Syracuse Men Earn Preseason NCAA DI Favorite Honors

Syracuse Men Earn Preseason NCAA DI Favorite Honors

NEW ORLEANS – In the 78-year history of the NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country Championships, only 11 schools have ever won back-to-back national titles.

If Tuesday’s National Coaches’ Poll ultimately rings true on November 19 in Terre Haute, Indiana, then Syracuse could be the 12th addition to that list.

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


NCAA Division I National Coaches Poll Top 5 – Men

1)Oregon 2)Syracuse) 3)Syracuse) 4)Syracuse) 5)Colorado
Syracuse Oregon Northern Arizona Stanford Colorado
View Complete Men’s National Coaches Poll

The defending national champion Orangemen (359 points) garnered 11 of the 12 possible first place votes in the poll announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), marking its first-ever claim to preseason favorite status.

No. 2 Oregon (339 pts), No. 3 Northern Arizona (324 pts), No. 4 Stanford (323 pts) and No. 5 Colorado (308 pts) all made the preseason top-five.

Led by top-10 returners Justyn Knight and Colin Bennie, the Orange will look to become the first team since UTEP in 1980 to win a second-straight national title after winning the first by 10 points or fewer. Syracuse topped Colorado by nine points in 2015, 82-91.

Last year’s fourth-place finisher, Oregon, earned the final first-place nod and the No. 2 position in the poll. The Ducks will be led one final time by three-time individual champ Edward Cheserek, who will seek a historic fourth-consecutive win. He would be the first in NCAA DI history to accomplish that feat.

This is Oregon’s highest preseason rank since 2009, when the Ducks started No. 1 and finished as the national runner-up.

Absent from last year’s championships with many of its top athletes donning redshirts, Northern Arizona came through at No. 3. The Lumberjacks had made the top-four national team podium in three straight years from 2012 through 2014, the latter two times led by returning top-four finisher Futsum Zienesallassie.

Rounding out the top-five were last year’s third-place Stanford Cardinal (323 pts) and national runner-up Colorado Buffaloes (308 pts) – who won the two national titles prior to Cuse’s 2015 win – at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively.

Reigning sixth-place finisher Arkansas is nearby with 305 points in the preseason poll to complete what was judged by rankers to be a “first tier” of preseason podium contenders.

The common thread between all six of those teams? They all return (or remove the redshirt from) more than half of their top seven runners from a year ago.

Nearly 40 points back and farther were No. 7 Georgetown (266 pts), No. 8 Washington (251 pts), No. 9 Eastern Kentucky (234 pts) and No. 10 Wisconsin (233 pts).

Georgetown and Washington were both top-10 teams a year ago in 10th and eighth, respectively, while Eastern Kentucky jumped up from 17th at NCAAs. Wisconsin, traditionally a perennial contender, missed the Championships for the first time since 1971 but appears to be primed for a bounce-back campaign.

This is a particularly impressive jump in class for Eastern Kentucky, which notched its first-ever single-digit rank in the history of the USTFCCCA polling archive (dating back to 1996). The previous bar of excellence for the Colonels had been a streak of three weeks at No. 11 to kick off the 2013 campaign.

In fact, no other NCAA Championships-qualifying team from a year ago made a bigger leap in the preseason poll than did the Colonels. No. 22 Ole Miss tied Eastern Kentucky with an eight-spot improvement from its 2015 NCAAs showing. No. 11 Oklahoma State and No. 15 Virginia both stepped up seven spots.

Wisconsin and Northern Arizona are part of a different trend. Those two squads are among six teams – fully one-fifth of the preseason poll – that did not qualify for the 2015 NCAA Championships but show up on this preseason listing. The others are No. 17 Indiana, No. 21 Providence, No. 23 Portland and No. 25 Colorado State.

Not all teams trended upwards, however. Louisville, last year’s seventh-place team, dropped to No. 24 to start 2016. Likewise tumbling were No. 18 Michigan (9th in 2015), No. 12 Iona (5th in 2015) and No. 20 Furman (13th in 2015).

Three different conferences all tied for the most top-30 teams in the nation. The Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC all placed four teams on this preseason listing.



Men’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 Syracuse (11) 359 Northeast (1) ACC Chris Fox (12th)
2 Oregon (1) 339 West (1) Pac-12 Robert Johnson (5th)
3 Northern Arizona 324 Mountain (1) Big Sky Eric Heins (10th)
4 Stanford 323 West (2) Pac-12 Chris Miltenberg (5th)
5 Colorado 308 Mountain (2) Pac-12 Mark Wetmore (22nd)
6 Arkansas 305 South Central (1) SEC Chris Bucknam (9th)
7 Georgetown 266 Mid-Atlantic (1) Big East Brandon Bonsey (1st)
8 Washington 251 West (3) Pac-12 Greg Metcalf (15th)
9 Eastern Kentucky 234 Southeast (1) Ohio Valley Rick Erdmann (38th)
10 Wisconsin 233 Great Lakes (1) Big Ten Mick Byrne (9th)
11 Oklahoma State 220 Midwest (1) Big 12 Dave Smith (11th)
12 Iona 198 Northeast (3) Metro Atlantic Ricardo Santos (9th)
13 BYU 183 Mountain (4) West Coast Ed Eyestone (17th)
13 UTEP 183 Mountain (3) Conference USA Paul Ereng (14th)
15 Virginia 182 Southeast (2) ACC Peter Watson (5th)
16 Boise State 172 West (4) Mountain West Corey Ihmels (4th)
17 Indiana 164 Great Lakes (2) Big Ten Ron Helmer (10th)
18 Michigan 140 Great Lakes (3) Big Ten Kevin Sullivan (3rd)
19 Oklahoma 134 Midwest (2) Big 12 Jim VanHootegem (1st)
20 Furman 130 Southeast (4) Southern Robert Gary (5th)
21 Providence 128 Northeast (2) Big East Ray Treacy (33rd)
22 Mississippi 114 South (1) SEC Ryan Vanhoy (4th)
23 Portland 106 West (5) West Coast Rob Conner (27th)
24 Louisville 98 Southeast (3) ACC Dale Cowper (4th)
25 Colorado State 81 Mountain (6) Mountain West Art Siemers (5th)
26 Southern Utah 73 Mountain (5) Big Sky Eric Houle (25th)
27 Tulsa 67 Midwest (3) American Steve Gulley (15th)
28 Penn 52 Mid-Atlantic (2) Ivy Steve Dolan (5th)
29 Michigan State 50 Great Lakes (4) Big Ten Walt Drenth (13th)
30 NC State 46 Southeast (5) ACC Rollie Geiger (39th)
Others Receiving Votes: Washington State 35, Illinois 23, Florida State 16, Texas 12, Iowa State 12, Columbia 8, UCLA 5, Princeton 4, Villanova 3, Texas A&M 1
Win-loss record reflective of results in varsity competition versus DI opponents starting September 25; records in () are results against ranked teams.
(* year as effective coach of that team in men’s cross country), CR – Coaches’ Regional Ranking
's Outdoor Track & Field National Rankings

Preseason - March 24th



USTFCCCA NCAA Division I (unknown)

2019 Rankings Calendar
Weeks National Coaches' Poll KEY DATES
PreseasonMar. 1: DI Season Opens
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6May 12: Final Qualifying Day
Week 7
Week 8May 23-25 NCAA DI First Rounds
Week 9June 5-8: NCAA DI Championships Final Site (Austin, Texas)
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