Defending Champion New Mexico Headlines NCAA DI Women’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Defending Champion New Mexico Headlines NCAA DI Women’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll

NEW ORLEANS — Last year after his team rolled to a national title in one of the most dominant performances in history, New Mexico coach Joe Franklin cautioned anybody from using the word, “dynasty.” Franklin said teams must win multiple championships in a row for that to be the case and that each year — with more and more talent coming into the NCAA system — it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ascend the mountain again.

NCAA Division I National Coaches Poll Top 5 – Women

1)New Mexico) 2)Colorado 3)Stanford) 4)Stanford) 5)Stanford)
New Mexico Colorado Providence Oregon NC State
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Well, Franklin’s colleagues think he built something special in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

For the first time since 2010, the previous season’s national champion is No. 1 in the NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country Preseason National Coaches’ Poll. The Lady Lobos earned nine of the 12 available first-place votes in the poll, which was released Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

National PDFs: Summary | Week-by-Week 2016 | Week-by-Week All Time
Regional Rankings: Preseason Summary | Preseason Recap

MEN’S PRESEASON NATIONAL POLL

Villanova was the last team to win a national title and be ranked No. 1. That came six years ago. Guess what the Wildcats ended up doing that season: They repeated as national champions.

Year
National Champion
Next Preseason
2015
New Mexico
1st
2014
Michigan State
3rd
2013
Providence
18th
2012
Oregon
3rd
2011
Georgetown
3rd
2010
Villanova
5th
2009
Villanova
1st
2008
Washington
1st

 

New Mexico has its work cut out for itself if it wishes to join Villanova and four other teams among the ranks of back-to-back champs (BYU, Stanford, Virginia Wisconsin). The Lady Lobos only return three runners from last year’s team at NCAAs, but it’s a big three — Alice Wright (fifth overall), Rhona Auckland (13th overall) and Calli Thackery (15th overall).

The biggest threat to New Mexico’s second title in as many years, at least according to the voting coaches, is Colorado. The second-ranked Buffaloes nabbed one first-place vote and welcome back two key cogs to their runner-up NCAA from a year ago — Erin Clark (11th overall in 2015) and Kaitlyn Benner (16th overall).

A team that could be this year’s “trendy” pick to be national champion isn’t too far removed from its last national title: Providence. The Friars received two first-place votes from the coaches and return six of the seven runners they brought with them to Kentucky last year. Providence won its most recent national title in 2013.

Coming in at fourth in the poll is Oregon. The Ducks haven’t won a title in three years, so they’re hankering to get back on top. Oregon struggled to find depth at NCAAs last year as its top three runners finished 18-19-21, while 77-79 rounded out its scoring lineup. Alli Cash is the Ducks’ top returning runner (31st overall in 2015).

Rounding out the top-5 is North Carolina State, one of the youngest teams on the block from last year. The Wolf Pack finished fifth at NCAAs last year and welcome back the quartet of Erika Kemp (57th overall last year), Rachel Koon (59th), Megan Moye (94th) and Ryen Frazier (108th). Ryen Frazier’s sister, Wesley Frazier, comes off redshirt for NC State. This ties for the best preseason rank for the Wolf Pack since 2004.

The other usual suspects from the 2015 season filled the top-10: No. 6 Boise State, No. 7 Stanford, No. 8 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Michigan and No. 10 Michigan State.

Key runners from each of those teams return, namely Allie Ostrander and Brenna Peloquin for the Broncos, Elise Cranny and Vanessa Fraser for the Cardinal, Ingeborg Loevnes and Natalie Baker for the Cowgirls, who surprised with a seventh-place team finish last year, Erin Finn for the Wolverines, and finally, Rachele Schulist and Alexis Weirsma for the 2014 national champion Spartans.

Other notable members of the top-30 include No. 11 Washington, No. 14 Notre Dame (without 2015 individual champion Molly Seidel), No. 16 Virginia and three Ivy League programs in order, No. 23 Princeton, No. 24 Penn and No. 25 Harvard.

As far as conferences go, four different ones had four ranked teams: ACC, Big Ten, Ivy and Pac-12.

We’ll see many of these teams in action against each other throughout the regular season, but most importantly at the 2016 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on November 19 in Terre Haute, Indiana.

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I

Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll

2016 Preseason — August 30

next poll: September 13
Rank Institution (FPV) Points Region (CR) Conference Cross Country Coach (Yr*)
2015 FINAL
1 New Mexico (9) 354 Mountain (1) Mountain West Joe Franklin (10th)
1
2 Colorado (1) 344 Mountain (2) Pac-12 Mark Wetmore (22nd)
2
3 Providence (2) 327 Northeast (1) Big East Ray Treacy (33rd)
4
4 Oregon 314 West (1) Pac-12 Robert Johnson (5th)
3
5 NC State 298 Southeast (1) ACC Laurie Henes (11th)
5
6 Boise State 290 West (2) Mountain West Corey Ihmels (4th)
11
7 Stanford 276 West (3) Pac-12 Elizabeth DeBole (1st)
14
8 Oklahoma State 265 Midwest (1) Big 12 Dave Smith (8th)
7
9 Michigan 261 Great Lakes (2) Big Ten Mike McGuire (25th)
6
10 Michigan State 248 Great Lakes (1) Big Ten Walt Drenth (13th)
13
11 Washington 225 West (4) Pac-12 Greg Metcalf (15th)
10
11 Arkansas 225 South Central (1) SEC Lance Harter (27th)
9
13 Penn State 206 Mid-Atlantic (1) Big Ten John Gondak (3rd)
16
14 Notre Dame 181 Great Lakes (3) ACC Matt Sparks (3rd)
8
15 Syracuse 164 Northeast (2) ACC Chris Fox (12th)
12
16 Virginia 161 Southeast (2) ACC Todd Morgan (5th)
15
17 Iowa State 159 Midwest (3) Big 12 Andrea Grove-McDonough (4th)
24
18 Mississippi State 151 South (1) SEC Houston Franks (8th)
17
19 Georgetown 149 Mid-Atlantic (2) Big East TBA
20
20 San Francisco 144 West (5) West Coast Helen Lehman-Winters (14th)
28
21 Kansas 92 Midwest (2) Big 12 Stanley Redwine (17th)
27
22 Weber State 73 Mountain (3) Big Sky Paul Pilkington (10th)
22
23 Princeton 71 Mid-Atlantic (4) Ivy Brad Hunt (1st)
21
24 Penn 69 Mid-Atlantic (3) Ivy Steve Dolan (5th)
NR
25 Harvard 66 Northeast (4) Ivy Jason Saretsky (11th)
NR
26 Minnesota 58 Midwest (4) Big Ten Sarah Hopkins (4th)
18
27 BYU 55 Mountain (4) West Coast Ed Eyestone (1st)
23
28 Vanderbilt 54 South (2) SEC Steve Keith (11th)
19
29 Yale 48 Northeast (3) Ivy Amy Gosztyla (6th)
NR
30 William and Mary 47 Southeast (3) Colonial Natalie Hall (3rd)
NR
Others Receiving Votes: Wisconsin 39, Texas 31, Portland 30, California 29, Villanova 25, Utah 14, Columbia 11, West Virginia 9, Brown 6, Auburn 5, Gonzaga 3, Mississippi 1, Rice 1, Baylor 1
Win-loss record reflective of results in varsity competition versus DI opponents starting September 9; records in () are results against ranked teams.
(* year as effective coach of that team in women’s cross country), CR – Coaches’ Regional Ranking