2021 NJCAA DI Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Week 2
NEW ORLEANS – Early-season action created lots of jostling in the NJCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll, that were released on Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), as all 25 teams are in positions different from the last poll on Sept. 8.
The most notable movement was right at the top as new No. 1 Iowa Central CC is a unanimous selection, moving up from No. 2. The top-10 features four new teams – including two in the top-5 – all of whom are ranked for the first time this year.
The 2021 NJCAA Division I Cross Country Championships are set for Saturday, November 13, at Pole Green Park in Richmond, Virginia.
NJCAA Division I — Men's Cross Country
This Week's National Top Five
Iowa Central CC
Colby (Kan.) CC
Iowa Western CC
New Mexico JC
Cloud County (Kan.) CC
Cross Country Polls & Rankings
Iowa Central CC had a couple of strong showings in the past two weeks, finishing as the top JUCO team in both the Luther All-American Invitational on Sept. 11 (3rd overall) and the Woody Greeno/Jay Dirksen Invitational on Sept. 18 (2nd overall). The Tritons’ top-2 of Kelvin Bungei and Aspel Kiprob finished 1-2 and 2-3, respectively, overall in those two races. Bungei is the defending NJCAA Division I individual champion.
Making its debut in the poll at No. 2 is Colby (Kan.) CC. The Trojans opened up their season with an eighth-place finish (second JUCO program) at the Greeno/Dirksen Invitational. The squad of seven freshmen were led by Ricardo Barbosa. This is the highest Colby has been ranked since a No. 6 in 2018.
Also new to the rankings is Iowa Western CC at No. 3. The Reivers also kicked off the year at the Greeno/Dirksen Invitational, finishing 9th (11 points behind Colby). Freshman Nicholas Kiprotich led all individuals with a 4.6-second victory over Bungei. Iowa Western returns three scorers from the team that finished third in last year’s NJCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.
New Mexico JC checks in at No. 4, down three spots from the No. 1 position in Week 1. The T-Birds haven’t competed since finishing fifth among mostly NCAA Division I and Division II teams at the Texas Tech Open on Sept. 4.
Cloud County (Kan.) CC completes a strong top-5. After a No. 2 ranking in the Week 1 poll, the T-Birds were the fourth JUCO team in the Greeno/Dirksen Invitational, led by fourth-place finisher Awet Beraki. Beraki is one of four scorers returning from the unit which finished 4th in last year’s NJCAA Division I Championships.
Rounding out the top-10 are No. 6 Central Arizona, No. 7 Southern Idaho, No. 8 Northwest Kansas Tech, No. 9 Trinidad State (Colo.) JC and No. 10 El Paso (Texas) CC. The latter two programs are ranked for the first time this year.