2017 NCAA DIII Cross Country Women’s National Coaches’ Poll – Preseason
NEW ORLEANS – Johns Hopkins has been ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division III Women’s Cross Country Preseason National Coaches’ Poll three out of the past four years.
It’s time to make that four out of the past five after the most recent poll was released Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The defending national champions Blue Jays headline the ballot and received seven first-place votes after a strong championship season in 2016. Johns Hopkins overcame a strong effort by runner-up Washington (Mo.) to nab the team title 128-202.
This year the Blue Jays return four of their top-5 runners including Felicia Koerner, who had a tremendous season on the track. Natalia LaSpada finished not too far behind Koerner at NCAAs last year and is expected to move up in the pack as a junior.
The other first-place vote went to No. 2 Wash U, which returns its top-2 runners in Aly Wayne and Alison Lindsay. Wayne and Lindsay finished eighth overall and 14th overall, respectively, at NCAAs in 2016, yet the Bears couldn’t help them out as the next runner came through in 85th. Wash U will look for depth in the guise of Ellie Degen and Anna Maurer this year.
MIT comes in at No. 3 and has three of its top-5 runners coming back, including Megan McCandless (17th overall in 2016). The Engineers have been ranked third or better in three of the past five preseason polls.
UW-La Crosse is No. 4 and matches its best ranking in program history. The Eagles lost two of their top-3 runners, but with Sadie Kroll having an extra year of experience under her belt and Sarah Ziolkowski on the rise, the voting coaches expect big things from them as a team.
The final spot in the top-5 belongs to SUNY Geneseo. The fifth-ranked Knights lost their top-2 runners to graduation, but should be fine with Elise Ramirez and Kristen Homeyer filling those shoes that were left.
Williams sits at No. 6, but one of the biggest stories of the poll is Ithaca at No. 7. That matches the best ranking in program history for the Bombers and with multiple NCAA track champion Taryn Cordani leading the way at the front of the pack, big things could be in store for them.
No. 8 Calvin, No. 9 Middlebury and No. 10 Tufts rounds out the top-10 in the preseason.
Oberlin went from not being ranked at the end of the 2016 season to No. 15.
The 2017 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships will be held Saturday, November 18 in Elsah, Illinois at the North Farm Facility. Principia will serve as host of the meet.