By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Biola (Calif.) claims the No. 1 ranking in the 2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Eagles, who are making their eighth all-time appearance atop the poll and first since Oct. 20, 2010, received 12 first-place votes and 580 total points.
Biola returns four of its top five runners from a 2013 squad that finished third overall at the 2013 NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships. Senior Carrie Soholt and junior Kellian Hunt headline the quartet after claiming All-America honors with a 14th and 24th-place finish, respectively, a year ago. The Eagles open the season Saturday at the Redlands Invitational in Redlands, Calif.
Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) checks in at No. 2 – the highest ranking in program history dating back to 2000 – with six first-place votes and 573 points. Similar to Biola, the Warriors return a pair of All-Americans in Alyssa Rapovy and Rachel Cundy. Rapovy was the squad’s top finisher at last year’s championships, claiming ninth-place with a 5K time of 18:11.30.
No. 3 Dordt (Iowa) with one first-place vote and 546 points, No. 4 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) with 521 points and No. 5 Northwest Christian (Ore.) with two first-place votes and 514 points round out the top five, respectively. Each of the three squads return one All-American from 2013 – Lauren Opp of Dordt, Sarah Ray of Olivet Nazarene and Allison Duvenez of Northwest Christian.
Six new teams joined the Top 25 – No. 13 Southern Oregon, No. 14 Wayland Baptist (Texas), No. 17 Concordia (Ore.), No. 20 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 22 Aquinas (Mich.) and No. 24 Cumberlands (Ky.). Among the group, only Wayland Baptist and Cumberlands were not ranked in 2013. The ranking is the first for the Pioneers since Sept. 29, 2010, while Cumberlands’ last Top 25 mention came in 2012.
Within the poll, No. 11 Cornerstone (Mich.) made the largest jump, moving up nine spots, while defending national runner-up College of Idaho fell 21 places to No. 23.
Twelve of the 23 conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups are represented in the poll, led by four teams from the Cascade Collegiate Conference – Northwest Christian, Southern Oregon, Concordia and College of Idaho. The Golden State Athletic Conference and the unaffiliated group containing the Frontier Conference and North Star Athletic Association are second with three programs each.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. For teams to be eligible for the national rating, the league’s appointed rater must submit a conference ballot within the approved timeline. For the entire 2013 Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule (conference and national), click here.
The first regular-season edition will be announced on Sept. 17.
Notes: (all information dates back to 1999) No. 1 Biola is receiving its first top-spot since Oct. 20, 2010 … The Eagles own eight all-time No. 1s, with seven of the eight mentions coming during the 2010 season … Former-member Simon Fraser (B.C.) has the most all-time No. 1 rankings with 40 … Following Simon Fraser are former-members Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and Cedarville (Ohio) with 18 each … Overall, 11 different programs have claimed the No. 1 spot in the poll … British Columbia was the only team to hold the No. 1 ranking in 2013 … No. 2 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) has been ranked among the Top 25 for 125-consecutive polls, dating back to Sept. 21, 2011 … This is second top five ranking for the Warriors during that streak … No. 14 Wayland Baptist (Texas) is making its first appearance in the poll since Sept. 29, 2010.
2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (August 27)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||3||Biola (Calif.) (12)||580|
|2||4||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (6)||573|
|3||6||Dordt (Iowa) (1)||546|
|4||5||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||521|
|5||9||Northwest Christian (Ore.) (2)||514|
|8||13||Shawnee State (Ohio)||452|
|9||12||St. Francis (Ill.)||419|
|10||14||The Master’s (Calif.)||404|
|14||RV||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||312|
|18||24||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||219|
|19||23||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||215|
|23||2||College of Idaho||180|
|25||25||William Woods (Mo.)||136|
Others Receiving Votes: SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 135; Indiana Tech 114; Benedictine (Kan.) 79; College of Saint Mary (Neb.) 72; Texas Wesleyan 60; Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 52; Oregon Tech 38; Tennessee Wesleyan 26; Brenau (Ga.) 22; Concordia (Neb.) 11; Central Methodist (Mo.) 11; Columbia (Mo.) 10; Simpson (Calif.) 9; Marian (Ind.) 8; Jamestown (N.D.) 7; Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 5; Brescia (Ky.) 4; Point (Ga.) 3; Corban (Ore.) 3.
^ 2013 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Postseason Top 25 Poll on Nov. 27
Note – Schools within the Association of Independent Institutions were ineligible for the national poll due to a failure to submit a conference rating within the approved timeline