan 267 Great Lakes Big Ten Mike McGuire (23rd)
4
9 New Mexico 261 Mountain Mountain West Joe Franklin (8th)
10
10 Stanford 258 West Pac-12 Chris Miltenberg (3rd)
11
11 North Carolina 248 Southeast ACC Mark VanAlstyne (3rd)
15
12 Colorado 236 Mountain Pac-12 Mark Wetmore (20th)
7
13 Florida State 214 South ACC Karen Harvey (8th)
12
14 Virginia 194 Southeast ACC Todd Morgan (3rd)
13
15 Washington 189 West Pac-12 Greg Metcalf (13th)
17
16 Vanderbilt 168 South SEC Steve Keith (9th)
14
17 Iona 146 Northeast Metro Atlantic Ricardo Santos (7th)
RV
18 NC State 144 Southeast ACC Laurie Henes (9th)
18
19 Ohio State 133 Great Lakes Big Ten Karen Dennis (9th)
19
20 Minnesota 113 Midwest Big Ten Sarah Hopkins (2nd)
20
21 Baylor 100 South Central Big 12 Todd Harbour (15th)
28
22 Syracuse 96 Northeast ACC Chris Fox (10th)
16
22 Dartmouth 96 Northeast Ivy Courtney Jaworski (1st)
26
24 Arizona State 77 West Pac-12 Luis Quintana (1st)
22
25 Boise State 76 West Mountain West Corey Ihmels (2nd)
23
26 Toledo 58 Great Lakes Mid-American Linh Nguyen (2nd)
27
27 UCLA 51 West Pac-12 Mike Maynard (3rd)
29
28 Princeton 43 Mid-Atlantic Ivy Pete Farrell (37th)
25
29 Notre Dame 40 Great Lakes ACC Matt Sparks (1st)
NR
30 Villanova 38 Mid-Atlantic Big East Gina Procaccio (15th)
24
Others Receiving Votes: Boston College 34, Providence 24, Virginia Tech 19, Oklahoma State 10, BYU 9, Tulsa 6, William and Mary 5, Indiana 4, Butler 2, Northern Arizona 1
Dropped Out: No. 21 Oklahoma State, No. 30 Boston College
(* year as effective coach of that team in women’s cross country)
USTFCCCA NCAA Division I
's Cross Country National Coaches' Poll

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