By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Defending national champion St. Francis (Ill.) remains atop the rankings in the 2013 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 poll, the national office announced Wednesday. St. Francis’ selection—with 19 first place votes and 560 total points—gives the Fighting Saints consecutive No. 1 rankings for the first time in school history.
The Fighting Saints return four of their top five runners, two of whom placed in the top 30 at the 2012 NAIA Cross Country National Championships and earned All-America honors: Mike Blaszcyk (23rd) and Brandon Carson (24th). St. Francis is the only school to return multiple All-Americans this season.
Southern Oregon, who was ranked No. 1 for all of the 2012 regular season, accumulated 542 total points to claim the No. 2 ranking. The Raiders will have something to prove in the early going after losing All-Americans Tyler VanDyke (19th) and Scott McIntyre (22nd).
Aquinas (Mich.) received the remaining first place vote and accrued 505 points en route to the No. 3 spot. The Saints return All-American Grant Gunneson, who finished 20th at the 2012 national championship.
No. 4 British Columbia, with 501 points, and No. 5 Shawnee State (Ohio), with 486 points, round out the top five. Adam Schroeder, of Shawnee State, is the sole returning All-American for these squads after finishing 27th at the 2012 national championship.
No. 6 Oklahoma Baptist welcomes back Adam Godwin, the returner who posted the highest finish at the 2012 national championship. Godwin finished 10th, earning All-America honors.
No. 15 Oklahoma City, No. 16 Arizona Christian, No. 17 Dickinson State (N.D.), No. 19 Oregon Tech, No. 20 Cumberlands (Ky.), No. 21 Vanguard (Calif.), No. 22 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and No. 24 Missouri Valley were newcomers to the Top 25. Each school—other than Oklahoma City and Missouri Valley—was ranked among the Top 25 in multiple polls in 2012. This is the first Top 25 ranking for both Oklahoma City and Missouri Valley.
Former-member Lubbock Christian (Texas), Baker (Kan.), College of Idaho, Wayland Baptist (Texas), Cornerstone (Mich.), Berea (Ky.), Carroll (Mont.) and Emmanuel (Ga.) dropped out of the Top 25.
Within the poll, No. 12 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) made the largest jump, moving up 10 spots, while Indiana Wesleyan fell nine spots, landing at No. 25.
Fourteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the Preseason Top 25, led by four from the Cascade Collegiate Conference—Southern Oregon, No. 11 Concordia (Ore.), No. 13 Eastern Oregon and Oregon Tech—and three from the Golden State Athletic Conference—No. 9 The Master’s (Calif.), Arizona Christian and Vanguard.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. For the entire 2013 Coaches' Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
The first regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced Sept. 18.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 1999) No. 1 St. Francis (Ill.) is trying to become the fifth school in NAIA history to begin the season ranked No. 1 and go on to win the national championship… Life (Ga.) in 1999 and 2000, former-member Minot State (N.D.) in 2002, Virginia Intermont in 2005 and 06 and former-member Malone (Ohio) in 2007, 08 and 09 have all accomplished this… Since 1999, only one program has been ranked No. 1 for an entire season: Malone in 2007 and 08... St. Francis becomes just the seventh program to receive the preseason No. 1 ranking… Last year’s preseason No. 1, Southern Oregon, was No. 1 in nine polls throughout the season, ended the 2012 season at No. 2 and also opens the 2013 season at No. 2… No. 3 Aquinas (Mich.) has been ranked among the Top 25 in 126 consecutive polls, dating back to Aug. 22, 2000… Former-member Malone has the most No. 1 rankings with 38… Following Malone are Southern Oregon with 20, Life (Ga.) with 18 and Virginia Intermont with 15… Overall, 16 different programs have claimed the No. 1 spot in the poll… St. Francis has previously been ranked No. 1 on just one occasion, in the 2012 postseason poll… Two teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2012: St. Francis and Southern Oregon.
2013 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 28)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||St. Francis (Ill.) (19)||560|
|3||5||Aquinas (Mich.) (1)||505|
|5||7||Shawnee State (Ohio)||486|
|8||15||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||418|
|9||3||Cal State San Marcos||394|
|9||8||The Master's (Calif.)||394|
|12||22||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||367|
|17||RV||Dickinson State (N.D.)||236|
Others Receiving Votes: Northwest Christian (Ore.) 91; Emmanuel (Ga.) 88; Carroll (Mont.) 71; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 63; Dordt (Iowa) 57; Saint Xavier (Ill.) 53; Park (Mo.) 41; Siena Heights (Mich.) 32; Tennessee Wesleyan 28; College of Idaho 22; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 16; Central Methodist (Mo.) 9; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 8; Saint Mary (Kan.) 5; Mount Mercy (Iowa) 5; Rio Grande (Ohio) 3.
^ 2012 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll