New Mexico Takes Over No. 1 in NCAA DI Women’s National Poll
NEW ORLEANS – For the first time in its program history, the New Mexico women are the No. 1 team in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA Division I National Coaches’ Poll unveiled Tuesday afternoon.
The Lobos once again earned eight of 12 first-place votes as they did in the preseason, but their exceptional collection of talent on paper – after all, the quartet of returners Alice Wright and Calli Thackery and newcomers Courtney Frerichs and Rhona Auckland have yet to race a single step in 2015 – was convincing enough for UNM to overtake preseason favorite Iowa State.
Iowa State, which also hasn’t debuted its top runners, dropped to No. 2, but gained a first-place nod for three total.
The final first-place vote remained with defending national champion Michigan State, which slid a spot to No. 4 behind new No. 3 Colorado – both of whom have also not run their top athletes yet.
That’s a fair amount of shuffling for group of four teams that have yet to kick off in earnest their 2015 campaigns. While it will all ultimately be settled at NCAAs in Louisville on November 21, they’ll see each other before then.
New Mexico, Iowa State and Michigan State will all be at the Wisconsin adidas Invite on October 16. ISU and MSU will also see each other later this month at the Griak Invitational on September 26.
Georgetown held steady at No. 5. They’ll see No. 3 Colorado at Pre-Nationals on October 15.
Elsewhere in the top 10, Stanford moved up one spot to No. 6, trading spots with Pac-12 rival Oregon.
The Cardinal got a promising debut from 2013 fourth-place finisher and all-time great collegiate 5000-meter runner Aisling Cuffe, who competed in a Stanford jersey at Fresno State this past weekend for the first time since the 2014 track season.
Oregon, meanwhile, handily won its home Bill Dellinger Invitational behind the duo of Alli Cash and Waverly Neer.
No. 8 Providence remained in place and has gotten two solid performances from its deep group of returners, including Sarah Collins – the two-time All-American who redshirted the 2014-15 season. No. 9 Arkansas has yet to debut its full “A” squad, and remained in place at No. 9.
Joining the top 10 was Wisconsin, moving up a spot from a week ago. The Badgers have yet to debut returning NCAA runner-up Sarah Disanza (though she told us earlier last month that she’s in great fitness) or Emma-Lisa Murphy.
There was a lot of movement up top in the poll, which was a trend replicated in the latter two-thirds of the top-30. News on Monday that defending NCAA Champion Kate Avery and All-American miler Rosie Clarke are not returning to former No. 13 Iona sent ripples throughout the final 20 teams in the poll as all but four moved at least one position.
No team moved up farther than Penn State, which jumped up five to No. 18. The Nittany Lions followed National Athlete of the Week Tori Gerlach to a win at their home Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invite over a largely in-tact No. 17 Syracuse squad and the “B” squad for No. 11 West Virginia. It’s the highest rank for PSU since a No. 13 mark in week three of the 2013 season.
New to the top-30 this week were No. 25 Dartmouth, No. 27 Texas and No. 30 California. This is Texas’ first top-30 appearance since 2013, and the first for Cal since 2011.
And for Iona? The Gaels still received the second-most votes of any team outside the top 30.
More vote-receiving teams to watch for:
- New Hampshire came five votes shy of its first-ever top-30 rank.
- Mississippi State received votes for the second week in a row – and for the second time in program history
- Lipscomb received national votes for the first time in program history.
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.
Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll
2015 Week #1 — September 15
|next poll: September 22|
|Rank||Institution (FPV)||Points||Region||Conference||Cross Country Coach (Yr*)||
|1||New Mexico (8)||354||Mountain||Mountain West||Joe Franklin (9th)||
|2||Iowa State (3)||331||Midwest||Big 12||Andrea Grove-McDonough (3rd)||
|3||Colorado||326||Mountain||Pac-12||Mark Wetmore (21st)||
|4||Michigan State (1)||314||Great Lakes||Big Ten||Walt Drenth (12th)||
|5||Georgetown||312||Mid-Atlantic||Big East||Michael Smith (4th)||
|6||Stanford||302||West||Pac-12||Chris Miltenberg (4th)||
|7||Oregon||297||West||Pac-12||Robert Johnson (4th)||
|8||Providence||286||Northeast||Big East||Ray Treacy (32nd)||
|9||Arkansas||264||South Central||SEC||Lance Harter (26th)||
|10||Wisconsin||247||Great Lakes||Big Ten||Mick Byrne (2nd)||
|11||West Virginia||230||Mid-Atlantic||Big 12||Sean Cleary (9th)||
|12||Michigan||225||Great Lakes||Big Ten||Mike McGuire (24th)||
|13||William and Mary||209||Southeast||Colonial||Natalie Hall (2nd)||
|14||Washington||197||West||Pac-12||Greg Metcalf (14th)||
|15||Virginia||176||Southeast||ACC||Todd Morgan (4th)||
|16||NC State||154||Southeast||ACC||Laurie Henes (10th)||
|17||Syracuse||150||Northeast||ACC||Chris Fox (11th)||
|18||Penn State||146||Mid-Atlantic||Big Ten||John Gondak (2nd)||
|19||Boise State||137||West||Mountain West||Corey Ihmels (3rd)||
|20||Notre Dame||136||Great Lakes||ACC||Matt Sparks (2nd)||
|21||North Carolina||134||Southeast||ACC||Mark VanAlstyne (4th)||
|22||Vanderbilt||114||South||SEC||Steve Keith (10th)||
|23||Villanova||77||Mid-Atlantic||Big East||Gina Procaccio (16th)||
|24||BYU||69||Mountain||West Coast||Patrick Shane (34th)||
|25||Dartmouth||62||Northeast||Ivy||Courtney Jaworski (2nd)||
|26||Minnesota||55||Midwest||Big Ten||Sarah Hopkins (3rd)||
|27||Texas||50||South Central||Big 12||Mario Sategna (3rd)||
|28||Oklahoma State||42||Midwest||Big 12||Dave Smith (7th)||
|29||Princeton||39||Mid-Atlantic||Ivy||Pete Farrell (38th)||
|30||California||27||West||Pac-12||Tony Sandoval (34th)||
|Others Receiving Votes: New Hampshire 22, Iona 18, Mississippi State 18, Baylor 14, Florida State 12, Alabama 8, Arizona State 6, SMU 5, Northern Arizona 5, Cornell 4, Lipscomb 3, Eastern Kentucky 2, Columbia 1|
|Dropped Out: No. 13 Iona, No. 25 Florida State, No. 28 Baylor|
|(* year as effective coach of that team in women’s cross country)|