NCAA DI Women’s Preseason Regional Rankings Released

NCAA DI Women’s Preseason Regional Rankings Released

NEW ORLEANS — Welcome back, cross country.

With the season starting up Thursday, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released the Preseason Regional Rankings for each of the nine regions in NCAA Division I.

The Preseason National Coaches’ Polls will be announced in a live video stream Tuesday afternoon on USTFCCCA.org.

QUICK LINKS: Regional Rankings Summary PDF | Rankings Central | Men’s Rankings

Just five regional champions from 2015 topped their respective charts. Otherwise, there were three runner-ups and one third-place team that ascended to the No. 1 ranking.

See below for more information on the rankings, including overviews of each region as well as the full top-15 lists at the bottom of the post.

NCAA Division I Regional Championships will be held around the country on Friday, November 11 with the return of the NCAA Championships to Terre Haute, Indiana, eight days later.

USTFCCCA Regional Cross Country Rankings are determined subjectively by a single member coach in each respective region. The regional representative is tasked with weighing returning teams strength with current season results (if applicable) in determining predicted team finishes at the NCAA Regional Championships.

GREAT LAKES REGION

After a national-championship season in 2014, Michigan State struggled last year and injuries had a lot to do with it. The Spartans rarely fielded their full squad, finished 3rd at Regionals and then limped to a 13th-place finish at NCAAs.

Michigan State is back to full strength in 2016 and the Preseason Great Lake Region Rankings acknowledged that on Monday. The Spartans, who return six of seven runners from NCAAs — and Rachele Schulist — are ranked No. 1 in the preseason for the third time in the past four years.

Reigning regional champ Michigan, led by Erin Finn, sits second, followed by Molly Seidel-less Notre Dame. The Irish do have Anna Rohrer, the sixth-place NCAA finisher.

Rounding out the top-5 are No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 5 Eastern Michigan.

See the full regional rankings below.

MID-ATLANTIC REGION

There wasn’t much turnover at the top of the Preseason Mid-Atlantic Region Rankings as compared to how the teams finished in Princeton, New Jersey last November.

Penn State, the 2015 region champion, remains on top ahead of runner-up Georgetown. The Nittany Lions added three prized recruits and the Hoyas are traditionally strong.

Penn jumped from a sixth-place finish last year in the region to a No. 3 ranking in the preseason thanks to a strong track season.

With the Quakers moving up, it pushed Princeton and Villanova down. The Tigers came in at fourth on the rankings, while the Wildcats rounded out the top-5.

See the full regional rankings below.

MIDWEST REGION

For the first time since the inception of the Regional Rankings, the Oklahoma State women lead the way in the Midwest Region. The Cowgirls are tabbed as the No. 1 team in the Preseason Midwest Region Rankings, ahead of second-ranked Kansas.

Last year Oklahoma State came on strong at the end of the season and finished seventh at NCAAs thanks to the performances of Ingeborg Loevnes and Natalie Baker, both of whom return to Stillwater for their senior years.

The Jayhawks, led by rising sophomore Sharon Lokedi, need to find depth but with Lokedi steering the ship, low points should be available to them all season.

Iowa State finished second last year in Lawrence, Kansas and is ranked third now. Minnesota and Tulsa are the fourth- and fifth-ranked teams at the moment.

See the full regional rankings below.

MOUNTAIN REGION

Last year New Mexico and Colorado finished 1-2 at NCAAs.

One week earlier, the Lobos and Buffaloes switched places at regionals.

As it turns out, a national title weighs heavier than a regional crown — and justifiably so — as New Mexico enters the season as the preseason favorite in the Mountain Region while Colorado, last year’s region champ, begins the 2016 season in the No. 2 slot.

Both the Lobos and Buffaloes return a majority of their seven-woman teams from NCAAs, so there is little reason to doubt they won’t stay atop the rankings for a while.

Settling in behind New Mexico and Colorado are third-ranked Weber State (last year’s fifth-place team), fourth-ranked BYU (fourth in 2015) and fifth-ranked Utah (third in 2015). This is the third time in the past four years that Weber State has been ranked third in the preseason and the highest preseason ranking for the Utes in program history.

See the full regional rankings below.

NORTHEAST REGION

Providence was light years better than everybody else in the Northeast Region last year and with six of seven runners from its fourth-place team at NCAAs returning, chances are that dominance will continue in 2016. According to the Preseason Northeast Region Rankings, the Friars are the No. 1 team entering the new campaign.

Not much changed behind Providence, as Syracuse — last year’s runner-up — sits second. The Orange did lose its top-2 finishers from NCAAs to graduation (Margo Malone and Shaylyn Tuite).

Three Ivy League teams fell in line behind the Friars and Syracuse, and were all up two spots from their regional finish last year: third-ranked Yale, fourth-ranked Harvard (welcoming a deep freshman class) and fifth-ranked Columbia.

See the full regional rankings below.

SOUTH REGION

Middle-of-the-pack finishes at NCAAs last year left Mississippi State and Vanderbilt hopeful for the future of their programs. The Bulldogs were 17th, a mere 19 points from the top-15, and the Commodores were just inside the top-20 at 19th.

Using last year as a barometer, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt are the top-2 teams in the Preseason South Region Rankings. The Bulldogs are the preseason favorite, while the Commodores, led by rising sophomore Caroline Pietrzyk work their way in at No. 2.

Two teams are expected to finish better than their showing at the regional meet last year and that’s Mississippi and Auburn. The third-ranked Rebels were seventh in Tuscaloosa, Alabama last year, while the fourth-ranked Tigers finished fifth.

Rounding out the top-5 is Alabama, last year’s regional host.

See the full regional rankings below.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION

For the fifth consecutive year, Arkansas headlines the Preseason South Central Region Rankings. The Razorbacks started their run in 2012 and it continues into this season.

Arkansas will be without Dominique Scott, its star from the past few seasons and last year’s third-place finisher at NCAAs. The Razorbacks will have Devin Clark for a few more seasons and that’s good news for them, since she finished 48th as a freshman and shattered the American junior record in the steeplechase this past spring.

Texas is the second-ranked team in the South Central Region. The Longhorns finished dead-last at NCAAs last year, but their young team gained valuable experience and a batch of talented recruits join the ranks this fall.

Three other teams from the Lone Star State fell in at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5: Rice, SMU and Baylor, in that order.

See the full regional rankings below.

SOUTHEAST REGION

Last year ACC counterparts NC State and Virginia waged battles across the national landscape, culminating at NCAAs where the former placed fifth and the latter 15th.

Many expect the Wolf Pack and Cavaliers to do the same this year as they return six of their seven runners from their NCAA rosters. With that known, NC State (No. 1) and Virginia (No. 2) are the top-2 teams in the Preseason Southeast Region Rankings.

There was a bit of a shake-up behind that duo as the third- and fifth-place teams from last year’s regional meet aren’t in the top-5. North Carolina and Eastern Kentucky both tumbled 10 and six places, respectively.

Taking the place of the Tar Heels and Colonels are third-ranked William & Mary and fifth-ranked Furman, a team that only raced two athletes at regionals last year. There’s one more spot in the top-5 and that belongs to fourth-ranked Virginia Tech.

See the full regional rankings below.

WEST REGION

Last year the West Region had six teams punch tickets to NCAAs.

Oregon, the regional champ, finished the highest (third) and is ranked No. 1 in the Preseason West Region Rankings. The Ducks return four runners from its NCAA team.

Boise State, led by sophomores Allie Ostrander (NCAA runner-up) and Brenna Peloquin (ninth), finds itself second in the preseason rankings. This is the Broncos’ best ranking in the preseason in program history.

Stanford, which will be buoyed by the return of Elise Cranny and the emergence of Vanessa Fraser, enters the season ranked third in the region.

Following behind the Cardinal are fourth-ranked Washington, the fourth-place finisher at the regional meet last year, and fifth-ranked San Francisco.

See the full regional rankings below.

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I

Women’s Cross Country Regional Team Rankings

2016 Preseason — August 29

national poll release: August 30
next regional release: September 12
RAOR = Record against own region (since September 9, reported to TFRRS)
GREAT LAKES Region
Rank School Overall (RAOR) Conference
2015 FINAL
1 Michigan State Big Ten
3
2 Michigan Big Ten
1
3 Notre Dame ACC
2
4 Wisconsin Big Ten
4
5 Eastern Michigan Mid-American
6
6 Indiana Big Ten
7
7 Ohio State Big Ten
8
8 Purdue Big Ten
5
9 Butler Big East
12
10 Xavier Big East
10
11 Western Michigan Mid-American
11
12 Marquette Big East
17
13 Indiana State Missouri Valley
16
14 Central Michigan Mid-American
13
15 Toledo Mid-American
18
Regional Championship History — Last Five Champions:
2015: Michigan,
2014: Michigan State, 2013: Michigan, 2012: Michigan, 2011: Michigan
       
         
MID-ATLANTIC Region
Rank School Overall (RAOR) Conference
2015 FINAL
1 Penn State Big Ten
1
2 Georgetown Big East
2
3 Penn Ivy
6
4 Princeton Ivy
3
5 Villanova Big East
4
6 Pittsburgh ACC
7
7 West Virginia Big 12
5
8 La Salle Atlantic 10
9
9 Bucknell Patriot
8
10 Navy Patriot
10
11 Duquesne Atlantic 10
12
12 Maryland Big Ten
13
13 Saint Joseph’s Atlantic 10
11
14 Rutgers Big Ten
15
15 Rider Metro Atlantic
14
Regional Championship History — Last Five Champions:
2015: Penn State, 2014: Georgetown, 2013: Villanova, 2012: Penn State, 2011: Georgetown/Villanova,
       
         
MIDWEST Region
Rank School Overall (RAOR) Conference
2015 FINAL
1 Oklahoma State Big 12
1
2 Kansas Big 12
5
3 Iowa State Big 12
2
4 Minnesota Big Ten
3
5 Tulsa American
4
6 Missouri SEC
12
7 Wichita State Missouri Valley
8
8 Illinois Big Ten
10
9 Oklahoma Big 12
7
10 Loyola-Chicago Missouri Valley
9
11 North Dakota State Summit League
13
12 Illinois State Missouri Valley
11
13 South Dakota Summit League
14
14 Bradley Missouri Valley
6
15 South Dakota State Summit League
17
Regional Championship History — Last Five Champions:
2015: Oklahoma State, 2014: Iowa State, 2013: Iowa State, 2012: Iowa State, 2011: Iowa State
       
         
MOUNTAIN Region
Rank School Overall (RAOR) Conference
2015 FINAL
1 New Mexico Mountain West
2
2 Colorado Pac-12
1
3 Weber State Big Sky
5
4 BYU West Coast
4
5 Utah Pac-12
3
6 Colorado State Mountain West
8
7 Northern Arizona Big Sky
6
8 Utah State Mountain West
11
9 Air Force Mountain West
7
10 Montana State Big Sky
12
11 Wyoming Mountain West
10
12 Texas Tech Big 12
16
13 Utah Valley WAC
14
14 Idaho State Big Sky
15
15 Nevada Mountain West
9
Regional Championship History — Last Five Champions:
2015: New Mexico,
2014: Colorado, 2013: Colorado, 2012: Weber State, 2011: New Mexico/Colorado
       
         
NORTHEAST Region
Rank School Overall (RAOR) Conference
2015 FINAL
1 Providence Big East
1
2 Syracuse ACC
2
3 Yale Ivy
5
4 Harvard Ivy
6
5 Columbia Ivy
7
6 Brown Ivy
3
7 Cornell Ivy
9
8 Boston College ACC
4
9 New Hampshire America East
10
10 Dartmouth Ivy
8
11 Stony Brook America East
12
12 Iona Metro Atlantic
13
13 Albany America East
14
14 Buffalo Mid-American
15
15 Connecticut American
11
Regional Championship History — Last Five Champions:
2015: Providence, 2014: Iona, 2013: Providence, 2012: Providence, 2011: Syracuse
       
         
SOUTH Region
Rank School Overall (RAOR) Conference
2015 FINAL
1 Mississippi State SEC
2
2 Vanderbilt SEC
1
3 Mississippi SEC
7
4 Auburn SEC
5
5 Alabama SEC
3
6 Florida State ACC
4
7 Lipscomb Atlantic Sun
8
8 Florida SEC
9
9 Middle Tennessee Conference USA
6
10 Georgia SEC
10
11 South Alabama Sun Belt
11
12 Georgia Tech ACC
17
13 North Florida Atlantic Sun
15
14 Jacksonville Atlantic Sun
20
15 Florida Gulf Coast Atlantic Sun
13
Regional Championship History — Last Five Champions:
2015: Vanderbilt,
2014: Vanderbilt, 2013: Florida State, 2012: Florida State, 2011: Florida State
       
         
SOUTH CENTRAL Region
Rank School Overall (RAOR) Conference
2015 FINAL
1 Arkansas SEC
1
2 Texas Big 12
2
3 Rice Conference USA
5
4 SMU American
3
5 Baylor Big 12
4
6 Texas A&M SEC
7
7 Stephen F. Austin Southland
6
8 Lamar Southland
8
9 UT Arlington Sun Belt
9
10 North Texas Conference USA
13
11 Houston American
12
12 McNeese State Southland
10
13 Tulane American
11
14 Arkansas State Sun Belt
14
15 UTSA Conference USA
15
Regional Championship History — Last Five Champions:
2015: Arkansas, 2014: Arkansas, 2013: Arkansas, 2012: Arkansas, 2011: Arkansas
       
         
SOUTHEAST Region
Rank School Overall (RAOR) Conference
2015 FINAL
1 NC State ACC
2
2 Virginia ACC
1
3 William and Mary Colonial
4
4 Virginia Tech ACC
6
5 Furman Southern
NR
6 Elon Colonial
7
7 Kentucky SEC
11
8 Louisville ACC
8
9 Eastern Kentucky Ohio Valley
5
10 James Madison Colonial
9
11 Clemson ACC
13
12 Duke ACC
10
13 North Carolina ACC
3
14 Coastal Carolina Sun Belt
17
15 Richmond Atlantic 10
15
Regional Championship History — Last Five Champions:
2015: Virginia,
2014: William and Mary, 2013: Virginia, 2012: Duke, 2011: Virginia,
       
         
WEST Region
Rank School Overall (RAOR) Conference
2015 FINAL
1 Oregon Pac-12
1
2 Boise State Mountain West
2
3 Stanford Pac-12
4
4 Washington Pac-12
3
5 San Francisco West Coast
5
6 Portland West Coast
9
7 California Pac-12
7
8 Gonzaga West Coast
6
9 Cal Poly Big West
13
10 Arizona State Pac-12
8
11 UCLA Pac-12
10
12 Washington State Pac-12
11
13 Arizona Pac-12
14
14 UC Davis Big West
15
15 Loyola Marymount West Coast
16
Regional Championship History — Last Five Champions:
2015: Oregon, 2014: Oregon, 2013: Arizona, 2012: Oregon, 2011: Washington