KANSAS CITY, Mo. -Azusa Pacific (Calif.) garnered the No. 1-ranking in the first regular-season edition of the 2011 NAIA Women's Cross Country Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Cougars were awarded 15 first place-votes for 616 points. It is the first time since the final poll of the 2009 season that Azusa Pacific has occupied the top spot in the poll.
Preseason No. 1 and two-time defending national champion Cal State San Marcos slipped to No. 2, receiving seven first-place nods for 604 points. The Cougars took fourth of 16 competing teams, including Azusa Pacific, at the Concordia (Calif.) Invitational on Sept. 10. Cal State San Marcos had just two runners finish in the top 25 and totaled 118 team points, while Azusa Pacific placed all five runners in the top 25 for 59 points.
The top-five teams are rounded out by third-ranked Biola (Calif.) (585 points), fourth-ranked College of Idaho (563 points) and fifth-ranked Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) (518 points).
Newcomers to the poll include Westmont (Calif.) and Taylor (Ind.). The Warriors check in at No. 17 for their first appearance since being ranked 24th in the Oct. 13, 2010 poll. It is their highest ranking since the final poll of the 2007 season when they were listed 14th. No. 23 Taylor snaps a 15-poll absence dating back to Oct. 14, 2009 when the Trojans were tied for No. 23. The duo replaces previously-ranked No. 21 Spring Arbor (Mich.) and No. 23 Shawnee State (Ohio).
Eleven conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by five squads from the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) and Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). Hailing from the CCC are College of Idaho, No. 7 Concordia (Ore.), No. 8 Southern Oregon, No. 15 Northwest Christian (Ore.) and No. 20 Eastern Oregon. Representing the GSAC are Azusa Pacific, Biola, No. 14 The Master’s (Calif.), Westmont and No. 25 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups. The next Top 25 poll will be announced on Sept. 21.
Notes: (All information dates back to 1999) Azusa Pacific’s (Calif.) return to No. 1 marks the 11th top billing for the Cougars … Former NAIA member Simon Fraser (B.C.) owns the most No. 1-rankings with 40 … Azusa Pacific snapped Cal State San Marcos’ streak of four consecutive No. 1-rankings dating back to Oct. 27, 2010 … 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 … 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. 19 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) with 95 dating back to Sept. 21, 2001, and Azusa Pacific with 75, dating back to Oct. 3, 2003.
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (15)||616|
|2||1||Cal State San Marcos (7)||604|
|4||5||College of Idaho||563|
|5||7||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||518|
|14||21||The Master's (Calif.)||360|
|15||17||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||341|
|19||16||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||224|
|22||25||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||198|
|25||12||Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)||165|
Others receiving votes: Shawnee State (Ohio) 112; Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.) 67; Milligan (Tenn.) 66; Oklahoma Christian 49; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 47; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 40; Baker (Kan.) 34; Shorter (Ga.) 25; Doane (Neb.) 16; Texas Wesleyan 16; St. Francis (Ill.) 11; Cornerstone (Mich.) 9; Cumberlands (Ky.) 7; Park (Mo.) 6; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 3; Trinity Christian (Ill.) 1; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 1; Vanguard (Calif.) 1; Holy Names (Calif.) 1; Lee (Tenn.) 1; Southwestern (Kan.) 1; Central Methodist (Mo.) 1.