2021 NCAA DI Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Week 1
NEW ORLEANS – The first few weeks of the season shook up the most recent edition of the NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll, which was released on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
All told, 13 different programs shifted spots since the preseason installment two weeks ago.
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Nothing changed at the top, though, as Northern Arizona and Notre Dame remained No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. The Lumberjacks are the near-unanimous favorite to win the national title on Saturday, November 20, hauling in 10 of 11 possible first-place votes. The Irish, who finished runner-up to NAU this past spring, hold the lone remaining first-place vote.
Oregon leapfrogged BYU into the No. 3 spot, marking the first time the Eugene-based squad made an appearance in the national top-3 since 2016. The Ducks showcased their depth at the Lewis & Clark Opener Chase Race, posting a 24-31 victory over former No. 16 Portland. Reed Brown earned the individual title for Oregon, covering the 6.3k tract in 19:19.6.
Oklahoma State and Arkansas swapped spots from the preseason for the only other notable change to the top-15. The Cowboys are now ranked No. 6, while the Razorbacks fell to No. 7. It appears as if Oklahoma State’s strong effort to open the season – beating No. 8 Tulsa in a head-to-head race – has the program riding a wave of confidence up the National Coaches’ Poll.
Further down, both Ole Miss and Utah State jumped two spots. The Rebels went from No. 18 to No. 16, while the Aggies climbed from No. 19 to No. 17. Utah State recently opened its season at the Sagebrush Invitational, putting its top-3 runners within 10 seconds of each other.
Michigan and Harvard both improved their positions multiple spots following victories this past weekend. The now 24th-ranked Wolverines captured the team title at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational against several other top-30 programs, while the now 25th-ranked Crimson topped Princeton at the storied H-Y-P (Harvard-Yale-Princeton) triangular.
Three teams joined the National Coaches’ Poll for the first time this season: No. 28 Weber State, No. 29 North Carolina and No. 30 Purdue. This is the first time since 2015 that the Tar Heels have appeared in the top-30 of the National Coaches’ Poll.
Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 20, which is when the 2021 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships are held at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida.