By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Thunderbirds of British Columbia find themselves as the No. 1 team in the final 2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Sunday. The Thunderbirds received 591 points and all 21 first-place votes on their way to the top spot. The qualifiers for the 35th annual NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships will be announced on Monday by 5 p.m. CDT.
Today marks the seventh-consecutive release the defending national champions are the top team, dating back to Sept. 24. Last year, British Columba recorded 12-straight No. 1 rankings en route to the national championship.
British Columbia has set itself up nicely to mirror the school’s 2013 efforts by dominating the competition at the Association of Independent Institutions Championships in Clinton, Iowa, on Saturday. The Thunderbirds placed seven athletes in the top 10, finishing with 18 points. Conference rival No. 5 Cal State San Marcos finished second.
Individually, NAIA All-American Maria Bernard won her second-straight conference crown, finishing the six-kilometer course in a time of 17:02.
Up next for British Columbia is the 2014 NAIA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 22 at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan., where the top-ranked squad looks to win three-straight national titles.
For the fourth-straight edition, Dordt (Iowa) comes in at No. 2, taking home 570 points. Dating back to 1999, the second position is the highest ranking in school history.
The Defenders flexed their muscles in the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday by running away with the team title. Dordt completed the 5-K race with 26 total points and a combined team time of 1:31:27 (18:17 average).
Kayla Byl ran an 18:01 and finished in second-place. The Defenders also claimed spots two through five and had six runners finish in the top eight.
Finishing out the rest of the top five is third-ranked Northwest Christian (Ore.) (555 points), No. 4 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (519 points) and No. 5 Cal State San Marcos (511 points).
Only five teams are ranked in the same slot as the Oct. 29th poll, and no new school entered the Top 25.
No. 9 Taylor (Ind.) claims the title of biggest positive mover this week, jumping up from No. 15. Both No. 21 Biola (Calif.) and No. 22 College of Idaho fell the furthest of any school, dropping eight spots.
Thirteen conferences, associations of independent institutions and unaffiliated groups are represented in the poll, highlighted by four teams from the Cascade Collegiate Conference and the Sooner Athletic Conference. The Golden State Athletic Conference is second with three teams in the rating.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of coaches representing each of the conferences, association of independent institutions and unaffiliated groups. For the entire 2014 Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
The postseason edition of the Top 25 poll will be revealed Nov. 26.
Notes: (all information dates back to 1999) British Columbia claimed No. 1 for the seventh-straight week… The Thunderbirds were ranked No.1 all season in 2013 on the way to the national championship… Dordt (Iowa) is ranked No. 2 for the fourth-consecutive poll, the highest rating in school history… No. 21 Biola (Calif.) had been ranked in the top 15 for 81-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. 4 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) has been ranked among the Top 25 for an active streak of 133-consecutive polls, dating back to Sept. 21, 2001.
2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Final (Nov. 9)
|RANK||LAST^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||FINAL POINTS|
|1||1||British Columbia (21)||591|
|3||4||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||555|
|4||7||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||519|
|5||3||Cal State San Marcos||511|
|8||8||Shawnee State (Ohio)||461|
|10||10||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||422|
|13||17||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||354|
|15||16||The Master's (Calif.)||321|
|17||18||St. Francis (Ill.)||283|
|22||14||College of Idaho||186|
Others Receiving Votes: Hastings (Neb.), 98; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), 94; Tennessee Wesleyan, 73; Cumberlands (Ky.), 56; Columbia (Mo.), 53; Rocky Mountain (Mont.), 52; Huntington (Ind.), 40; Doane (Neb.), 10; Cornerstone (Mich.), 7; St. Ambrose (Iowa), 6; Concordia (Ore.), 3.
^ 2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Top 25 Poll – No 7 (Oct. 29)