By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the fifth-straight release of the 2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, British Columbia is the No. 1 squad, the national office announced Wednesday. The defending national champions collected 622 points and all 22 first-place votes for the third-consecutive week on the way to another top spot.
The Thunderbirds have put a tight grasp on the No. 1 position since reclaiming it on Sept. 24, as the team looks to carry the ranking through the end of the season just as it did in 2013. Last year, British Columba recorded 12-straight No. 1 rankings and the national championship.
The top-ranked team finished fourth against stiff NCAA competition on Oct. 18 in the Santa Clara University Bronco Invitational in Sunnyvale, Calif., which was won by NCAA Division I Oklahoma State. The Thunderbirds were the top-scoring non-NCAA program in the race – led by NAIA All-American Maria Bernard – who finished the 6-kilometer track in 20:24.
Holding steady at No. 2 is Dordt (Iowa) with 595 points. It is the second-straight week Defenders have found themselves in second, which dating back to 1999, is the highest ranking in school history.
Led by Kayla Byl’s 14th-place finish in the team’s last outing on Oct. 11, Dordt squeaked out a victory in the NAIA National Preview at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan.
Next on the schedule for the Defenders is the Mount Marty Invite in Yankton, S.D.
The rest of the top five includes third-ranked Northwest Christian (Ore.), amassing 580 points, followed by No. 4 Taylor (Ind.) with 547 points. Coming in at No. 5 is Cal State San Marcos which earned 542 points.
The top-four schools stood pat in their positions from last week’s poll.
No. 6 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) is the biggest riser in the rankings this week, moving up from No. 10. Thirteenth-ranked Biola (Calif.) continues to slide and is dropped further than any team, falling from No. 9.
Columbia (Mo.) finds a spot at No. 25, and is the only new team to join this edition of the Top 25.
Thirteen conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups are represented in the poll, highlighted by four teams from the Cascade Collegiate Conference. The Golden State Athletic Conference and the Sooner Athletic Conference are tied for second with three teams in the rankings.
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 seventh regular season edition of the Top 25 poll will be revealed Oct. 29.
Notes: (all information dates back to 1999) Make it five-consecutive No. 1s for British Columbia… The Thunderbirds were ranked No.1 all season in 2013 on the way to the national championship… Dordt’s (Iowa) No. 2 rating is the highest in program history, and second-straight week in that spot… No. 13 Biola (Calif.) has been ranked in the top 15 for 80-straight 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. 6 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) has been ranked among the Top 25 for an active streak of 131-consecutive polls, dating back to Sept. 21, 2001.
2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No 6 (Oct. 22)
|RANK||LAST^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||FINAL POINTS|
|1||1||British Columbia (22)||622|
|3||3||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||580|
|5||8||Cal State San Marcos||542|
|6||10||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||508|
|10||13||The Master's (Calif.)||424|
|12||11||St. Francis (Ill.)||399|
|14||15||College of Idaho||365|
|15||14||Shawnee State (Ohio)||352|
|16||17||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||343|
|17||16||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||310|
|22||22||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||201|
Others Receiving Votes: Judson (Ill.), 100; Huntington (Ind.), 74; Tennessee Wesleyan, 73; Concordia (Ore.), 60; Rocky Mountain (Mont.), 59; Cornerstone (Mich.), 23; Milligan (Tenn.), 19; Texas Wesleyan, 12; Arizona Christian, 11; Cumberlands (Ky.), 6; Corban (Ore.), 6; Indiana Tech, 3.
^ 2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Top 25 Poll – No 5 (Oct. 15)