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

NEW ORLEANS – Are you ready for some fall cross country?

We are!

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

Great Lakes Region

Michigan State and Michigan will begin the season at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

The Spartans, who finished fourth at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, welcome back five of the top-7 runners from last year’s squad. Two of those returners earned All-America honors in Stillwater, Oklahoma – Jenna Magness and Lynsie Gram finished 16th and 34th, respectively.

The Wolverines, who finished 17th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return the majority of their team. Erika VanderLende is the top-returner following a 65th place showing at the NCAA Championships. The Wolverines also had a breakthrough track season for many younger athletes that are eyeing those open spots in the top-7.

No. 3 Indiana, No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 5 Ohio State round out the top-5.

Mid-Atlantic Region

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

The Hoyas, who finished 18th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, is expected to welcome back the majority of its NCAA squad. Maggie Donahue is the top returner, finishing 32nd individually for All-America honors. Sami Corman will look to defend her BIG EAST title and was a 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships final site qualifier in the 1500. The Hoyas also added a strong group of newcomers to the mix, including Sara Platek, a graduate transfer from Duke and NCAA East qualifier in the 10,000.

Although the Tigers did not compete last year, they will have a strong mix of returners and newcomers. The Tigers qualified three athletes for the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships and claimed a fourth place finish at the Ivy League Championships that same year.

No. 3 West Virginia, No. 4 Villanova and No. 5 Penn State round out the top-5.

Midwest Region

Minnesota and Illinois will start the season at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

The Golden Gophers, who finished fifth at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return their top-5 from last year. Their top returner is Bethany Hasz, who finished 8th individually. Also posting a top-50 finish for Minnesota in the spring was Abby Kohut-Jackson (45th). Those two also made the final site of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, with Hasz finishing 3rd in the 5000.

The Fighting Illini, who finished 21st at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, will have their top-5 back and welcome two freshman that could make an immediate impact. Rebecca Craddock is the top-returner and notched a 68th place finish individually. Olivia Howell starred on the track for the Fighting Illini and finished 10th in the 1500 at the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Rounding out the top-5 is No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Iowa State and No. 5 Loyola (Illinois).

Mountain Region

BYU and New Mexico will kick off the season at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

The Cougars, who won the team title at 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, are expected to be in contention to successfully defend their crown. The majority, if not all, of their entire top-5 could return to the grass circuit and all finished in the top-50 en route to their NCAA crown – Anna Camp-Bennett (11th), Aubrey Frentheway (15th), Whittni Orton (17th), Sara Musselman (33) and McKenna Lee (41st).

The Lobos, who finished sixth at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, returns their entire lineup from a year ago, including Adva Cohen (25th) and Gracelyn Larkin (25th). The Lobos also welcome a slew of transfers into their program that will add to their depth.

No. 3 Colorado, No. 4 Northern Arizona and No. 5 Colorado State round out the top-5.

Northeast Region

UConn and Providence will begin the season at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

The Huskies did not qualify a team or individual to the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, but did finish second at the 2020 BIG EAST Cross Country Championships. Randi Burr and Jenna Zydaniwicz are expected to lead the team this year, while welcoming back 2019 NCAA Cross Country qualifier Mia Nahom.

The Friars did not qualify a team to the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, but did bring back Maria Coffin after finishing 99th individually. Coffin will also be joined by Lilly Tuck, Orla O’Connor and Shannon Flockhart.

No. 3 Syracuse, No. 4 Boston College and No. 5 Harvard round out the top-5.

South Region

Alabama and Ole Miss will start the season at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

The Crimson Tide, who finished eighth at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, will return all of their runners from a year ago. Mercy Chelangat, the individual champion in 2020, will be joined by All-Americans Amaris Tyynismaa (3rd) and Esther Gitahi (36th). The Crimson Tide also added New Mexico JC transfer Flomena Asekol, a seven-time NJCAA Champion.

The Rebels, who finished 12th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, will return five of their seven runners from the championship meet. Anna Elkin is their top returner following a 49th place finish, with Sintayehu Vissa (51st) and Loral Winn (60th) right behind. Vissa and Winn captured All-America honors during the indoor track & field season, while all three women qualified for the 2021 NCAA Division I East Regional Championship.

No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 Georgia Tech and No. 5 Tennessee round out the top-5.

South Central Region

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

The Razorbacks, who finished 10th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return six of their top-7 from a year ago, including an All-American in Krissy Gear (21st). A few days before the cross country championships, Gear finished second in the mile and as part of the Distance Medley Relay at the 2021 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. The Razorbacks also added Sydnet Thorvaldson, the 2020-21 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

The Longhorns didn’t qualify a team or individual to the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, but captured a second place finish at the 2020 Big 12 Cross Country Championships. The Longhorns welcome back five of their top-7 runners and be paced by Beth Ramos and Ava Peoples.

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

Southeast Region

NC State and UNC will start the season as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams, respectively.

The Wolfpack, who finished second at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return a loaded squad, including three All-Americans in Hannah Steelman (5th), Kelsey Chmiel (9th) and Katelyn Tuohy (24th). The Wolfpack will also bring in several newcomers to bolster their depth.

The Tarheels, who finished 14th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, return six runners from last year’s squad, including their entire top-5. Two of those returners notched All-America honors on the grass circuit – Paige Hofstad (29th) and Sasha Neglia (46th). The Tarheels also bring in a talented freshman class that will mix well with their strong sophomore class.

No. 3 Kentucky, No. 4 Furman and No. 5 Liberty round out the top-5.

West Region

Stanford and Washington begin the season at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

The Cardinal, who finished third at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, will be returning six of the seven athletes that were on that squad, including All-American Julia Heymach (13th). The PAC-12 Champions also welcome back Jessica Lawson (56th) and have a mix of talented newcomers.

The Huskies, who finished 13th at the 2020 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, could return most of their roster from their NCAA lineup. Allie Schadler earned All-America honors following a 26th place finish individually, with Naomi Smith (53th) and Haley Herberg (55th) pulling each other along for strong showings. The Huskies also gained a few newcomers that could put themselves in the mix.

No. 3 Boise State, No. 4 Oregon State and No. 5 Washington round out the top-5.

NCAA Division I
Women'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 -- Women

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

Mid-Atlantic Region -- Women

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1georgetownGEORGETOWN
Big East
 ---
2princetonPRINCETON
Ivy League
 ---
3west-virginiaWEST VIRGINIA
Big 12
 ---
4villanovaVILLANOVA
Big East
 ---
5penn-statePENN STATE
Big Ten
 ---
6pennPENN
Ivy League
 ---
7marylandMARYLAND
Big Ten
 ---
8duquesneDUQUESNE
Atlantic 10
 ---
9george-washingtonGEORGE WASHINGTON
Atlantic 10
 ---
10rutgersRUTGERS
Big Ten
 ---
11templeTEMPLE
American
 ---
12la-salleLA SALLE
Atlantic 10
 ---
13pittsburghPITTSBURGH
ACC
 ---
14bucknellBUCKNELL
Patriot
 ---
15navyNAVY
Patriot
 ---

Midwest Region -- Women

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

Mountain Region -- Women

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

Northeast Region -- Women

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1connecticutCONNECTICUT
Big East
 ---
2providencePROVIDENCE
Big East
 ---
3syracuseSYRACUSE
ACC
 ---
4boston-collegeBOSTON COLLEGE
ACC
 ---
5harvardHARVARD
Ivy League
 ---
6ionaIONA
Metro Atlantic
 ---
7columbiaCOLUMBIA
Ivy League
 ---
8umass-lowellUMASS LOWELL
America East
 ---
9yaleYALE
Ivy League
 ---
10dartmouthDARTMOUTH
Ivy League
 ---
11northeasternNORTHEASTERN
Colonial
 ---
12vermontVERMONT
America East
 ---
13new-hampshireNEW HAMPSHIRE
America East
 ---
14binghamtonBINGHAMTON
America East
 ---
15army-west-pointARMY WEST POINT
Patriot
 ---

South Region -- Women

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1alabamaALABAMA
SEC
 ---
2ole-missOLE MISS
SEC
 ---
3florida-stateFLORIDA STATE
ACC
 ---
4georgia-techGEORGIA TECH
ACC
 ---
5tennesseeTENNESSEE
SEC
 ---
6middle-tennesseeMIDDLE TENNESSEE
Conference USA
 ---
7vanderbiltVANDERBILT
SEC
 ---
8georgiaGEORGIA
SEC
 ---
9floridaFLORIDA
SEC
 ---
10mississippi-stateMISSISSIPPI STATE
SEC
 ---
11lipscombLIPSCOMB
ASUN
 ---
12auburnAUBURN
SEC
 ---
13southern-missSOUTHERN MISS
Conference USA
 ---
14south-alabamaSOUTH ALABAMA
Sun Belt
 ---
15uabUAB
Conference USA
 ---

South Central Region -- Women

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

Southeast Region -- Women

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1nc-stateNC STATE
ACC
 ---
2north-carolinaNORTH CAROLINA
ACC
 ---
3kentuckyKENTUCKY
SEC
 ---
4furmanFURMAN
SoCon
 ---
5libertyLIBERTY
ASUN
 ---
6dukeDUKE
ACC
 ---
7elonELON
Colonial
 ---
8virginiaVIRGINIA
ACC
 ---
9wake-forestWAKE FOREST
ACC
 ---
10charlotteCHARLOTTE
Conference USA
 ---
11virginia-techVIRGINIA TECH
ACC
 ---
12george-masonGEORGE MASON
Atlantic 10
 ---
13high-pointHIGH POINT
Big South
 ---
14campbellCAMPBELL
Big South
 ---
15radfordRADFORD
Big South
 ---

West Region -- Women

RANK TEAM
CONFERENCE
2020
FINAL
1stanfordSTANFORD
Pac-12
 ---
2washingtonWASHINGTON
Pac-12
 ---
3boise-stateBOISE STATE
Mountain West
 ---
4oregon-stateOREGON STATE
Pac-12
 ---
5washington-stateWASHINGTON STATE
Pac-12
 ---
6portlandPORTLAND
WCC
 ---
7san-franciscoSAN FRANCISCO
WCC
 ---
8oregonOREGON
Pac-12
 ---
9gonzagaGONZAGA
WCC
 ---
10california-baptistCALIFORNIA BAPTIST
WAC
 ---
11portland-statePORTLAND STATE
Big Sky
 ---
12idahoIDAHO
Big Sky
 ---
13uc-davisUC DAVIS
Big West
 ---
14cal-polyCAL POLY
Big West
 ---
15californiaCALIFORNIA
Pac-12
 ---

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