Florida Men Top Preseason Indoor Track & Field National Rankings
NEW ORLEANS – Will the New Year bring with it a new NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field men’s team champion?
That question will ultimately be answered in just over two months at NCAAs in Birmingham, Alabama, but in the meantime the preseason edition of the National Team Computer Rankings suggests that Oregon’s two-year party might be at an end.
Florida checked in at No. 1 for the second year in a row and third time in the past four years behind a well-rounded and deep corps of returners from last indoor season, followed by Texas at a program-best No. 2 and two-time reigning champ Oregon at No. 3.
No. 4 Virginia Tech and No. 5 Alabama both achieved all-time high water marks for their respective programs to round out the top five.
Scores were determined by the USTFCCCA computers using preseason event rankings that include the top marks of the recent NCAA indoor track & field seasons by returning student-athletes and the top marks of the young 2016 campaign. Marks from the outdoor season are not included, nor are marks from incoming freshmen.
The closer an athlete is to the top of his or her event rankings, the more points he or she earns toward the team total. Points from all applicable athletes are added up to determine team scores.
The point system used in the rankings is not the same as the scoring system used for the NCAA Championships.
A full breakdown of the national rankings methodology can be found here.
Change – and more importantly, how teams respond to it – is the big theme of the 2016 preseason.
Florida may enter the season at No. 1, but they still have to replace the point production of 2015 Bowerman Trophy-winning jumper Marquis Dendy and thrower Stipe Zunic. The two combined for three titles and 30 of the runner-up Gators’ 50 points. All told, they graduated 34 points from a year ago, including former NCAA 200-meter champ Dedric Dukes.
If quarter-miler Arman Hall can regain his phenomenal 2014 form and pair with 2015 400-meter standout Najee Glass and Nick Uruburu, the Gators are set to score big points in the indoor two-lapper and the 4×400 relay. Combine them with the 800-meter duo of Andres Arroyo and Ryan Schnulle, and the continued emergence of the next “Jumps U” standout in KeAndre Bates, and the Gators look strong in 2016.
Florida could not win the title last year as preseason favorites, but were able to accomplish that feat in both 2011 and 2012 as part of a Gator three-peat.
Texas was sixth a year ago, but with the men responsible for all 25 of their points returning alongside some key additions, the Longhorns could also be poised for a title run. Third is the best the program has ever finished, coming in back-to-back 2007 and 2008 seasons.
Former shot put champ Ryan Crouser is back for one final indoor season after a title-less 2015 campaign, while Senoj-Jay Givans, Texas A&M transfer Aldrich Bailey, Jr., and Zack Bilderback will be among those trying to fill the voids left in the national sprints scene by Andre De Grasse, Trayvon Bromell, Deon Lendore, Bralon Taplin and Vernon Norwood.
Both Florida and Texas checked in with nine athletes/relays ranked top-10 in their respective events, but Florida has the early edge with six top-three performers to the Longhorns’ three. Oregon, Virginia Tech, Alabama and Washington came in with six top-10 performers each. See the full breakdown here.
No. 3 isn’t an unfamiliar position for two-time defending national champion Oregon, as the Ducks were ranked no higher than third throughout the 2014 season before winning a second straight national title.
While multi-time NCAA champion Edward Cheserek remains the cornerstone of the Oregon flock and a threat to score 20 points no matter the event combination, the formation alongside him will look much different in 2016. Those responsible for 41 of Oregon’s winning 74 points have moved on, including two-time NCAA champ Eric Jenkins and a formidable distance crew of Will Geoghegan, Johnny Gregorek, Parker Stinson, Daniel Winn and Colby Alexander.
Since the rankings only take into account marks during the indoor season, the Ducks may have some room for upward mobility if superstar hurdler Devon Allen returns after sitting out a full season with injury and underclassmen Marcus Chambers (400) and (mid-distance) continue the growth they showed with top-three finishes at NCAA Outdoors in 2015.
Before finishing 28th at the NCAA Championships, Virginia Tech spent half of last season ranked top-10 in the nation. The computers project that trend to continue in 2016 with the Hokies checking in at an all-time best No. 4. Distance runner Thomas Curtin will play a big role in the success of Va Tech, as will miler Patrick Joseph, triple jumper Manuel Ziegler and thrower Tomas Kruzliak.
The Hokies finished a program-best eighth at NCAAs in 2012.
Ten years before that, No. 5 Alabama notched its all-time best showing with a runner-up finish in 2002. Led by a trio of jumps contenders in Justin Fondren, Jeremiah Green and Cameron Hudson – who is also a dual-threat in the sprints – 800-meter standout Alex Amankwah, and strong relays, the Crimson Tide scored their first top-10 rank in program history, though they did finish sixth at the 2014 NCAA Championships.
Combined event prowess propelled Georgia to No. 6, followed by the sprints-heavy No. 7 TCU and the distance/pole vault corps at No. 8 Washington.
No. 9 Texas A&M – down to its lowest rank since a No. 12 showing in the 2012 preseason – and No. 10 Nebraska rounded out the top 10.
Arkansas, the 2013 National Champion, checked in at No. 11.
The next set of rankings will be released Monday, January 25th.
Men’s Indoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)
2016 Preseason — January 6
|next ranking: MONDAY, January 25|
|Rank||Institution||Points||Conference||Head Coach (Yr)||2015 FINAL|
|1||Florida||141.21||SEC||Mike Holloway (14th)||2|
|2||Texas||125.39||Big 12||Mario Sategna (3rd)||6|
|3||Oregon||98.93||MPSF||Robert Johnson (4th)||1|
|4||Virginia Tech||96.00||ACC||Dave Cianelli (15th)||28|
|5||Alabama||78.77||SEC||Dan Waters (5th)||38|
|6||Georgia||74.23||SEC||Petros Kyprianou (1st)||15|
|7||TCU||71.28||Big 12||Darryl Anderson (12th)||7|
|8||Washington||71.27||MPSF||Greg Metcalf (14th)||38|
|9||Texas A&M||70.07||SEC||Pat Henry (12th)||4|
|10||Arkansas||69.75||SEC||Chris Bucknam (8th)||3|
|11||Nebraska||69.17||Big Ten||Gary Pepin (33rd)||13|
|12||Colorado||66.50||MPSF||Mark Wetmore (21st)||28|
|13||Stanford||62.85||MPSF||Chris Miltenberg (4th)||NR|
|14||LSU||58.75||SEC||Dennis Shaver (12th)||7|
|15||Tennessee||57.68||SEC||Beth Alford-Sullivan (2nd)||17|
|16||Oklahoma State||57.27||Big 12||Dave Smith (8th)||13|
|17||Texas Tech||54.16||Big 12||Wes Kittley (17th)||5|
|18||Virginia||46.12||ACC||Bryan Fetzer (5th)||23|
|19||South Carolina||45.48||SEC||Curtis Frye (20th)||NR|
|20||Kansas State||43.19||Big 12||Cliff Rovelto (24th)||NR|
|21||Penn State||38.72||Big Ten||John Gondak (2nd)||12|
|22||Georgetown||38.07||Big East||Michael Smith (1st)||22|
|23||Tulsa||36.78||American||Steve Gulley (14th)||18|
|24||Purdue||36.47||Big Ten||Rolando Greene (4th)||31|
|25||Houston||32.34||American||Leroy Burrell (18th)||NR|
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|Rank||Conference||Points||Top 25 Teams|
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