By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Defending national champion British Columbia remains atop the rankings in the 2013 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 poll, the national office announced Wednesday. British Columbia’s selection—with 20 first place votes and 591 total points—gives the Thunderbirds three-straight No. 1 rankings for the first time in school history.
The Thunderbirds return four of their top five runners, three of whom placed in the top 30 at the 2012 NAIA Cross Country National Championships and earned All-America honors: Maria Bernard (6th), Jackie Regan (7th) and Amelie De Fenoyl (27th).
College of Idaho, who returns 2012 individual titlist Hillary Holt, received the other first place vote and accumulated 571 total points en route to the No. 2 ranking. The Yotes return their top three runners in Holt, Sarah Johnson (9th) and Sora Klopfenstein (10th), all of whom finished in the top 10 at the 2012 national championship and earned All-America honors.
No. 3 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) with 548 points, No. 4 Cal State San Marcos with 534 points and No. 5 Carroll (Mont.) with 515 points round out the top five. Rhianna Grossman, for Carroll, and Kathryn Dean, for Olivet Nazarene, are the returning All-Americans for these squads after finishing 22nd and 29th, respectively, at the 2012 national championship.
No. 16 Southern Oregon, No. 22 Taylor (Ind.) and No. 23 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) were newcomers to the Top 25 after all receiving votes in the 2012 postseason poll. Each school was ranked among the Top 25 in multiple polls last season. Eastern Oregon, St. Ambrose (Iowa) and Embry-Riddle (Fla.) dropped out of the Top 25.
Within the poll, No. 10 The Master’s (Calif.) made the largest jump, moving up 15 spots, while Concordia (Calif.) fell 13 spots, landing at No. 24.
Thirteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the Preseason Top 25, led by four from the Golden State Athletic Conference—The Master’s, No. 12 Biola (Calif.), No. 17 Westmont (Calif.), and Concordia (Calif.)—and four from the Cascade Collegiate Conference—College of Idaho, No. 13 Northwest Christian (Ore.), Southern Oregon, and No. 20 Concordia (Ore.).
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 British Columbia is trying to become just the third school in NAIA history to begin the season ranked No. 1 and go on to win the national championship... Former-member Simon Fraser (B.C.) accomplished this in 2004, 05, 06 and 07 and No. 4 Cal State San Marcos did so in 2011... Since 1999, only two programs have been ranked No. 1 for an entire season: Simon Fraser in 2005, 06, and 07 and Northwest (Wash.) in 2003... Last year’s preseason No. 1, Cal State San Marcos, was No. 1 in six polls throughout the season, ended the 2012 season at No. 4 and also opens the 2013 season at No. 4… No. 15 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) has been ranked among the Top 25 in 115 consecutive polls, dating back to Sept. 21, 2001... During that streak Lewis-Clark State has never been ranked among the top five teams… Former-member Simon Fraser 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… British Columbia has previously been ranked No. 1 on just four occasions, all coming last season… Two teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2012: British Columbia and Cal State San Marcos.
2013 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 28)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||British Columbia (20)||591|
|2||2||College of Idaho (1)||571|
|3||3||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||548|
|4||4||Cal State San Marcos||534|
|9||12||St. Francis (Ill.)||432|
|10||25||The Master's (Calif.)||421|
|11||21||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||380|
|13||14||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||372|
|15||8||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||324|
|23||RV||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||147|
|25||24||Shawnee State (Ohio)||129|
Others Receiving Votes: St. Ambrose (Iowa) 112; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 108; Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 97; Eastern Oregon 57; Indiana Wesleyan 56; Cumberlands (Ky.) 46; Doane (Neb.) 38; Texas Wesleyan 31; Central Methodist (Mo.) 26; Saint Xavier (Ill.) 25; Friends (Kan.) 19; Arizona Christian 3; Mount Mercy (Iowa) 3.
^ 2012 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll