2021 NCAA DI Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Preseason

NEW ORLEANS – Welcome back to (a normal) cross country season!

Here is the preseason edition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll for the 2021 campaign, which was released on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

NCAA Division I — Women's Cross Country
This Week's National Top Five
NC State
New Mexico
Michigan State
NC State
New Mexico
Michigan State
Cross Country Polls & Rankings

For the first time since 2003, BYU headlines the National Coaches’ Poll at No. 1 after receiving eight of 11 possible first-place votes. NC State received two first-place votes and will enter the season ranked No. 2, followed by third-ranked Stanford (1 FPV), fourth-ranked New Mexico and fifth-ranked Michigan State.

Coming off of a dominating performance in Stillwater, Oklahoma, to capture the program’s fifth national title, the Cougars could return the majority, if not all, of its championship squad. That squad includes four All-Americans and five that finished in the top-50 – Anna Camp-Bennett (11th), Aubrey Frentheway (15th), Whittni Orton (17th), Sara Musselman (33rd) and McKenna Lee (41st). The possible return of their entire top-7 and mix of newcomers gives BYU a strong chance at defending its crown.

The Wolfpack, who finished with runner-up honors at the NCAA Championships, returns a loaded squad that includes three All-Americans in Hannah Steelman (5th), Kelsey Chmiel (9th) and Katelyn Tuohy (24th). Chmiel and Steelman not only had an excellent cross country season, but also qualified for both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships. NC State also brought in several newcomers and transfers that are expected to bolster their lineup.

The Cardinal, which finished third at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, is bringing back six runners from their championship team. Julia Heymach, who finished 13th individually for All-America honors, is their top returner. Heymach also shined on the track, as she finished sixth in the 5000 at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships before running 4:04.84 in the 1500 at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field, which sits No. 4 on  the all-dates, all-time collegiate list. Stanford also added a strong freshman class to mix with its returners.

The Lobos, although finishing sixth at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, is eyeing a podium finish in 2021. The Lobos return their entire squad that ran at the NCAA meet, which include All-Americans in Adva Cohen (22nd) and Gracelyn Larkin (25th). New Mexico welcomes a slew of transfers from NCAA Division I and Division II universities, including Abbe Goldstein from Harvard.

The Spartans finished fourth at the NCAA Championships for the program’s best finish since winning the team title in 2014. Five of the Spartans’ top-7 will be returning this season and will be led by All-Americans Jenna Magness and Lynsie Gram, who finished 16th and 34th, respectively. Both women also continued their success on the track as Magness finished fifth indoors and fourth outdoors in the 5000, while Gram qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000.

Here are the remainder of the top-10 teams in the preseason National Coaches’ Poll: No. 6 Arkansas, No. 7 Alabama, No. 8 Colorado, No. 9 Minnesota and No. 10 Washington. The Crimson Tide will start the season with a program-best ranking in the National Coaches’ Poll. Alabama finished eighth in the spring and welcomes back a loaded lineup that has individual champion Mercy Chelengat and third-place finisher Amaris Tyynismaa, while adding a seven-time NJCAA Champion from New Mexico JC in Flomena Asekol. The Golden Gophers will also kick off the year with their best ranking since the 2009 season and welcome back an All-American in Bethany Hasz (8th).

Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 20, as the 2021 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships will take place at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida.

Women's Cross Country National Coaches' Poll

2021 Preseason - August 31st

1 byu BYU
Mountain Region (1)
Diljeet Taylor (6th)
(8 fpv)
2 nc-state NC STATE
Southeast Region (1)
Laurie Henes (16th)
(2 fpv)
3 stanford STANFORD
West Region (1)
J.J. Clark (3rd)
(1 fpv)
4 new-mexico NEW MEXICO
Mountain Region (2)
Mountain West
Joe Franklin (15th)
293 6
5 michigan-state MICHIGAN STATE
Great Lakes Region (1)
Big Ten
Lisa Breznau (2nd)
281 4
6 arkansas ARKANSAS
South Central Region (1)
Lance Harter (32nd)
260 10
7 alabama ALABAMA
South Region (1)
Dan Waters (11th)
256 8
8 colorado COLORADO
Mountain Region (3)
Mark Wetmore (27th)
250 7
9 minnesota MINNESOTA
Midwest Region (1)
Big Ten
Sarah Hopkins (9th)
247 5
10 washington WASHINGTON
West Region (2)
Maurica Powell (4th)
216 13
11 michigan MICHIGAN
Great Lakes Region (2)
Big Ten
Mike McGuire (30th)
211 17
12 northern-arizona NORTHERN ARIZONA
Mountain Region (4)
Big Sky
Michael Smith (5th)
199 11
13 north-carolina NORTH CAROLINA
Southeast Region (2)
Dylan Sorensen (1st)
194 14
14 boise-state BOISE STATE
West Region (3)
Mountain West
Corey Ihmels (9th)
170 9
15 ole-miss OLE MISS
South Region (2)
Ryan Vanhoy (9th)
167 12
16 indiana INDIANA
Great Lakes Region (3)
Big Ten
Ron Helmer (15th)
146 19
17 illinois ILLINOIS
Midwest Region (2)
Big Ten
Sarah Haveman (4th)
140 21
18 florida-state FLORIDA STATE
South Region (3)
Bob Braman (8th)
131 15
19 notre-dame NOTRE DAME
Great Lakes Region (4)
Matt Sparks (4th)
112 ---
20 georgetown GEORGETOWN
Mid-Atlantic Region (1)
Big East
Mitchell Baker (2nd)
110 18
21 oklahoma-state OKLAHOMA STATE
Midwest Region (3)
Big 12
Dave Smith (13th)
92 24
22 oregon-state OREGON STATE
West Region (4)
Louis Quintana (5th)
82 16
23 connecticut CONNECTICUT
Northeast Region (1)
Big East
Lindsay Crevoiserat (3rd)
81 ---
24 princeton PRINCETON
Mid-Atlantic Region (2)
Ivy League
Brad Hunt (6th)
63 ---
25 georgia-tech GEORGIA TECH
South Region (4)
Alan Drosky (29th)
57 20
26 providence PROVIDENCE
Northeast Region (2)
Big East
Ray Treacy (38th)
50 ---
27 colorado-state COLORADO STATE
Mountain Region (5)
Mountain West
Art Siemers (10th)
47 23
28 ohio-state OHIO STATE
Great Lakes Region (5)
Big Ten
Khadevis Robinson (6th)
41 ---
29 wisconsin WISCONSIN
Great Lakes Region (6)
Big Ten
Mackenzie Wartenberger (3rd)
40 ---
30 iowa-state IOWA STATE
Midwest Region (4)
Big 12
Amy Rudolph (4th)
33 25

Also Receiving Votes: Furman 28, Kentucky 27, Utah 26, Texas 25, Portland 25, Oregon 25, West Virginia 13, San Francisco 7, Liberty 6, Duke 4, Washington State 4, Syracuse 3, Tulsa 3, Villanova 2

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Cross Country

2021 Rankings & Polls Calendar
Weeks Regional RankingsNational Coaches' Poll KEY DATES
PreseasonMon 8/30
Tue 8/31
Sept. 1: Earliest Contest
Week 1Mon 9/13
Tue 9/14
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

MEN: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | All Years
WOMEN: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | All Years

MEN: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | All Years
WOMEN: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | All Years