Southern California Leads Exceptionally Close DI Women’s Team Race
NEW ORLEANS – With only this weekend’s NCAA Prelim Rounds left on the schedule between now and the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships in Euguene, Oregon, on June 10-13, it might be expected that the women’s team title race that has been so close all season long would have sorted itself out by now.
Not even close.
Nine teams are firmly in contention for the NCAA team trophy in the penultimate edition of the National Team Computer Rankings unveiled Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) – and the top seven teams are all in a different spot than a week ago, led by Southern California reclaiming the No. 1 rank.
These rankings took into account only entries into this weekend’s NCAA Prelims competition. A final edition will be released Monday, June 1, that only factors in NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships entries (top 12 finishers in each event at the East and the West prelims). The Championships will be broadcast on multiple ESPN broadcast platforms, including primetime slots on ESPN and ESPN2 on June 12 and June 13, respectively.
The percentage difference between No. 1 Southern California (288.78 team ranking points) and No. 2 Arkansas (278.87) is the third-closest margin in rankings history (since 2008) at this juncture in the season, while the percentage difference between Southern Cal and No. 3 Kentucky (256.93) is the fourth-closest.
From that point on, the race for the team title is as close as it has ever been. Each of the next six teams also checked in with team totals within 22 percent of the Women of Troy for a total of eight such teams; no year since 2008 has featured more than three teams that close to No. 1 entering the prelim rounds.
Rounding out that top group of nine teams – all of which checked in with more than 200 points in the team rankings, historically signifying team podium contender status – were: No. 4 Oregon (255.16), No. 5 Georgia (250.59), No. 6 Florida (237.12), No. 7 Texas (232.51), No. 8 LSU (228.16) and defending national champion No. 9 Texas A&M (225.51). Kansas State (163.35) distantly closed out the top 10.
Southern California returned to the No. 1 position in the rankings after a three-week hiatus. The Women of Troy will have a nation-best 19 sprinters/hurdlers in the Prelims rounds and two relays, accounting for all but 8 of their total entries.
No. 3 Jaide Stepter (400H) and No. 5 Dior Hall (100H) headline a group of sprinters/hurdlers that account for nine top-10 national ranks in their respective events – a total that is only surpassed the overall team counts by No. 3 Kentucky and No. 4 Oregon with 10 apiece. Southern Cal has a nation-best 12 total top-10 athletes; none, however, are ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in their respective events.
Right at their heels are the indoor national champion No. 2 Arkansas Razorbacks, displaced from the top spot by Southern Cal. The Razorbacks may have fewer total entries and top-10 ranked athletes than Southern Cal with 26 and nine, but they do have the advantage in top-three ranked athletes at four. That includes two top seeds in pole vaulter Sandi Morris and distance runner Dominique Scott (10,000 meters).
In terms of top-three ranked athletes, Arkansas trails only Florida’s five. The Razorbacks share the second spot on that list with three other teams with four athletes in the top three of their events: No. 4 Oregon, No. 5 Georgia and No. 9 Texas A&M. The Aggies lead the country in No. 1-ranked athletes with three.
There was little movement elsewhere in the rankings, with the most noise coming from No. 17 Michigan, which improved nine spots from a week ago.
Women’s Indoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)
2015 Week #8 — May 25 (pre-prelims)
|next ranking: June 1 (pre-finals)|
|Rank||Institution||Points||Conference||Head Coach (Yr)||Last Week|
|1||Southern California||288.78||Pac-12||Caryl Smith Gilbert (2nd)||2|
|2||Arkansas||278.87||SEC||Lance Harter (25th)||1|
|3||Kentucky||256.93||SEC||Edrick Floreal (3rd)||5|
|4||Oregon||255.16||Pac-12||Robert Johnson (3rd)||3|
|5||Georgia||250.59||SEC||Wayne Norton (16th)||4|
|6||Florida||237.12||SEC||Mike Holloway (8th)||7|
|7||Texas||232.51||Big 12||Mario Sategna (2nd)||6|
|8||LSU||228.16||SEC||Dennis Shaver (11th)||8|
|9||Texas A&M||225.51||SEC||Pat Henry (11th)||9|
|10||Kansas State||163.35||Big 12||Cliff Rovelto (23rd)||10|
|11||Texas Tech||135.84||Big 12||Wes Kittley (16th)||11|
|12||Baylor||124.71||Big 12||Todd Harbour (10th)||12|
|13||Michigan State||115.82||Big Ten||Walt Drenth (9th)||13|
|14||Stanford||111.79||Pac-12||Chris Miltenberg (3rd)||14|
|15||Mississippi State||110.96||SEC||Steve Dudley (5th)||15|
|16||Notre Dame||104.33||ACC||Alan Turner (1st)||16|
|17||Michigan||98.96||Big Ten||James Henry (30th)||26|
|18||Clemson||98.92||ACC||Mark Elliott (2nd)||17|
|19||Alabama||98.69||SEC||Dan Waters (4th)||19|
|20||Florida State||97.37||ACC||Bob Braman (12th)||20|
|21||Virginia Tech||87.75||ACC||Dave Cianelli (14th)||18|
|22||North Carolina||85.04||ACC||Harlis Meaders (3rd)||24|
|23||Iona||80.33||Metro Atlantic||Ricardo Santos (7th)||23|
|24||Oklahoma State||78.12||Big 12||Dave Smith (6th)||21|
|25||Kansas||77.46||Big 12||Stanley Redwine (15th)||25|
|dropped out: No. 22 Oklahoma|
|View All Teams Beyond the Top 25|
|Women’s Conference Index Top 10|
|Rank||Conference||Points||Top 25 Teams|
|Women’s Regional Index Leaders (FINAL)|
|Great Lakes||Michigan State||729.85||1|
|View All Regional Rankings|