Iowa State Tops DI Women’s Cross Country Preseason Poll

By Tyler Mayforth, USTFCCCA

September 1, 2015   

 

NEW ORLEANS — Move over Michigan State: There’s a new team to beat in NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country, at least according to the first national rankings released Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (UTSFCCCA).

National PDFs: Preseason Top 30 Summary | Week-by-Week 2015 | Week-by-Week All Time
Regional Rankings: Preseason Summary | Preseason Recap

MEN’S PRESEASON NATIONAL POLL

NCAA Division I National Coaches Poll Top 5 – Men

1)Colorado 2)Syracuse) 3)Michigan State 4)Colorado 5)Georgetown
Iowa State New Mexico Michigan State Colorado Georgetown
View Complete Women’s National Coaches Poll

Iowa State, a team that finished runner-up to the Spartans last November in Terra Haute, Indiana, nabbed their first No. 1 ranking in program history. This is the highest the Cyclones have been ranked in the preseason poll since they were fifth in 2012.

Even though New Mexico earned the most first-place votes of any team (eight of 12), the Lady Lobos are second. Some voters felt that while New Mexico has a talented roster on paper, they want to see what the Lady Lobos can do on the course before giving them top billing. New Mexico impressed the pundits last year at nationals, finishing third behind Michigan State and Iowa State.

Speaking of the Spartans — who are third in the ballot — they join a long line of reigning champions to be knocked off their perch in the preseason poll. No defending champion has been ranked No. 1 in the first poll of the season since Villanova in 2010.

Year
National Champion
Next Preseason
2014
Michigan State
3rd
2013
Providence
18th
2012
Oregon
3rd
2011
Georgetown
3rd
2010
Villanova
5th
2009
Villanova
1st
2008
Washington
1st

 

Seeing Michigan State fall might have been surprising to some, as Walt Drenth’s team returns four of its seven runners from last year’s national meet including the All-American one-two punch of Rachele Schulist and Lindsay Clark. The Cyclones and Lady Lobos aren’t slouches either as they both welcome back multiple veteran runners. Iowa State has five of seven back, including two-time All-American selection Crystal Nelson. New Mexico added former UMKC All-American Courtney Frerichs to its roster in the offseason and she’ll join All-American Alice Wright, Calli Thackery and Heleene Tambet, who finished in the top 100 at nationals in only her second meet of the season.

Voters saw Colorado’s potential and tabbed them fourth. The Buffaloes only lost one of their seven runners at NCAAs to graduation, signed two 5-star recruits (Dani Jones and Brianna Schwartz) and brought in a transfer from Georgia. This is Colorado’s sixth time in the preseason top-5, but their first appearance since 2011.

Georgetown, coming off a fourth-place finish at last year’s national meet, is fifth. Three of the Hoyas’ five returners finished in the top-50 at NCAAs, while they also add a 5-star recruit of their own (Audrey Belf). Georgetown has appeared this high in the preseason poll in five of the past six years, including a No. 1 ranking in 2011.

Rounding out the preseason top-10 are Oregon (sixth), Stanford (seventh), Providence (eighth), Arkansas (ninth) and West Virginia (10th).

The Cardinal, who jumped ahead of the Ducks for the top spot in the West Region, are a trendy pick to make noise come November. Stanford pairs 2014 freshman sensation Elise Cranny with two-time All-American Aisling Cuffe, who redshirted last year.

The Friars have one of the deepest teams in the nation, returning all seven runners from NCAAs last year and bringing back two-time All-American Sarah Collins (2014 redshirt).

If the Razorbacks and Mountaineers want to finish in the top 10 again at nationals, they’ll need some unsung heroes to step up. Arkansas is led by South African standout Dominique Scott, but the rest of the team including Oregon transfer Nikki Hiltz and 5-star recruit Devin Clark must rise to the occasion. West Virginia might be without All-American Jillian Forsey for a spell and if so, a few of the other five returners need to consistently move up in the pack.

Some teams on the upward climb are 2014 Preseason No. 1 Michigan (18th to 12th), Washington (23rd to 15th), Syracuse (24th to 17th) and Notre Dame (29th to 21st). There were five unranked teams in last year’s final poll that ended up in the top 30 this year — Penn State (23rd), Villanova (24th), BYU (26th), Princeton (29th) and Oklahoma State (30th).

No conference had more teams grace the preseason poll than the ACC (six). Coming close to matching the ACC were the Big 10 (five) and Big 12 (four).

All of these teams will be fighting for the national championship on Nov. 21 in Louisville, Kentucky on the course inside E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I

Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll

2015 Preseason — September 1

next poll: September 15
Rank Institution (FPV) Points Region Conference Cross Country Coach (Yr*)
2014 FINAL
1 Iowa State (2) 335 Midwest Big 12 Andrea Grove-McDonough (3rd)
2
2 New Mexico (8) 327 Mountain Mountain West Joe Franklin (9th)
3
3 Michigan State (2) 316 Great Lakes Big Ten Walt Drenth (12th)
1
4 Colorado 306 Mountain Pac-12 Mark Wetmore (21st)
7
5 Georgetown 304 Mid-Atlantic Big East Michael Smith (4th)
4
6 Oregon 296 West Pac-12 Robert Johnson (4th)
6
7 Stanford 295 West Pac-12 Chris Miltenberg (4th)
14
8 Providence 283 Northeast Big East Ray Treacy (32nd)
13
9 Arkansas 263 South Central SEC Lance Harter (26th)
5
10 West Virginia 256 Mid-Atlantic Big 12 Sean Cleary (9th)
8
11 Wisconsin 238 Great Lakes Big Ten Mick Byrne (2nd)
10
12 Michigan 228 Great Lakes Big Ten Mike McGuire (24th)
18
13 Iona 194 Northeast Metro Atlantic Ricardo Santos (8th)
9
14 William and Mary 191 Southeast Colonial Natalie Hall (2nd)
17
15 Washington 179 West Pac-12 Greg Metcalf (14th)
23
16 Virginia 160 Southeast ACC Todd Morgan (4th)
15
17 Syracuse 142 Northeast ACC Chris Fox (11th)
24
18 NC State 140 Southeast ACC Laurie Henes (10th)
16
19 North Carolina 121 Southeast ACC Mark VanAlstyne (4th)
22
20 Boise State 106 West Mountain West Corey Ihmels (3rd)
11
21 Notre Dame 96 Great Lakes ACC Matt Sparks (2nd)
29
22 Vanderbilt 74 South SEC Steve Keith (10th)
28
23 Penn State 73 Mid-Atlantic Big Ten John Gondak (2nd)
NR
24 Villanova 72 Mid-Atlantic Big East Gina Procaccio (16th)
NR
25 Florida State 58 South ACC Kelly Phillips (1st)
12
26 BYU 57 Mountain West Coast Patrick Shane (34th)
NR
27 Minnesota 55 Midwest Big Ten Sarah Hopkins (3rd)
31
28 Baylor 51 South Central Big 12 Todd Harbour (16th)
19
29 Princeton 49 Mid-Atlantic Ivy Pete Farrell (38th)
NR
30 Oklahoma State 46 Midwest Big 12 Dave Smith (7th)
NR
Others Receiving Votes: California 43, Dartmouth 42, New Hampshire 36, Mississippi State 34, Northern Arizona 34, Texas 33, SMU 14, Boston College 10, Alabama 9, Arizona State 5, Furman 5, Columbia 2, Indiana 1
(* year as effective coach of that team in women’s cross country)