2021 NCAA DI Men’s Cross Country Regional Rankings – Preseason

NEW ORLEANS – Cross country is back!

Here is the preseason edition of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country Regional Rankings, which was released on Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Regional Championships Friday is scheduled for Friday, November 12.

Great Lakes Region

Notre Dame and Butler sit No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, to begin the season.

The Irish, who finished runner-up at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return each of their top-6 runners from that squad, who all happened to be All-Americans – Danny Kilrea (10th), Dylan Jacobs (20th), Andrew Alexander (21st), Jake Renfree (22nd), Yared Nuguse (23rd) and Joshua Methner (36th). Notre Dame also added Penn transfer Anthony Russo, who has a sub-29:00 PR over 10,000 meters.

The Bulldogs, who finished 13th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, welcome back their entire top-7 from last season. Simon Bedard is the top returner, finishing 37th individually. Barry Keane and Remi Schyns had tremendous outdoor seasons on the track, as they both reached the final site of the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 10,000 meters and steeplechase, respectively.

No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 4 Michigan State and No. 5 Indiana round out the top-5.

Mid-Atlantic Region

Villanova and Georgetown sit No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, to begin the season.

The Wildcats, who finished 20th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return their entire top-7 from last season. Haftu Strintzos and Josh Phillips pulled each other along on a tough course in Stillwater, Oklahoma, finishing 66th and 67th, respectively. Strintzos also had a strong outdoor season, making the final site of the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 10,000 meters.

The Hoyas, who finished 22nd at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, welcome back all seven runners from that squad and gained much-needed experience. Two of their top runners turned in exceptional seasons on the track outdoors, as Jack Salisbury and Parker Stokes both earned First-Team All-America honors in their respective events (Salisbury in the 1500; Stokes in the steeplechase).

No. 3 Princeton, No. 4 Penn and No. 5 Penn State round out the top-5.

Midwest Region

Oklahoma State and Tulsa sit No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, to begin the season.

The Cowboys, who finished third on their home course at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return their entire top-7 from that squad – including their four All-Americans (Isai Rodriguez, Alex Maier, Ryan Smeeton and Victor Shitsama). Rodriguez, Smeeton and Shitsama all starred on the track this past outdoor season with top-10 finishes from both Smeeton (third in the steeplechase) and Rodriguez (10th in the 10,000 meters). OSU also added a strong freshman class to an already talented, veteran team.

The Golden Hurricane, who finished sixth at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return five of their top-7 athletes from that squad – including two All-Americans in Peter Lynch (12th) and Isaac Akers (19th). Tulsa athletes, namely Scott Beattie and Lynch, made some exceptional gains during the outdoor season, lowering their PRs over 10,000 meters to 28:41.38 and 28:53.12, respectively.

No. 3 Iowa State, No. 4 Minnesota and No. 5 Missouri round out the top-5.

Mountain Region

Northern Arizona and BYU sit No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, to begin the season.

The Lumberjacks, who won the national title at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return five athletes from that team, including two top-10 finishers in Nico Young (fourth) and Abdihamid Nur (seventh). Nur had a sensational outdoor season, finishing third in the final of the 10,000 meters at the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in a new PR of 27:42.73. NAU also added Nebraska transfer George Kusche, who won the individual title at the 2020 Big Ten Cross Country Championships.

The Cougars, who finished seventh at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return all seven of their athletes from that squad, including individual champion Conner Mantz and 13th-place finisher Casey Clinger. Mantz continued to shine outdoors, earning runner-up honors in the final of the 10,000 meters at the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 27:42.46 (That just missed his PR of 27:41.16 that he ran in mid-May).

No. 3 Colorado, No. 4 Utah State and No. 5 Southern Utah round out the top-5.

Northeast Region

Iona and Syracuse sit No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, to begin the season.

The Gaels, who finished 10th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return all seven of their runners from that squad, including All-Americans Jack O’Leary (25th) and Ehab El-Sandali (29th). Both El-Sandali and O’Leary lowered their PRs over 10,000 meters to sub-29:00 with O’Leary running his PR of 28:29.39 in a 16th-place finish at the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The Orange, which finished 30th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, welcome back all seven of their runners from that squad. While it was a tough day for Syracuse, those athletes learned a lot and used that as motivation during a strong outdoor season. Aidan Tooker earned Second-Team All-America honors in the steeplechase and J.P. Trojan qualified for the final site in the 10,000 meters and PR’d earlier in the season at 28:55.00.

No. 3 Harvard, No. 4 UMass Lowell and No. 5 Providence round out the top-5.

South Region

Ole Miss and Florida State sit No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, to begin the season.

The Rebels, who finished 12th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return five of their seven runners from that squad. Cole Bullock (18th) and Mario Garcia Romo (30th) both earned All-America honors and were part of a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium at the SEC Cross Country Championships. Ole Miss added a pair of dynamic transfer as well, bringing in Washington transfer Cruz Culpepper and Academy of Art transfer James Young, who is a two-time NCAA DII champion on the track and owns a 1500-meter PR of 3:37.72.

The Seminoles didn’t qualify a team to the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships – but hope to do so this year, as they’re hosting the meet on November 20. Florida State saw an outstanding performance from Adriaan Wildschutt, one of two individual athletes to qualify for the meet: Wildschutt earned individual runner-up honors.

No. 3 Middle Tennessee, No. 4 Alabama and No. 5 Tennessee round out the top-5.

South Central Region

Arkansas and Texas sit No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, to begin the season.

The Razorbacks, who finished fourth at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return all seven runners from that squad, including a trio of All-Americans in Amon Kemboi (11th), Luke Meade (38th) and Gilbert Boit (40th). Both Boit and Kemboi reached the final site of the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships as well and are two of several Arkansas athletes with sub-13:45 PRs over 5000 meters.

The Longhorns didn’t qualify a team or an individual to the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships – but did finish a clear third at the Big 12 Championships last fall. Haftu Knight, Graydon Morris and Sam Worley are expected to lead Texas this season.

No. 3 Arkansas State, No. 4 Rice and No. 5 LSU round out the top-5.

Southeast Region

Wake Forest and Furman sit No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, to begin the season.

The Demon Deacons, who finished 15th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return all seven runners from that surprising squad, including All-American Zach Facioni (27th). Earlier in the season, Wake Forest took third at the ACC Cross Country Championships and then in the spring, saw several athletes dip below 13:45 over 5000 meters, including Facioni (13:30.84) and Aaron Las Heras (13:42.21).

The Paladins, who finished 24th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, welcome back all seven runners from last year’s team. Look for top returner Daniel Bernal to lead the way and a talented batch of newcomers bolster the ranks and compete for top spots.

No. 3 Duke, No. 4 Charlotte and No. 5 NC State round out the top-5.

West Region

Oregon and Stanford sit No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, to begin the season.

The Ducks didn’t qualify a team to the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships and instead focused on track & field, where they won the indoor title and finished second outdoors. A potentially loaded roster should make Oregon a title contender in both the West Region as well as at the national level this season. Not only could the Ducks return Cole Hocker, Charlie Hunter, Jackson Mestler and Cooper Teare, but they also added Cincinnati transfer Aaron Bienenfeld, who finished 16th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships and dropped his PR over 10,000 meters to 28:10.95.

The Cardinal, which finished fifth at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return six of the seven athletes who comprised that squad, including two All-Americans in Charles Hicks (14th) and Cole Sprout (15th). Hicks and Sprout, as well as Ky Robinson (46th), were part of a talented freshman class for Stanford in 2020-21. The Cardinal added several more dynamic freshmen in 2021-22 and feature a number of hungry upperclassmen.

No. 3 Washington, No. 4 Portland and No. 5 Gonzaga round out the top-5.

NCAA Division I
Men's Cross Country
USTFCCCA Regional Coaches' Rankings

2021 Preseason - August 30th

About this Product
The USTFCCCA Regional Cross Country Coaches’ Rankings are determined subjectively by a single member coach in each respective region. The regional representative is tasked with weighing returning teams’ strength with current season results (if applicable) in determining a rank-order of squad potential. Only USTFCCCA member programs are eligible to receive a ranking. Teams with provisional status within the region may be ranked.

Great Lakes Region -- Men

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1notre-dameNOTRE DAME
ACC
 ---
2butlerBUTLER
Big East
 ---
3wisconsinWISCONSIN
Big Ten
 ---
4michigan-stateMICHIGAN STATE
Big Ten
 ---
5indianaINDIANA
Big Ten
 ---
6purduePURDUE
Big Ten
 ---
7michiganMICHIGAN
Big Ten
 ---
8eastern-michiganEASTERN MICHIGAN
Mid-American
 ---
9miami-ohioMIAMI (OHIO)
Mid-American
 ---
10youngstown-stateYOUNGSTOWN STATE
Horizon
 ---
11toledoTOLEDO
Mid-American
 ---
12ohio-stateOHIO STATE
Big Ten
 ---
13cincinnatiCINCINNATI
American
 ---
14daytonDAYTON
Atlantic 10
 ---
15ohioOHIO
Mid-American
 ---

Mid-Atlantic Region -- Men

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1villanovaVILLANOVA
Big East
 ---
2georgetownGEORGETOWN
Big East
 ---
3princetonPRINCETON
Ivy League
 ---
4pennPENN
Ivy League
 ---
5penn-statePENN STATE
Big Ten
 ---
6navyNAVY
Patriot
 ---
7pittsburghPITTSBURGH
ACC
 ---
8la-salleLA SALLE
Atlantic 10
 ---
9templeTEMPLE
American
 ---
10lafayetteLAFAYETTE
Patriot
 ---
11bucknellBUCKNELL
Patriot
 ---
12lehighLEHIGH
Patriot
 ---
13saint-josephsSAINT JOSEPH'S
Atlantic 10
 ---
14rutgersRUTGERS
Big Ten
 ---
15saint-francis-paSAINT FRANCIS (PA.)
Northeast
 ---
15st-francis-illST. FRANCIS (ILL.)
Chicagoland
 ---

Midwest Region -- Men

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1oklahoma-stateOKLAHOMA STATE
Big 12
 ---
2tulsaTULSA
American
 ---
3iowa-stateIOWA STATE
Big 12
 ---
4minnesotaMINNESOTA
Big Ten
 ---
5missouriMISSOURI
SEC
 ---
6south-dakota-stateSOUTH DAKOTA STATE
Summit League
 ---
7nebraskaNEBRASKA
Big Ten
 ---
8kansas-stateKANSAS STATE
Big 12
 ---
9kansasKANSAS
Big 12
 ---
10illinoisILLINOIS
Big Ten
 ---
11eastern-illinoisEASTERN ILLINOIS
OVC
 ---
12iowaIOWA
Big Ten
 ---
13wichita-stateWICHITA STATE
American
 ---
14bradleyBRADLEY
Missouri Valley
 ---
15drakeDRAKE
Missouri Valley
 ---

Mountain Region -- Men

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1northern-arizonaNORTHERN ARIZONA
Big Sky
 ---
2byuBYU
WCC
 ---
3coloradoCOLORADO
Pac-12
 ---
4utah-stateUTAH STATE
Mountain West
 ---
5southern-utahSOUTHERN UTAH
Big Sky
 ---
6air-forceAIR FORCE
Mountain West
 ---
7weber-stateWEBER STATE
Big Sky
 ---
8colorado-stateCOLORADO STATE
Mountain West
 ---
9utah-valleyUTAH VALLEY
WAC
 ---
10new-mexicoNEW MEXICO
Mountain West
 ---
11wyomingWYOMING
Mountain West
 ---
12montana-stateMONTANA STATE
Big Sky
 ---
13utepUTEP
Conference USA
 ---
14idaho-stateIDAHO STATE
Big Sky
 ---
15texas-techTEXAS TECH
Big 12
 ---

Northeast Region -- Men

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1ionaIONA
Metro Atlantic
 ---
2syracuseSYRACUSE
ACC
 ---
3harvardHARVARD
Ivy League
 ---
4umass-lowellUMASS LOWELL
America East
 ---
5providencePROVIDENCE
Big East
 ---
6yaleYALE
Ivy League
 ---
7northeasternNORTHEASTERN
Colonial
 ---
8stony-brookSTONY BROOK
America East
 ---
9buffaloBUFFALO
Mid-American
 ---
10columbiaCOLUMBIA
Ivy League
 ---
11cornellCORNELL
Ivy League
 ---
12dartmouthDARTMOUTH
Ivy League
 ---
13sienaSIENA
Metro Atlantic
 ---
14army-west-pointARMY WEST POINT
Patriot
 ---
15binghamtonBINGHAMTON
America East
 ---

South Region -- Men

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1ole-missOLE MISS
SEC
 ---
2florida-stateFLORIDA STATE
ACC
 ---
3middle-tennesseeMIDDLE TENNESSEE
Conference USA
 ---
4alabamaALABAMA
SEC
 ---
5tennesseeTENNESSEE
SEC
 ---
6lipscombLIPSCOMB
ASUN
 ---
7north-floridaNORTH FLORIDA
ASUN
 ---
8georgia-techGEORGIA TECH
ACC
 ---
9belmontBELMONT
OVC
 ---
10georgiaGEORGIA
SEC
 ---
11floridaFLORIDA
SEC
 ---
12ut-martinUT MARTIN
OVC
 ---
13memphisMEMPHIS
American
 ---
14vanderbiltVANDERBILT
SEC
 ---
15auburnAUBURN
SEC
 ---

South Central Region -- Men

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1arkansasARKANSAS
SEC
 ---
2texasTEXAS
Big 12
 ---
3arkansas-stateARKANSAS STATE
Sun Belt
 ---
4riceRICE
Conference USA
 ---
5lsuLSU
SEC
 ---
6texas-amTEXAS A&M
SEC
 ---
7new-orleansNEW ORLEANS
Southland
 ---
8lamarLAMAR
WAC
 ---
9mcneese-stateMCNEESE STATE
Southland
 ---
10north-texasNORTH TEXAS
Conference USA
 ---
11central-arkansasCENTRAL ARKANSAS
ASUN
 ---
12ut-arlingtonUT ARLINGTON
Sun Belt
 ---
13stephen-f-austinSTEPHEN F. AUSTIN
WAC
 ---
14abilene-christianABILENE CHRISTIAN
WAC
 ---
15incarnate-wordINCARNATE WORD
Southland
 ---

Southeast Region -- Men

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1wake-forestWAKE FOREST
ACC
 ---
2furmanFURMAN
SoCon
 ---
3dukeDUKE
ACC
 ---
4charlotteCHARLOTTE
Conference USA
 ---
5nc-stateNC STATE
ACC
 ---
6virginiaVIRGINIA
ACC
 ---
7kentuckyKENTUCKY
SEC
 ---
8north-carolinaNORTH CAROLINA
ACC
 ---
9virginia-techVIRGINIA TECH
ACC
 ---
10eastern-kentuckyEASTERN KENTUCKY
ASUN
 ---
11charleston-southernCHARLESTON SOUTHERN
Big South
 ---
12richmondRICHMOND
Atlantic 10
 ---
13campbellCAMPBELL
Big South
 ---
14george-masonGEORGE MASON
Atlantic 10
 ---
15appalachian-stateAPPALACHIAN STATE
Sun Belt
 ---

West Region -- Men

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1oregonOREGON
Pac-12
 ---
2stanfordSTANFORD
Pac-12
 ---
3washingtonWASHINGTON
Pac-12
 ---
4portlandPORTLAND
WCC
 ---
5gonzagaGONZAGA
WCC
 ---
6boise-stateBOISE STATE
Mountain West
 ---
7washington-stateWASHINGTON STATE
Pac-12
 ---
8california-baptistCALIFORNIA BAPTIST
WAC
 ---
9uclaUCLA
Pac-12
 ---
10santa-claraSANTA CLARA
WCC
 ---
11cal-polyCAL POLY
Big West
 ---
12uc-santa-barbaraUC SANTA BARBARA
Big West
 ---
13cal-state-fullertonCAL STATE FULLERTON
Big West
 ---
14portland-statePORTLAND STATE
Big Sky
 ---
15idahoIDAHO
Big Sky
 ---

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Cross Country

2021 Rankings & Polls Calendar
Weeks Regional RankingsNational Coaches' Poll KEY DATES
PreseasonMon 8/30
MEN | WOMEN
Tue 8/31
MEN | WOMEN
Sept. 1: Earliest Contest
Week 1Mon 9/13
MEN | WOMEN
Tue 9/14
MEN | WOMEN
Sep. 10: At-large Countable Period Begins
Week 2Mon 9/20
Tue 9/21
Week 3Mon 9/27
Tue 9/28
Week 4Mon 10/4
Tue 10/5
Oct. 15: Pre-National
Week 5Mon 10/18
Tue 10/19
Oct. 28-31: Conference Champs
Week 6Mon 11/1
Tue 11/2
Nov. 12: NCAA Regionals
Week 7Mon 11/15
Tue 11/16
Nov. 20: NCAA DI Championships
(Tallahassee, Fla.)
FINAL ResultsSat 11/20
Sun 11/21
Week-by-Week Ranking Charts

>> REGIONAL RANKINGS
MEN: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | All Years
WOMEN: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | All Years

>> NATIONAL COACHES' POLL
MEN: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | All Years
WOMEN: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | All Years