2018 NCAA DII Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Week 7
NEW ORLEANS – The top of the chart might have stayed the same but that didn’t mean that the vast majority of teams around the country didn’t experience some kind of movement in the latest edition of the NCAA Division II Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Wednesday.
While the top-four teams in the nation remained in their positions, 20 of the remaining 21 top-25 programs shuffled around the poll, which included a new team joining the top-five for the first time this season to go with a couple new program bests.
Adams State held as the No. 1 team in the nation for the eighth consecutive week after the program picked up all eight first place votes. The Grizzlies collected their seventh straight conference crown at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Championships this past weekend after they recorded 27 points. The group was led by second-place finisher Eilish Flanagan and will next race at the South Central Regionals.
Holding steady at No. 2 was Western State after a second-place showing at the RMAC Championships. The Mountaineers had the individual champion in Alicja Konieczek and placed four runners in the top-eight at the meet. The group scored 36 points in total, just nine back of champion Adams State. They will meet the Grizzlies again at the South Central Regionals.
Remaining in the No. 3 spot was Grand Valley State after its 18th straight victory at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championships. The Lakers had the top-four finishers and placed all five scored athletes in the top-seven. They were paced by individual title winner Sarah Berger and will return to the course at the Midwest Regionals.
Also experiencing no change was No. 4 U-Mary who held after its third consecutive title at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Championships. The Marauders won the crown with a near perfect 16 points as they had five athletes finish in the top-six which included individual champion Jaiden Schuette. U-Mary will race again at Central Regionals.
Advancing one spot into the top-five for the first time this year was No. 5 Chico State. The Wildcats captured their 11th straight California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) title with a 24-point performance and had the individual champion in Karlie Garcia. The unit placed four runners in the top-five and will go again at West Regionals.
Trading spots with Chico State was No. 6 Colorado Mines after the program placed third at the RMAC Championships. The Ore Diggers were paced by Zoe Maker at 14th overall and will lace them up again for the South Central Regionals.
Jumping up three spots from its previous rank was No. 7 Alaska Anchorage after a victory at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championships. Emma Chelimo was the conference’s individual champion as the Seawolves placed four athletes in the top-10 to record 49 points. The group toes the line again at the West Regionals.
Dropping two spots to No. 8 was Augustana (S.D.). The Vikings took second overall at the NSIC Championships after they posted 54 points. The group was led by Mackenzie Kelly in eighth and will race again at the Central Regionals.
Also moving up three was No. 9 Dallas Baptist which set a new mark for best poll position received in program history. The Patriots are coming off their 12th straight Heartland Conference Championships after they placed four in the top-10 at the meet which included second-place finisher Micaela Lamb. Dallas Baptist will go again at the South Central Regionals.
Rounding out the top-10 was Simon Frasier after a second-place finish at the GNAC Championships. The Clan had three runners in the top-eight and were paced by Olivia Willett in fourth. They will race next at West Regionals.
The biggest improvement in the poll belonged to No. 11 Pittsburg State who shot up eight spots after winning its second straight Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) title with a 26-point performance. It is the program’s highest mark since the preseason poll.
Behind them in terms of next biggest gain was No. 20 Michigan Tech who improved four positions from the previous poll. The Huskies placed second overall at the GLIAC Championships.
The three new teams to the poll didn’t just sneak their way in; they put themselves right in the middle of the national conversation. No 16. Point Loma Nazarene, No. 18 Black Hills State and No. 19 Cal State Stanislaus all entered the top-25 this week. It is the first time that Black Hills State has been nationally-ranked in program history along with the first time Cal State Stanislaus has been in the top-25 since 2013.
Hillsdale, Cedarville, Tampa and Mount Olive were the only other programs who received votes.