KANSAS CITY, Mo. - After winning the 2012 NAIA Men's Cross Country National Championships, St. Francis (Ill.) now sits atop of the 2012 NAIA Men's Cross Country Coaches' Top 25 Postseason Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Fighting Saints received all 16 first-place votes and notched 436 points to earn the No. 1 ranking.
The Fighting Saints had three runners place among the top 30 to tally 138 team points. Phil Rizzo led the team with an 8K time of 24:44 to finish eighth. Rizzo was followed by Mike Blaszczyk in 17th (25:10) and Brandon Carson at 18th (25:11). Rounding out the scoring for St. Francis was Dylan Reyes and Jake Ferris with a 43rd and 54th place finish, respectfully.
Falling one spot to No. 2 is Southern Oregon. The Raiders, who were ranked No. 1 all season, collected 422 points. Cal State San Marcos comes in at No. 3 with 408 points. No. 4 Oklahoma Baptist tallied 394, while No. 5 Aquinas (Mich.) round out the top five with 380 points.
Making the biggest improvement this week was Lubbock Christian (Texas) as it made an eight spot improvement, jumping from No. 17 to No. 9. Lubbock Christian finished ninth at the national championships on Nov. 17.
Joining the Top 25 are No. 10 Baker (Kan.), No. 20 Berea (Ky.), No. 22 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) and No. 25 Emmanuel (Ga.)
Falling from the rankings is Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (No. 12), Dickinson State (N.D.) (No. 23), Spring Arber (Mich.) (24) and Vanguard (Calif.) (No. 25).
Fifteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by the Cascade Collegiate Conference with four teams. Representing the Cascade are Southern Oregon, No. 11 College of Idaho, No. 14 Eastern Oregon and No. 17 Concordia (Ore.).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups.
Notes: (All information dates back to 1999) Four teams have started the season ranked No. 1 and gone on to win the national championship: Former NAIA Member Malone (Ohio) - 2007, 08 and 09; Virginia Intermont - 2005 and 06; Former NAIA Member Minot State (N.D.) - 2002; Life (Ga.) - 1999 and 2000... There has only been one program that has been able to maintain the No. 1 ranking for an entire season with Malone accomplishing the feat in 2007 and 2008... Southern Oregon has been ranked No. 1 19 times which ranks them tied for second all-time with Life...Malone has been ranked No. 1 the most with 38 selections... Aquinas (Mich.) has been ranked in the Top 25 for 125-consecutive weeks dating back to Aug. 22, 2000.
2012 NAIA Men's Cross Country Coaches Top 25 Postseason Poll
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||FINAL POINTS|
|1||2||St. Francis (Ill.) (16)||436|
|3||3||Cal State San Marcos||408|
|7||6||Shawnee State (Ohio)||352|
|8||15||The Master’s (Calif.)||338|
|9||17||Lubbock Christian (Texas)||324|
|11||9||College of Idaho||296|
|12||7||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||282|
|15||19||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||240|
|22||RV||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||141|
Others receiving votes: Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 68; Dickinson State (N.D.) 54; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 37; St. Ambrose (Iowa) 32; Oregon Tech 32; Vanguard (Calif.) 22; Columbia (Mo.) 19; Cumberlands (Ky.) 13; William Jessup (Calif.) 7; York (Neb.) 5; Northwest Christian (Ore.) 4.