“It is definitely an honor to be ranked No. 1,” Cal State San Marcos head women’s cross country coach Steve Scott said. “That also carries a lot of expectations with it. I think we have a very good team, equal to and as strong as last year, but in the end it all has to come together on the day and that’s the challenge. If we are able to hold at No. 1 all the way though the season, it will be a lot of pressure, but that is a part of it. I really believe that our team can respond, but on the day, anything can happen.”
Second-ranked Azusa Pacific (Calif.) earned 481 points and one first-place nod. Fellow Golden State Athletic Conference member Biola (Calif.) checked in at No. 3 with 459 points. The final first-place vote was awarded to fourth-ranked Southern Oregon for 458 points. No. 5 College of Idaho rounds out the top-five squads with 426 points.
Seventeen teams retained a spot among the Top 25 from the final poll of 2010, while eight new programs garnered national recognition. No. 11 Concordia (Neb.) is the highest ranked squad of those that were previously unranked. After placing 22nd at the 2010 NAIA Cross Country National Championships, Viterbo (Wis.) starts the 2011 season at No. 20. Shawnee State (Ohio) is ranked 23rd after finishing 25th at the National Championships.
Twelve conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by five squads from the Cascade Collegiate Conference. Hailing from the CCC are Southern Oregon, College of Idaho, No. 8 Concordia (Ore.), No. 17 Northwest Christian (Ore.) and No. 19 Eastern Oregon. The Great Plains Athletic Conference boasts a trio of ranked teams in Concordia (Neb.), No. 15 Morningside (Iowa) and No. 24 Dordt (Iowa).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups. The first regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced on Sept. 14.
Notes: (All information dates back to 1999) Seven different programs have garnered the preseason No. 1-ranking, led by former NAIA member Simon Fraser (B.C.), who earned six preseason No. 1-rankings … Simon Fraser is the only team that has started the season ranked No. 1 and gone on to win the national championship, doing so in 2004, 05, 06 and 07 … Cal State San Marcos has held the top-spot for four-straight polls dating back to Oct. 27, 2010 … There have been four seasons in which a squad held the No. 1-ranking for an entire season: 2007 – Simon Fraser, 2006 – Simon Fraser, 2005 – Simon Fraser and 2003 – Northwest (Wash.) … Only two schools have an active streak of 50-or more appearances in the Top 25, led by No. 16 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) with 94 dating back to Sept. 21, 2001, and No. 2 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) with 74, dating back to Oct. 3, 2003.
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Cal State San Marcos (16)||497|
|2||3||Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (1)||481|
|4||10||Southern Oregon (1)||458|
|5||13||College of Idaho||426|
|7||17||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||393|
|12||6||Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)||306|
|16||20||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||256|
|17||RV||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||239|
|21||NR||The Master's (Calif.)||165|
|21||RV||Spring Arbor (Mich.)||165|
|23||RV||Shawnee State (Ohio)||108|
|25||RV||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||96|
Others receiving votes: Westmont (Calif.) 90; Shorter (Ga.) 77; Cornerstone (Mich.) 74; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 71; Baker (Kan.) 65; Taylor (Ind.) 44; Oklahoma Christian 27; Northwestern (Iowa) 27; Park (Mo.) 16; Southwestern (Kan.) 11; Houghton (N.Y.) 10; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 6; Lee (Tenn.) 6; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 3; Holy Names (Calif.) 1; Vanguard (Calif.) 1; Trinity Christian (Ill.) 1.
^ 2010 NAIA Women's Cross Country Coaches' Top 25 Final Poll