Two Teams Tied Atop Final Men’s NCAA DII National Coaches’ Poll

By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA

November 11, 2015   

NEW ORLEANS – For the first time in the history of the USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll archives across all three NCAA divisions, two teams will enter the national championships as co-favorites.

The three-time defending NCAA DII national champion Adams State men and 2013/2014 national runner-up Grand Valley State split the eight first-place votes right down the middle in the final 2015 edition of the National Coaches’ Poll ahead of the November 21 NCAA Division II Championships in Joplin, Missouri.

The poll was released Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

National PDFs: Top 25 Summary | Week-by-Week 2015 | Week-by-Week All-Time 

Women’s National Coaches’ Poll:
Recap

Division II XC Polls/Rankings Central

NCAA Division II National Coaches’ Poll Top 5 – Men

t1)Grand Valley State t1)Adams State 3)Augustana (S.D.) 4)Colorado Mines 5)Chico State
GVSU Adams State Alaska Anchorage Colorado Mines Chico State
View Complete Men’s National Coaches’ Poll

Both South Central Region champion Adams State and Midwest champion GVSU earned four first-place votes and four second-place votes. Adams State rose two spots from the previous edition of the poll, while GVSU held steady at No. 1.

West champion Alaska Anchorage moved from No. 5 to No. 3 with an upset over favored Chico State. The Wildcats subsequently dropped from No. 3 to No. 5. Colorado Mines remained at No. 4.

The tie at the top is very reminiscent of the final poll of the 2014 season that pegged GVSU with four first-place votes as the narrow favorite over ASU with three. The actual championship race wouldn’t be nearly that close as ASU put three runners in the top five to score a decisive win over the Lakers, 69-127.

But that’s where the similarities to last year end. All three of those Grizzly studs have moved on – including two-time defending national champion Tabor Stevens – and a new generation of ASU runners led by Jackson Sayler is looking to start its own legacy. They showed that potential in a rout of No. 4 Colorado Mines at the South Central Region championships, 55-104, running without Sayler.

Meanwhile, GVSU returns as many as four All-Americans from a year ago in addition to the emergence of redshirt frosh Zach Panning as a front-running threat. The Lakers torched the Midwest this past weekend in a controlled 43-122 victory over No. 6 Southern Indiana.

If their West Region performance is any indication, the No. 3 Seawolves of Alaska Anchorage will have something to say about breaking up the tie. UAA is strong up front with Henry Cheseto and Dominik Notz sweeping the top-two individual spots out West.

In a second top-10 tie, both Central champ Augustana (S.D.) and Southern Indiana moved up to No. 6. The pair had been tied at No. 7 in the previous poll.

Cal Poly Pomona, which finished a close third to Chico in the West, dropped two spots to No. 8, Western State remained steady at No. 9 and Atlantic Champ Shippensburg replaced Atlantic runner-up Lock Haven at No. 10. LHU slipped only one spot to No. 11.

While Shippensburg over Lock Haven in the Atlantic was technically an upset, Regionals weekend provided numerous other performances that fit the description more dramatically.

No. 13 East Central (Okla.) went from outside the top-25 to a share of No. 13 with a runner-up Central finish, while Metro State finished fourth in the South Central to also go from unranked to No. 13.

East Central, with its highest rank since the end of the 2011 season, was one of three teams to return to the top-25 after previous appearances this season, joining No. 22 Black Hills State and No. 23 Edinboro.

Metro State was one of four teams completely new to the polls this 2015 season. The Roadrunners were joined by No. 24 Bentley and another tie at No. 25 between Walsh and MSU Moorhead.

Bentley appeared in the poll for the first time since the 2012 season, while Walsh and MSU Moorhead broke through for their programs’ first-ever top-25 ranks.

Making the biggest move of any team already ranked inside the top-25 was No. 15 Simon Fraser, up six spots after a fourth-place finish in the West.

Teams ranked in the previous top-25 that didn’t survive the regional weekend were Cal Baptist, SF State, Colorado Mesa, Pittsburg State and UC-Colorado Springs.

The NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships will be held November 21 in Joplin, Missouri.

 

USTFCCCA NCAA Division II

Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll

2015 Week #7 — November 11 (pre-NCAA Championships)

next release: none, NCAA Championships, November 21 (Joplin, Mo.)
Rank Institution (FPV) Points Region Conference Head Coach (Yr*)
Last
Week
1 Adams State (4) 196 South Central RMAC Damon Martin (21st)
3
1 Grand Valley State (4) 196 Midwest GLIAC Jerry Baltes (17th)
1
3 Alaska Anchorage 182 West GNAC Michael Friess (26th)
5
4 Colorado Mines 176 South Central RMAC Chris Siemers (4th)
4
5 Chico State 168 West CCAA Gary Towne (20th)
2
6 Southern Indiana 148 Midwest GLVC Mike Hillyard (18th)
7
6 Augustana (S.D.) 148 Central NSIC Tracy Hellman (15th)
7
8 Cal Poly Pomona 146 West CCAA Octavious Gillespie-Bennett (4th)
6
9 Western State 142 South Central RMAC Jennifer Michel (9th)
9
10 Shippensburg 129 Atlantic PSAC Steve Spence (18th)
11
11 Lock Haven 117 Atlantic PSAC Aaron Russell (18th)
10
12 UW-Parkside 115 Midwest GLVC Micah VanDenend (6th)
13
13 East Central (Okla.) 97 Central Great American Steve Sawyer (7th)
RV
13 Metro State 97 South Central RMAC Nick Maas (3rd)
NR
15 Neb.-Kearney 74 Central MIAA Brady Bonsall (9th)
14
15 Simon Fraser 74 West GNAC Brit Townsend (16th)
21
17 Mount Olive 68 Southeast Conf. Carolinas Matt Van Lierop (7th)
16
18 West Texas A&M 66 South Central Lone Star Darren Flowers (7th)
12
19 American International 58 East Northeast-10 Leo Mayo (10th)
19
20 Malone 45 Midwest GLIAC Jack Hazen (49th)
23
21 Southwest Baptist 44 Central MIAA Corey McElhaney (8th)
18
22 Black Hills State 42 South Central RMAC Scott Walkinshaw (18th)
RV
23 Edinboro 16 Atlantic PSAC Rick Hammer (3rd)
NR
24 Bentley 11 East Northeast-10 Kevin Curtin (5th)
NR
25 Walsh 9 Midwest GLIAC Rob Miziclo (4th)
NR
25 MSU Moorhead 9 Central NSIC Ryan Milner (5th)
NR
Also Receiving Votes: Stonehill 6, Saint Leo 6, SF State 6, Colorado Mesa 4, Western Washington 3, Mars Hill 1, Bellarmine 1
Dropped Out: No. 14 Cal Baptist, No. 17 SF State, No. 20 Colorado Mesa, No. 22 Pittsburg State, No. 24 Stonehill, No. 25 UC-Colorado Springs
(* year as head coach of that team in men’s cross country, officially NCAA-recognized coach listed)