2021 NCAA DIII Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Week 8
NEW ORLEANS – All eyes are focused on Louisville, Kentucky!
Here is the final edition of the NCAA Division III Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll for the 2021 season, released on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), just five days before the NCAA Championships on Saturday, November 20. Two different teams received first-place votes and only six teams held steady from the previous week as Regional Championships Saturday shed some light on what we can expect come Saturday at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park.
NCAA Division III — Women's Cross Country
This Week's National Top Five
Cross Country Polls & Rankings
Defending champion Johns Hopkins is the consensus favorite to win its seventh national title in program history and tie SUNY Cortland for the most women’s crowns in NCAA DIII history with seven. The Blue Jays, who earned eight of ten first-place votes, compiled an impressive resume this season with resounding victories at the Mid-Atlantic Region Championships, the Centennial Conference Championships and the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle, among others (JHU won each of those meets by an average margin of 43 points). Ashley Heidenrich and Alex Ross have traded the seasonal responsibility of being the top runner for the Blue Jays.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps asserted itself since the start of the season and is JHU’s toughest competition on Saturday, according to the electorate. The Athenas, who earned two first-place votes, most recently steamrolled the field at the West Region Championships, where they put up a meager total of 27 points thanks to four top-10 finishers. Earlier in the season, CMS won the SCIAC crown by 33 points over rival and then-ranked No. 5 Pomona-Pitzer and throttled a big-time field at the Live in the Lou Cross Country Classic, where it won by 27 points. Meredith Bloss has been the top Athena in three meets, while Natalie Bitetti, Emily Clarke and Riley Harmon all led the team at some point this season as well.
A trio of programs from the Midwest Region are expected to contend for podium spots: Wartburg, which won the regional title and is ranked No. 3; Washington (Mo.), which finished runner-up this past weekend and is ranked No. 4; and UChicago, which finished third this past weekend and is ranked No. 6. Oh, that No. 5 squad is Mideast champion Williams. The Knights are a clear third and put considerable distance between themselves and their Midwest foes over the past few weeks thanks to that regional title this past weekend as well as a strong runner-up effort at the stacked Augustana Interregional Invitational.
Other regional champions are scattered throughout the National Coaches’ Poll in Week 8: North champion UW-La Crosse went from No. 8 to No. 7; Niagara champion SUNY Geneseo moved one spot from No. 9 to No. 8; East champion Tufts is ranked No. 11 after a three-spot improvement and has one of the strongest 1-2-3s in the nation, led by Danielle Page; Great Lakes champion Hope dropped two spots to No. 12; South champion Emory climbed two spots to No. 20; Metro champion Haverford fell one spot to No. 28.
Champions will be crowned on Saturday, November 20, as the 2021 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships will take place at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky! The women’s race is scheduled to begin at 12 pm ET!