Florida Men Projected as Preseason Favorites in NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field

By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA

January 6, 2015   

NEW ORLEANS – The most consistently excellent men’s indoor track & field program of this decade with three national titles and another runner-up finish to its credit, Florida is once again poised to add to that resume.

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But it’ll have a fight on its hands from each of the past two national team champions to reclaim the throne it occupied from 2010 through 2012.

The Gators are narrow preseason favorites in the National Team Computer Rankings released Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) over defending national champion No. 2 Oregon and 2013 national champion No. 3 Arkansas.

NCAA Division I National Coaches’ Poll Top 5 – Men

1)Florida 2)Oregon 3)Arkansas 4)Texas A&M 5)Iowa State
Florida Oregon Arkansas Texas A&M Penn State
View Complete Women’s National Coaches’ Poll

The Gators, preseason favorites for the third time in the past five years, checked in with 176.01 points in the National Team Computer Rankings, just ahead of Oregon with 172.98 and Arkansas with 151.99.

The full breakdown of how each team arrived at those scores, based on the top marks by returning athletes from 2014 (or past seasons for redshirts) can be found here. Event-by-event breakdowns can be found here.

Meanwhile, the five-time defending champion Oregon women will begin their title defense at No. 3. Which team took over at No. 1? The full women’s preseason rankings can be found here.

The national team rankings are complied by mathematical formulae based on national descending order lists. The purpose and methodology of the rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving the top spots in the national team race. Rankings points do not equate with NCAA Championships team points. A full description of the rankings can be found here.

Preseason rankings will include marks from 2014, and the National Team Computer Rankings will continue to do so through the third regular-season edition.

The USTFCCCA National Team Computer Rankings should not be referred to as a “poll” as no voting occurs during the process.

Sprints, relays and jumps will be the key to success in Gainesville this season for the top-ranked Gator men. Reigning outdoor national 200-meter champion Dedric Dukes is the top-ranked man in his signature event, heading a corps of five sprinters who account for six top-10 event ranks. Arman Hall,  Hugh Graham, Jr., and Najee Glass are ranked No. 2, No. 5 and No. 6 at 400-meters, respectively, and combine with Dukes for the No. 2 4×400 relay team.

Also a significant factor for the Gators will be jumper Marquis Dendy, who is the defending outdoor long jump and triple jump national champion. Based on 2014 indoor marks, he is No. 3 on the preseason long jump list and unranked in the triple jump.

Andres Arroyo and Ryan Schullne are also ranked No. 8 and 9 at 800 meters, respectively.

Joining that group is the eight-best recruiting class in the nation, per Track & Field News.

How have top-ranked teams fared since the inception of the National Team Computer Rankings in 2008? It’s a mixed bag, as you can tell from the table below.

Recent History of Men’s Preseason No. 1 Teams

YEAR Preseason
No. 1
2014 Arkansas 2 Oregon 3
2013 Arkansas 1 Arkansas 1
2012 Florida 1 Florida 1
2011 Florida 1 Florida 1
2010 Florida State 12 Florida 2
2009 Oregon 1 Oregon 1
2008 Florida State 2 Arizona State 19


What the sprints, relays and jumps are to Florida, the distance events are to Oregon. The Ducks will once again be led by defending 3000- and 5000-meter national champion sophomore Edward Cheserek, who raced to 20 of Oregon’s 62 team points at NCAAs a year ago.

Active Men’s Indoor NCAA Champs

Shawn Barber, Akron
Pole Vault (2014)
Edward Cheserek, Oregon
3000 meters &
5000 meters (2014)
Ryan Crouser, Texas
Shot Put (2014)
Marquis Dendy, Florida
Long Jump (2013)
Andrew Irwin, Arkansas
Pole Vault (2012, 2013)
Jarrion Lawson, Arkansas
Long Jump (2014)
Deon Lendore
400 meters (2014)
Michael Lihrman, Wisconsin
Weight Throw (2014)
Brandon McBride, Miss. State
800 meters (2014)
Omar McLeod, Arkansas
60-meter Hurdles (2014)
Felix Obi, Baylor
Triple Jump (2014)
Anthony Rotich, UTEP
Mile (2014)

The returning Bowerman Finalist leads a very formidable distance crew that will be bolstered by the indoor debut of cross country runner-up Eric Jenkins and transfers Will Geoghegan and John Gregorek. The latter duo finished fifth and sixth in the NCAA mile in 2014. Also returning is 5000-meter fourth-placer Parker Stinson.

If that wasn’t enough, the Ducks brought in a recruiting class that Track & Field News ranked No. 2 in the country.

In at No. 3 is another team looking to reclaim its spot atop the Division I indoor track & field mountain: 2013 national champion Arkansas. Defending 60-meter hurdles champion Omar McLeod and defending indoor long jump champ Jarrion Lawson are both back from last year’s national runner-up squad, as is two-time indoor pole vault national champ Andrew Irwin. Much will also be expected of a pair of sixth-ranked athletes in half-miler Patrick Rono and triple jumper Clive Pullen.

The Razorback recruiting class for this season was ranked seventh in the country by Track & Field News.

Reigning The Bowerman Trophy winner Deon Lendore is back for No. 4 Texas A&M, which will look to rebound from a disappointing eighth-place finish at NCAAs a year ago. Ranked No. 1 as the defending 400-meter champ, Lendore is among a trio of sprinters ranked in the top 10 in their events. At 200 meters, Shavez Hart is No. 3, Lendore is No. 4 and Devin Jenkins is No. 9. Jenkins is also No. 5 at 60 meters.

Behind a healthy Robby Creese, No. 5 Penn State is projected significantly higher than its national 32nd-place finish in 2014. Creese is ranked third in the mile, Brannon Kidder is No. 2 at 800 meters and Za’Von Watkins is No. 10 at 800 meters. The three will likely unite to reprise the top-ranked Distance Medley Relay squad from 2014.

Bolstered by the return of top-ranked high jumper James White, Nebraska checked in at No. 6. Stanford‘s distance crew boosted it to No. 7, Texas came in at No. 8, Texas Tech registered No. 9, and LSU rounded out the top 10.

Nebraska is up 11 from its 17th-place finish from 2014, while Texas improved 12 and Texas Tech was up 21.

Upward movement was a significant theme in the preseason rankings, as no fewer than nine teams achieved program-best ranks (rankings began in 2008): No. 5 Penn State, No. 11 Georgia, No. 14 Purdue, No. 16 Kennesaw State, No. 17 Akron, No. 18 Houston, No. 19 Iowa State, No. 21 Kent State, and No. 25 TCU.

The SEC and Big Ten both put six teams in the top 25, though the SEC put all six in the top 13, while four of the Big Ten’s checked in between 14th and 25th.

The full men’s top 25 can be found below.


Men’s Indoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)

2015 Preseason — January 6

next ranking: January 26
Rank School Points Conference Head Coach (Yr) 2014 FINAL
1 Florida 176.01 SEC Mike Holloway (13th) 3
2 Oregon 172.98 MPSF Robert Johnson (3rd) 1
3 Arkansas 151.99 SEC Chris Bucknam (7th) 2
4 Texas A&M 98.11 SEC Pat Henry (11th) 8
5 Penn State 86.97 Big Ten John Gondak (1st) 32
6 Nebraska 75.64 Big Ten Gary Pepin (32nd) 17
7 Stanford 71.73 MPSF Chris Miltenberg (3rd) 12
8 Texas 69.24 Big 12 Mario Sategna (2nd) 20
9 Texas Tech 64.17 Big 12 Wes Kittley (16th) 30
10 LSU 61.14 SEC Dennis Shaver (11th) 8
11 Georgia 56.36 SEC Wayne Norton (16th) 26
12 Villanova 55.42 Big East Marcus O’Sullivan (15th) 32
13 Alabama 54.28 SEC Dan Waters (4th) 6
14 Purdue 49.22 Big Ten Rolando Greene (3rd) 32
15 Wisconsin 49.05 Big Ten Mick Byrne (2nd) 11
16 Kennesaw State 46.39 Atlantic Sun Andy Eggerth (5th) NR
17 Akron 44.05 Mid-American Dennis Mitchell (20th) 16
18 Houston 44.03 American Leroy Burrell (17th) 52
19 Iowa State 42.71 Big 12 Martin Smith (2nd) 26
20 Florida State 40.18 ACC Bob Braman (12th) 4
21 Kent State 37.30 Mid-American Bill Lawson (10th) 45
22 Michigan State 36.15 Big Ten Walt Drenth (9th) 40
23 UCLA 31.71 MPSF Mike Maynard (6th) 64
24 Ohio State 31.66 Big Ten Karen Dennis (1st) 56
25 TCU 31.50 Big 12 Darryl Anderson (11th) NR
View All Teams Beyond the Top 25


Men’s Conference Index Top 10
Rank Conference Points Top 25 Teams
1 SEC 706.34 6
2 Big Ten 401.92 6
3 MPSF 361.39 3
4 Big 12 282.78 4
5 ACC 215.97 1
6 Mid-American 116.17 2
7 Big East 96.53 1
8 American 91.40 1
9 Mountain West 75.39
10 Atlantic Sun 57.32 1