2022 NCAA DI Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll – Preseason
NEW ORLEANS – Cross country is back!
Here is the preseason edition of the NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll for the 2022 season, as released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Wednesday. Remember that this poll is conducted by counting votes from 11 member coaches – one from each of the division’s nine regions (who also do the regional rankings) – as well as two members from the NCAA Cross Country Executive Committee.
For the first time in program history, NC State is the top-ranked team in the preseason iteration of the National Coaches’ Poll. The defending national champions received nine first-place votes as they look to capture their second-straight crown in Stillwater. The Wolfpack return four athletes from their 2021 lineup, including three All-Americans: Kelsey Chmiel (6th), Katelyn Tuohy (15th) and Samantha Bush (32nd). NC State also added Tennessee transfer Sydney Seymour to their roster during the offseason.
New Mexico, who finished third at the NCAA Championships, will begin the season at No. 2. The Lobos received one first-place vote and projected to be NC State’s biggest competition at the end of the season. The Lobos likely return the majority of its lineup, headlined by top-21 finishers Emma Heckel and Gracelyn Larkin, along with a handful of other quality athletes to add depth.
Colorado is at third to start the season. The Buffaloes placed fourth a year ago and will be led by All-American Emily Covert, who finished 31st in Tallahassee, Florida. The Buffaloes also added Indiana transfer Bailey Hertenstein and NCAA Division III Johns Hopkins transfer Ella Baran to their 2022 roster. This is the 19th time in program history Colorado has been ranked in the top-5 in the preseason poll.
Oklahoma State, who finished 13th last November, will begin the season slotted fourth. The Cowgirls will enjoy home course advantage as they look to get on the podium for the first time in program history (their best finish was 5th back in 1989). Oklahoma State has a talented squad that sees the return of five athletes, led by All-American Taylor Roe. Their lineup will also be bolstered by a strong recruiting class that features the 2021 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Player of the Year Natalie Cook.
Stanford rounds out the preseason top-5 and received one first-place vote. The Cardinal, who finished sixth a year ago, return five of the seven athletes from last year’s NCAA squad. Lucy Jenks is the top returner and just finished outside of All-America honors at 49th. Stanford also brought in several newcomers that could make some noise for this young team.
Here are the rest of the top-10 in the preseason: No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 7 BYU, No. 8 Washington, No. 9 Arkansas and No. 10 Michigan.
Mark your calendars for November 19, as that’s when the 2022 NCAA DI Cross Country Championships will be held at the OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Don’t forget that the championship races will be broadcast commercial-free once again on ESPNU.