By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – St. Francis (Ill.) remains atop the rankings for the eighth-straight NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The defending national champions claimed 20 first-place votes and 620 points in the sixth regular-season edition and are now tied for sixth all-time in No. 1 selections (8) with Eastern Oregon.
St. Francis’ varsity has been idle since finishing fifth among non-NCAA Division I programs at the Greater Louisville Classic, hosted by the Louisville Sports Commission, on Oct. 5. The Fighting Saints ran the 8-kilometer course in a combined 2:08:29, placing behind Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) No. 1 Guelph (Ontario), NCAA Division II No. 7 Southern Indiana and No. 9 Edinboro (Pa.) and NCAA Division III No. 2 Washington (Mo.). St. Francis will return to action on Oct. 26 at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Southern Oregon earned 600 total points and one first-place vote to claim the No. 2 ranking. The Raiders outpaced the 13-team field at the Lewis & Clark Invitational on Oct. 19 in Estacada, Ore. Southern Oregon covered the 8-kilometer course in a combined 2:06:28, as each of the Raiders scoring five finished among the top 10 individuals. Top Southern Oregon runner Eric Avila brought home the individual title with a time of 24:36, besting his nearest competitor by 30 seconds.
Aquinas (Mich.) accumulated 586 points and one first-place vote en route to the No. 3 position. The Saints have been idle since besting the 30-team NAIA Preview Meet field on Oct. 12 at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan. Aquinas ran the 8-kilometer course in a combined 2:08:38 and saw each of its scoring five finish among the top 25 individuals to outpace a field that included eight ranked teams and six teams who received votes in that week’s poll. Aquinas will have an opportunity to unseat No. 1 St. Francis this weekend at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge.
Rounding out the top five are No. 4 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and No. 5 British Columbia with 556 and 537 points, respectively. Last week, Lewis-Clark State was the first newcomer among the top five since the 2013 preseason poll after finishing second at the NAIA Preview Meet. This week, the Warriors won the Inland Empire Championships at their home course in Lewiston, Idaho, besting the nine-team field on Oct. 19. Lewis-Clark State averaged a time of 24:36.36 on the 8-kilometer course and top runner Sam Atkin finished first among collegiate runners with a time of 23:25.
Racing without its usual top two runners, British Columbia placed sixth in the seven-team non-NCAA Division I field at the Bronco Invitational, hosted by Santa Clara (Calif.) on Oct. 19 in Sunnyvale, Calif. The Thunderbirds of British Columbia were the lone NAIA team in the race.
No. 22 College of Idaho was the lone newcomer to this week’s Top 25. The Yotes have received votes in every previous poll of 2013 and were last ranked in the 2012 Postseason Poll on Nov. 22, 2012.
Northwest Christian (Ore.) dropped out of the Top 25.
Within the poll, No. 19 Oregon Tech made the largest jump, moving up two spots, while Cal State San Marcos fell one position, landing at No. 10.
Thirteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the sixth regular-season Top 25, led by four teams from the Cascade Collegiate Conference – Southern Oregon, No. 8 Eastern Oregon, No. 19 Oregon Tech and No. 22 College of Idaho. The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference and the Great Plains Athletic Conference each placed three teams among the Top 25, good for second place.
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.
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… No. 3 Aquinas (Mich.) has been ranked among the Top 25 in an NAIA-best 132 consecutive polls, dating back to Aug. 22, 2000… Following Aquinas are Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) with 79, Cal State San Marcos with 57 and Southern Oregon with 55… 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 is making its eighth appearance at No. 1… Two teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2012: St. Francis and Southern Oregon.
2013 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 6 (Oct. 23)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||St. Francis (Ill.) (20)||620|
|2||2||Southern Oregon (1)||600|
|3||3||Aquinas (Mich.) (1)||586|
|4||4||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||556|
|7||7||Shawnee State (Ohio)||492|
|10||9||Cal State San Marcos||444|
|12||12||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||416|
|14||14||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||360|
|17||17||The Master's (Calif.)||295|
|20||20||Saint Mary (Kan.)||236|
|22||RV||College of Idaho||179|
Others Receiving Votes: Dickinson State (N.D.) 125; Northwest Christian (Ore.) 121; Southwestern (Kan.) 66; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 54; Vanguard (Calif.) 44; Goshen (Ind.) 24; Cumberlands (Ky.) 20; Central Methodist (MO.) 19; Westmont (Calif.) 8; Missouri Valley 6; Taylor (Ind.) 5; Northwestern (Iowa) 5.
^ 2013 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 5