2019 NCAA DIII Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Week 8
NEW ORLEANS – The coaches who vote in the NCAA Division III Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll see Saturday’s climactic battle as a two-team race between Johns Hopkins and Washington (Mo.).
Over the final weeks of the season, the Blue Jays and the Bears put considerable distance between themselves and the rest of the nation based on their performances at some of the nation’s biggest meets. Then, in the final index of the season that was released on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), WashU surpassed Johns Hopkins for the No. 1 spot entering the NCAA Championships.
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Just one point separates the Bears from the Blue Jays, but it’s that one point that sent the former to just its third No. 1 ranking in program history.
WashU impressed the electorate with its dominance of the Midwest Region this past weekend. The Bears, led by individual champion Paige Lawler, steamrolled a field that included four top-15 teams. Lawler was one of six runners from WashU in the top-15 as the team totaled 37 points to beat then-No. 7 UChicago by 29 points.
Johns Hopkins had a tougher go than expected at the Mideast Region Championships. The Blue Jays only won by 10 points over now-No. 4 Dickinson, a far cry from their 37-point margin in 2018, 68-point margin in 2017 and their 82-point buffer in 2016. Johns Hopkins was the only team in 2019 to put all five scoring athletes in the top-40, though.
Williams moved up to No. 3 thanks to a victory at the New England Region Championships. The Ephs packed up well – 8-9-10-16-21 with a 29-second spread – to upset former No. 3 MIT and topple a host of other top-35 programs in the field. It was just four years ago that Williams upset the nation and won its third national title in program history.
There are six teams that climbed multiple spots between Nos. 8-18 based on their performances on Regional Championships Saturday: Wartburg went from No. 13 to No. 8; Claremont-Mudd-Scripps went from No. 12 to No. 10; UW-La Crosse went from No. 15 to No. 12, Pomona-Pitzer went from No. 17 to No. 14; John Carroll went from No. 21 to No. 15; Baldwin Wallace went from No. 23 to No. 17.
John Carroll and Baldwin Wallace as well as Carleton and Wartburg delivered the Races of the Weekend. It was at the Great Lakes Region Championships where just one point separated the Blue Streaks and the Yellow Jackets, while two points split the double Knights at the Central Region Championships.
No team leapfrogged more teams this week than Allegheny (Pa.). The Gators, who finished fifth in the ultra-competitive Great Lakes Region, moseyed from No. 34 to a season-best No. 24.
There were three new additions to the National Coaches’ Poll in No. 28 Calvin, No. 31 Wesleyan (Conn.) and No. 32 RIT.
Be sure to check back throughout the week as we’ll have more on the 2019 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, which are set to take place on Saturday at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky.