2018 NCAA DI Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Week 6
NEW ORLEANS – The start to the cross country postseason brought numerous changes to the latest edition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll, which was released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association on Tuesday.
The newest index was highlighted by the crowning of a new No. 1 team.
New Mexico retook the top spot after collecting its 11th consecutive Mountain West Conference championship this past weekend. The national poll rewarded the performance with six first-place votes and a two-spot improvement from the previous edition. This is the fifth time this season that Joe Franklin’s team has topped the poll.
The Lady Lobos were paced by individual title winner Weini Kelati, who posted the fastest time at the conference meet since 2014 to take the crown by 18 seconds (19:49.3). Ednah Kurgat came in second (20:07.4) and Charlotte Prouse was right behind in third (20:11.3). It was the third consecutive year the the Lobos won both the individual and team titles at the conference meet.
Also moving up two spots was No. 2 Oregon which earned its highest ranking of the season after running one of its best races of the year. The Ducks took home the title at the Pac-12 Championships and were led by top finishers in Jessica Hall (second overall/19:25.1), Weronika Pyzik (fourth/19:35.7) and Susan Ejore (sixth/19:48.4).
The performance led to Oregon gathering two-first place votes. It was the 10th conference championship in program history for the Ducks.
Dropping one to No. 3 was Boise State after a strong race at the Mountain West Championships. The Broncos were led by Allie Ostrander in fourth (20:14.3), Emily Venters in sixth (20:41.3) and Alexis Fuller in seventh (20:45.7) as the group almost chased down top-ranked New Mexico (33-35 margin). It was the lowest points scored for Boise State at the conference meet since joining the Mountain West.
The showing led to the Broncos earning two first place votes.
The No. 4 spot belonged with Colorado after a second-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships got them one first place vote. The Buffaloes had the meet’s individual champion in Dani Jones (19:24.5) and placed two other athletes in the top-10 in Makena Morley (seventh/19:52.1) and Tabor School (ninth/19:56.5).
Rounding out the top-five was No. 5 Arkansas who saw no chance from the previous poll. The Razorbacks had five runners finish in the top-10 to collect their sixth-straight SEC Championships and were paced by second-place finisher Katrina Robinson (19:00.88).
With the win Arkansas became the first school in conference history to win six cross country titles in a row. Its 24-point total was also the lowest recorded for the program since 2006.
Slotting in at No. 6 was Stanford after the Cardinal took third at the Pac-12 Championships as Elise Cranny (19:29.6) and Fiona O’Keeffe (19:43.2) came in third and fifth, respectively. Stanford received no change from the previous poll.
Also experiencing no change was No. 7 Michigan who held after claiming its third consecutive Big Ten Championships. The Wolverines were led by third-place finisher Avery Evenson (20:12.8) and had freshman Anne Forsyth come in eighth in her first collegiate race in a Michigan uniform.
Also holding pat was No. 8 Villanova who won the Big East Championship over the weekend. The Wildcats had the individual champion in Caroline Alcorta (20:12.4) and scored just 21 points as a team, the four-lowest point total record in conference meet history.
Continuing the trend of no movement was No. 9 BYU after a victory at the West Coast Conference Championships. Erica Birk-Jarvis became the first female Cougar athlete to win the conference meet in program history as the group secured its second team title since joining the conference in 2011.
A new team joined the top-10 for the first time this season as the biggest gain of the week went to a four-spot improvement by No. 10 Michigan State. The Spartans experienced the change after a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. Its top finishers were Maggie Farrell in fourth (20:13.7) and Erin McDonald in seventh (20:16.0).
It’s the program’s best rank since the 2016 season.
In total 16 of the top-25 teams had some kind of movement in this week’s poll. Other improvements were made by No. 11 NC State (up one spot), No. 15 Iowa State (up two), No. 22 Southern Utah (up one) and No. 23 Ole Miss (up three).
There were also three new teams who entered the ranks after their performances during conference championship weekend as No. 21 Florida, No. 26 Oklahoma State and No. 27 Dartmouth were new additions. It was the first time Florida has been ranked since 2012 while Oklahoma State and Dartmouth have already been ranked at points this year.
UCLA, Princeton, Florida State, Texas, Oregon State, Air Force, West Virginia, Utah State, Yale, Cal Poly and Northwestern also received votes.