By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After winning the national championship in the 35th annual NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships, the Thunderbirds of British Columbia find themselves as the No. 1 team in the postseason 2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Thunderbirds received 498 points and all 18 first-place votes on their way to the top spot.
This release is the eighth-straight edition the newly-crowned 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.
At Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan., on Nov. 22, British Columbia put on a precise performance to capture the national title. The Thunderbirds have now won three-consecutive banners, joining fellow Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) member Cal State San Marcos as the last team to accomplish such a feat. The A.I.I. now owns the last six team national titles.
Leading the British Columbia charge in the 5-kilometer championship was NAIA All-American Maria Bernard – who finished third at the event last year – and took home the 2014 individual championship with a time of 17:03. The Thunderbirds flew away from the 36 other competing teams by placing three runners in the top four, and all five countable competitors finished in the top 29.
This is the third championship in school history for British Columbia.
Coming in at No. 2 is Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) with 482 points. The Warriors jumped two spots from No. 4 thanks to a runner-up team finish in the national championships. Rachel Cundy was the highest finisher for Lewis-Clark State, coming in 15th-place with a time of 18:22. The Warriors finished with a team score of 141 – 40 points ahead of third-place Northwest Christian (Ore.).
Rounding out the rest of the top five is third-ranked Northwest Christian (466 points), No. 4 Carroll (Mont.) (450 points) and No. 5 Dordt (Iowa) (434 points).
Three new school’s entered the rating after the national championships – No. 16 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), No. 23 St. Ambrose (Iowa) and No. 25 Tennessee Wesleyan.
Within the Top 25, eleventh-ranked Oregon Tech makes the claim for highest riser in the poll, jumping up from No. 18. No. 22 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) fell the furthest of any school, dropping twelve positions.
Fourteen conferences, associations of independent institutions and unaffiliated groups are represented in the poll, highlighted by four teams from the Cascade Collegiate Conference. The Golden State Athletic Conference and Sooner Athletic Conference are tied for second with three teams in the rating each.
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.
Notes: (all information dates back to 1999) British Columbia claimed No. 1 for the eight-consecutive release… The Thunderbirds finished 2014 in the top spot, and were ranked No.1 all season in 2013 on the way to the national championship… No. 5 Dordt (Iowa) was previously ranked second for four-straight editions before dropping this week. 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. 2 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) has been ranked among the Top 25 for an active streak of 134-consecutive polls, dating back to Sept. 21, 2001.
2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Postseason (Dec. 3
|RANK||LAST^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||FINAL POINTS|
|1||1||British Columbia (18)||498|
|2||4||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||482|
|3||3||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||466|
|7||5||Cal State San Marcos||402|
|12||8||Shawnee State (Ohio)||322|
|13||15||The Master's (Calif.)||306|
|14||13||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||290|
|16||RV||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||258|
|17||22||College of Idaho||242|
|20||17||St. Francis (Ill.)||194|
|22||10||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||160|
|23||RV||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||143|
Others Receiving Votes: Indiana Tech, 93; Milligan (Tenn.), 79; Texas Wesleyan, 51; Columbia (Mo.), 33; Hastings (Neb.), 26; Huntington (Ind.), 15; Saint Mary (Kan.), 11; Cumberlands (Ky.), 8; Rocky Mountain (Mont.), 6; Cornerstone (Mich.), 3.
^ 2014 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Top 25 Poll – Final (Nov. 9)