By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A changing of the guard took place in the second 2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll of the regular season, as British Columbia overtook Biola (Calif.) as the No. 1-ranked team, the national office announced Wednesday.
The Thunderbirds made the jump from No. 3 to the top-spot by earning 576 points and collecting 10 first-place votes. British Columbia, the 2013 national champion, is back in a familiar position. Last season, the team went wire-to-wire with 12-straight No. 1 selections.
The Thunderbirds can thank a ferocious start to the season for their leap to No. 1. On Sept. 20, British Columbia ran away with the team title in its season-opening race at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle, Wash. NAIA All-American Maria Bernard won the 6-kilometer race in a school-record 20:37.
Coming in at No. 2 is Biola (Calif.). The Eagles received 574 points and eight first-place votes. The Eagles lost their hold on No. 1 despite continuing to win events. Biola took first out of eight teams in the Division I San Diego State Aztec Invitational on Sept. 20. It was the first time since 2011 the school took home the title in the event.
No. 3 Dordt (Iowa), who received three first-place votes and 564 points, fell one spot from last week’s Top 25. The Defenders tasted victory on Sept. 20 in the Dakota Wesleyan Invitational in Mitchell, S.D. Dordt put together a dominant performance by placing five competitors in the top six.
It’s a tight race at the top of the poll, as the top three teams in the rankings are separated by 12 points.
Coming in fourth is Northwest Christian (Ore.) with 508 points, and rounding out the top five is Carroll (Mont.) (499), who climbed up from No. 7.
Three new schools make an appearance in this week’s Top 25, as No. 20 Oregon Tech, No. 21 Oklahoma City and No. 23 Concordia (Neb.) all enter the rankings.
Quite a bit of shuffling occurred within the Top 25, as six programs moved up two slots from their respective places from the Sept. 17 release. No. 25 Southern Oregon dropped 10 positions from last week, the most of any school.
Twelve conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups are represented in the poll, led by four teams from the Cascade Collegiate Conference – No. 4 Northwest Christian (Ore.), No. 15 College of Idaho, Oregon Tech and Southern Oregon .The Golden State Athletic Conference and the Sooner Athletic Conference are second with three programs each.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. For the entire 2014 Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
The third regular season edition of the Top 25 poll will be Oct. 1.
Notes: (all information dates back to 1999) British Columbia is back at the top for the first time since the 2013 Coaches’ Postseason Poll on Nov. 27, when the school ran off 12-straight No. 1s… Biola has been rated in the top 15 for 76-consecutive ratings going back to Aug. 22, 2007… 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 … No. 11 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) has been ranked among the Top 25 for an active 127-consecutive polls, dating back to Sept. 21, 2001.
2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No 2 (Sept. 24)
|RANK||LAST^||SCHOOL (1st PLACE VOTES)||FINAL POINTS|
|1||3||British Columbia (10)||576|
|2||1||Biola (Calif.) (8)||574|
|3||2||Dordt (Iowa) (3)||564|
|4||6||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||508|
|6||5||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||491|
|9||10||Shawnee State (Ohio)||442|
|10||11||Cal State San Marcos||441|
|11||4||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||435|
|12||12||St. Francis (Ill.)||379|
|13||13||The Master's (Calif.)||361|
|15||16||College of Idaho||327|
|22||20||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||178|
Others Receiving Votes: Judson (Ill.) 96; Columbia (Mo.) 84; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 78; Doane (Neb.) 67; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 47; Milligan (Tenn.) 28; Huntington (Ind.) 26; Concordia (Ore.) 21; Jamestown (N.D.) 16; William Woods (Mo.) 11; Benedictine (Kan.) 10; Marian (Ind.) 9; Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 7; Cumberlands (Ky.) 6; Trinity Christian (Ill.) 6; Siena Heights (Mich.) 4; Point (Ga.) 3.
^ 2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Preseason Top 25 Poll on Sept. 17