2017 NCAA DI Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll — Week 5
NEW ORLEANS – After weeks of relatively stagnant polls on the NCAA Division I women’s cross country front, chaos has finally ensued.
A complete upheaval from spots one to 14 in the fifth week of the NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll, as announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Tuesday, comes on the heels of some hard-hitting action from this past weekend.
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For the first time this season – and the first time since the 2012 preseason poll – Oregon sits in the top spot of the rankings after a stellar performance at the Pre-National meet. It was in Louisville that the Ducks got top-10 performances out of Katie Rainsberger (19:41.3 – fourth) and Lilli Burdon (19:59.8 – seventh) that helped them net just 63 points for the team title.
The ranking is rare air for the defending national champion, as Oregon has never ranked first in a USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll after the second week of any season dating back to 1995.
New Mexico scored a huge win at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, putting them in a season-best second place in the rankings on the week. Ednah Kurgat won the meet with a time of 19:23.2, while Alice Wright (1945.1 – fourth) and Charlotte Prouse (19:54.3 – seventh) finished within the top-10.
The former pacesetter in the rankings in Colorado finished as runner-up to Oregon out in Louisville, pushing the Buffaloes down to third in the national rankings, despite a strong outing from Dani Jones (19:32.8 – third).
Two new teams broke into the top-five for the first time on the season in San Francisco (fourth) and NC State (fifth). The Dons’ second-place finish at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational – behind top-five finishes from Charlotte Taylor (19:40.2 – third) and Weronika Pyzik (19:46.2 – fifth) – gave the program its highest ranking in history. The Wolfpack finished third in Wisconsin to move up from seventh in the rankings.
Rounding out the top-10 are Arkansas, Providence, Boise State, Penn State and Michigan. The sixth-place ranking for Arkansas is a season-best, as is the eighth-place showing for the Broncos of Boise State.
Two programs made significant leaps right on the outskirts of the top-10. Furman made a 10-spot jump in the rankings to 11th on the week after Allie Buchalski (19:49.1 – sixth) helped the Paladins place sixth overall at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational. Utah State is right behind Furman in the rankings after a seven-spot increase of its own. Alyssa Snyder (20:02.4 – ninth) led the Aggies to a fourth-place showing at the Pre-National Meet.
After going through four polls without even receiving votes, Georgia continued its remarkable season, as it jumped from 25th to 16th. Finishing fifth at the Pre-National meet gave the Bulldogs its highest ranking since coming in at 15th in the first week of the 2007 polls.
Minnesota was the only other returning team that saw a slight uptick in the polls, moving up one spot to 19th. However, five new teams in Eastern Kentucky (21st), Columbia (24th), Northern Arizona (26th), California (28th) and Dartmouth (30th) entered the rankings for the first time this season, while Michigan State (20th) and Eastern Michigan (25th) both returned after brief hiatuses. The ranking of 21st for Eastern Kentucky is program high.