Florida and Texas A&M Lead Tight Men’s Race Before NCAA Prelims
NEW ORLEANS — For the fourth time this season, the SEC has the nation’s top three computer-ranked men’s teams. No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Texas A&M lead the way for the second straight week, and they’re trailed by new No. 3 LSU. The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released the rankings on Monday morning.
These rankings are based on the entries to this weekend’s NCAA first rounds. Teams from west of the Mississippi River will be competing in Austin, and teams from east of the Mississippi will be competing in Jacksonville. The preliminary rounds will be held on May 28-30, with the top twelve finishers from each region in each event advancing to Oregon for the NCAA finals. (The qualifiers for the decathlon and heptathlon are already established)
The SEC squads—plus fellow podium contenders No. 4 Oregon, No. 5 Southern California, and No. 6 Arkansas—will need to get their key athletes through the prelims safely. But we can see how the coaches of those teams plan to attack the NCAA championships by how they’ve entered their athletes in the prelims.
With few exceptions, the top teams are aggressively employing their best athletes in search of a trophy. Florida has stud sprinter Dedric Dukes entered in the 100, 200, 4×100, and 4×400, national champion shot putter Stipe Zunic also entered in the discus, and star jumpers Marquis Dendy and KeAndre Bates entered in both horizontal jumps. All told, those four men—plus the two sprint relays—account for well over two-thirds of the Gators’ 327.87 rankings points.
SEC runners-up and No. 2-ranked Texas A&M has a very similar formula: sprints, relays, horizontal jumps, and throws. The Aggies have Shavez Hart entered in the 100 and 200, Deon Lendore and Bralon Taplin in the 400, and all three in the relays, totaling 142 rankings points in the five sprinting events. Then horizontal jumpers Latario Collie and Olabanji Asekun and javelin throwers Ioannis Kyriazis and Devin Bogert account for another 110 points, making their championship scoring lineup extremely similar to Florida’s.
After last week’s rankings shook out to be one of the closest ever, with Florida only ahead of Texas A&M by 1.58 points, this week’s included a little more breathing room. The Gators’ and Aggies’ entries meant that Florida expanded its lead to a still-minuscule 8.70 rankings points.
The third SEC squad, LSU, is going to be relying on a lineup of nearly entirely sprinters. The Tigers get 58 points from the discus (national leader Rodney Brown) and 800 meters (upstart Julian Parker), and all but 0.7 of the rest of their 291.91 points come from the sprints and hurdles. Dennis Shaver’s men moved up one spot based on the the whittling down of teams to their national meet entries.
The hosts of the NCAA finals, No. 4 Oregon, have a very different source of points: the distances. They have seven entries each in the 1500 and 5000 this weekend. Unlike indoors—where the seventy points their distance runners scored would have been enough to win a team title—Edward Cheserek, Eric Jenkins, and company won’t be the only heavy scorers for the Ducks. They already have decathletes Dakotah Keys and Mitch Modin safely through to June, and hammer thrower Greg Skipper and javelin thrower Sam Crouser are each in the top ten nationally in their events.
After some season-long intrigue about Robert Johnson’s and Andy Powell’s plans for their horses, here’s what the best Oregon distance runners are doing. Cheserek and Jenkins are doubling in the 10k and 5k, Will Geoghegan is running the 5k, and Daniel Winn and Johnny Gregorek are running the 1500.
Behind Oregon—currently favored for the fourth and final podium slot—are USC and Arkansas, who flip-flopped places in the rankings. The two West Region powerhouses are separated by just 2.41 points, meaning that the battle for the podium will be fierce.
The rest of the top ten was filled out by No. 7 Georgia, No. 8 Mississippi State, No. 9 Texas, and No. 10 Florida State. No. 25 Villanova was the only team to join the top twenty-five this week.
These are the penultimate 2015 Division I team rankings. The final rankings will be released next Monday, June 1, and be based on the results of the preliminary rounds. Those rankings won’t include the regional indices—these are the final 2015 regional rankings. Five of the eight region-leading schools remained the same, and Illinois took over as No. 1 in the Midwest, BYU finished on top in the Mountain, and Connecticut surged to the top spot in the Northeast.
The 2015 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships are June 10-13 in Eugene, Oregon, and will be televised on the ESPN family of networks.
USTFCCCA NCAA Division I
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)
2015 Week #8 — May 25 (pre-prelims)
|next ranking: June 1 (pre-finals)|
|Rank||Institution||Points||Conference||Head Coach (Yr)||Last Week|
|1||Florida||327.87||SEC||Mike Holloway (13th)||1|
|2||Texas A&M||319.17||SEC||Pat Henry (11th)||2|
|3||LSU||291.91||SEC||Dennis Shaver (11th)||4|
|4||Oregon||281.50||Pac-12||Robert Johnson (3rd)||3|
|5||Southern California||221.41||Pac-12||Caryl Smith Gilbert (2nd)||6|
|6||Arkansas||219.00||SEC||Chris Bucknam (7th)||5|
|7||Georgia||181.86||SEC||Wayne Norton (16th)||7|
|8||Mississippi State||154.97||SEC||Steve Dudley (5th)||8|
|9||Texas||143.62||Big 12||Mario Sategna (2nd)||10|
|10||Florida State||143.18||ACC||Bob Braman (12th)||9|
|11||Alabama||143.15||SEC||Dan Waters (4th)||11|
|12||Texas Tech||133.80||Big 12||Wes Kittley (16th)||12|
|13||Virginia||133.40||ACC||Bryan Fetzer (4th)||15|
|14||Baylor||122.85||Big 12||Todd Harbour (10th)||13|
|15||Penn State||120.86||Big Ten||John Gondak (1st)||14|
|16||South Carolina||114.93||SEC||Curtis Frye (19th)||16|
|17||Clemson||105.88||ACC||Mark Elliott (2nd)||19|
|18||Illinois||95.75||Big Ten||Mike Turk (6th)||18|
|19||BYU||93.93||Independent (DI)||Ed Eyestone (2nd)||17|
|20||Oklahoma State||85.50||Big 12||Dave Smith (7th)||20|
|21||Stanford||80.53||Pac-12||Chris Miltenberg (3rd)||24|
|22||Kansas State||77.45||Big 12||Cliff Rovelto (23rd)||22|
|23||Tennessee||75.65||SEC||Beth Alford-Sullivan (1st)||25|
|24||Syracuse||75.18||ACC||Chris Fox (10th)||21|
|25||Villanova||67.11||Big East||Marcus O’Sullivan (15th)||41|
|dropped out: No. 23 TCU|
|View All Teams Beyond the Top 25|
|Men’s Conference Index Top 10|
|Rank||Conference||Points||Top 25 Teams|
|Men’s Regional Index Leaders (FINAL)|
|South Central||Texas A&M||918.08||1|
|View All Regional Rankings|