Texas A&M Men Atop First 2015 DI Outdoor Rankings
NEW ORLEANS – For the third time in the last seven seasons, the Texas A&M men are America’s preseason No. 1 NCAA Division I outdoor track & field team.
Pat Henry’s Aggies won titles in both years—2009 and 2013—they were ranked number one in the season’s first edition of the National Team Computer Rankings.
The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released the computer-compiled rankings on Tuesday afternoon.
Preseason women’s rankings were also released Tuesday.
The top four teams from last June’s outdoor NCAA meet were the top four teams in the rankings, though the order was shuffled from nine months ago.
Last year in Eugene, Oregon won their first men’s Division I outdoor title since 1984. The Ducks were trailed by Florida, Texas A&M, and LSU in that order. As the Countdown to Tracktown commences—nationals are just eleven weeks away—the Ducks and Aggies flip-flopped in the rankings.
Last year’s national runner-up Florida starts the 2015 outdoor season at No. 2, and 2015 fourth-placers LSU is tipped to repeat that finish.
Filling out the rest of the top ten were No. 5 Texas, No. 6 Arkansas, No. 7 Southern California, No. 8 Georgia, No. 9 Florida State, and No. 10 Texas Tech.
Outdoor rankings only include outdoor marks, meaning that the only sets of data included are from the 2013 and 2014 outdoor seasons and the very young 2015 outdoor season. No indoor marks are considered; marks from past years will continue to count.
Transfers were vital to TAMU’s rise to the top spot. Devin Jenkins left Southern this September after bureaucrato-academic conditions threatened to continue to hold him out of NCAA championships competition. His 20.32 at 200 meters puts him fourth on the preseason list in that event.
Identical twins Lathone and Latario Collie were first and third on the all-college triple jump list in 2014 while competing for Iowa Western. Latario’s 17.12m (56-2) SB was actually better than Marquis Dendy’s winning jump at the Division I meet in Eugene. The Bahamian twins are no stranger to unprecedented fraternal success: they were first and third in the triple jump at World Youths in 2011, with Lathone coming up forty-four centimeters short of delivering the first ever twin brothers 1-2 finish in IAAF history.
Those three men gave the Aggies 100.72 rankings points—enough to tip them over Florida and Oregon for the preseason top spot. But those three teams are clearly the cream of the crop. The point difference between No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 LSU is the same as the gap between the Tigers and No. 15 Penn State.
The battle between Florida and Oregon has been the defining team storyline of the last two track & field national championship meets, with Oregon winning and Florida finishing second at 2014 outdoors and 2015 indoors—the latter just ten days ago. Both teams gain a little bit from the transition from indoors to outdoors.
Florida picks up major points from the sprint relays. There’s only one sprint relays at indoor nationals, and the Gators scored zero points in it. They have the top-ranked 4×100 and the second-best 4×4 in the preseason rankings, garnering 64.86 points for the Gators. There are also two more hurdle races outdoors, and Mouse Holloway’s men look to post major points in both of them. Star 400 hurdler TJ Holmes transferred in from Baylor, and steeplechaser Mark Parrish is back after redshirting outdoors in 2014.
Though the Oregon distance stars led by Eric Jenkins and Ed Cheserek are still the major point producers for the Ducks—those two alone create about a third of the team’s point total, with more coming if/when Jenkins runs a fast 10k—the transition to outdoors spreads the burden a little bit. Decathlete Dakotah Keys, hurdlers Devon Allen and Johnathan Cabral, and javelin thrower Sam Crouser combine for 126.67 points after scoring a cumulative zero at indoor nationals.
The top three teams are the only ones in the country with multiple athletes or relays contributing thirty points—the amount awarded to the top athlete or relay in each event—to their team total. Texas A&M has Latario Collie in the TJ plus Bowerman winner Deon Lendore in the 400 and Lendore and his relay mates in the 4×400. Florida has the top returning time in the 4×100 and Dedric Dukes sitting atop the 200 meter form chart. And Oregon has Cheserek as the nation’s top 5k/10k man, Crouser as the top javelin returner, and Allen as the fastest 110 hurdles returner.
Cheserek also has the top returning time in the 1500, but those 30 points are shaved down to 5.12 due to the formula’s penalty for certain dual- and triple-event combos.
No. 23 Houston made the biggest jump—compared to last June’s team finishes at nationals—of any team in the top twenty-five. The Cougars were just seventy-third at NCAAs. Other big movers were No. 24 Michigan, up twenty, No. 21 Washington, up twenty-three, No. 20 Virginia, up twenty-four, No. 15 Penn State, up twenty-nine, No. 14 Stanford, up eighteen, and No. 10 Texas Tech, up twenty-eight.
The rankings will be released on Mondays between now and the June 10-13 NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)
2015 Preseason — March 24
|next ranking: MONDAY, April 6|
|Rank||Institution||Points||Conference||Head Coach (Yr)||2014 FINAL|
|1||Texas A&M||390.50||SEC||Pat Henry (11th)||3|
|2||Florida||384.72||SEC||Mike Holloway (13th)||2|
|3||Oregon||325.99||Pac-12||Robert Johnson (3rd)||1|
|4||LSU||221.08||SEC||Dennis Shaver (11th)||4|
|5||Texas||205.35||Big 12||Mario Sategna (2nd)||11|
|6||Arkansas||194.57||SEC||Chris Bucknam (7th)||9|
|7||Southern California||170.63||Pac-12||Caryl Smith Gilbert (2nd)||4|
|8||Georgia||164.29||SEC||Wayne Norton (16th)||6|
|9||Florida State||154.23||ACC||Bob Braman (12th)||20|
|10||Texas Tech||146.56||Big 12||Wes Kittley (16th)||38|
|11||Alabama||145.14||SEC||Dan Waters (4th)||15|
|12||Oklahoma State||132.77||Big 12||Dave Smith (7th)||13|
|13||Baylor||122.80||Big 12||Todd Harbour (10th)||8|
|14||Stanford||119.01||Pac-12||Chris Miltenberg (3rd)||32|
|15||Penn State||116.90||Big Ten||John Gondak (1st)||44|
|16||Tennessee||115.25||SEC||Beth Alford-Sullivan (1st)||18|
|17||Nebraska||105.09||Big Ten||Gary Pepin (32nd)||12|
|18||Arizona State||96.93||Pac-12||Greg Kraft (19th)||13|
|19||UCLA||85.98||Pac-12||Mike Maynard (6th)||33|
|20||Virginia||74.37||ACC||Bryan Fetzer (4th)||44|
|21||Washington||72.02||Pac-12||Greg Metcalf (13th)||44|
|22||Kentucky||71.84||SEC||Edrick Floreal (3rd)||15|
|23||Houston||71.53||American||Leroy Burrell (17th)||73|
|24||Michigan||64.63||Big Ten||Jerry Clayton (2nd)||44|
|25||Western Kentucky||63.57||Conference USA||Erik Jenkins (8th)||18|
|View All Teams Beyond the Top 25|
|Men’s Conference Index Top 10|
|Rank||Conference||Points||Top 25 Teams|
|Men’s Regional Index Leaders|
|Great Lakes||(starts April 6)||0.00|
|Mid-Atlantic||(starts April 6)||0.00|
|Midwest||(starts April 6)||0.00|
|Mountain||(starts April 6)||0.00|
|Northeast||(starts April 6)||0.00|
|South||(starts April 6)||0.00|
|South Central||(starts April 6)||0.00|
|Southeast||(starts April 6)||0.00|
|West||(starts April 6)||0.00|
|View All Regional Rankings|