KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Azusa Pacific (Calif.) claimed the No. 1 spot in the final regular-season edition of the 2011 NAIA Women's Cross Country Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Cougars recorded 18 of 23 possible first-place votes for 649 points. They have occupied the top spot for all seven regular-season polls after being listed second in the preseason installment. Azusa Pacific's seven-week span at No. 1 is its first since the 2009 season when the Cougars occupied the top spot for eight-straight polls.
A theme of consistency dominated the poll as the top 11 and 14 total teams retained their previous position among the Top 25. For the second-straight week, the top-five squads were No. 2 Cal State San Marcos (636 points), No. 3 British Columbia (592 points), No. 4 College of Idaho (583 points) and No. 5 Friends (Kan.) (573 points). Cal State San Marcos also picked up the five remaining first-place nods.
Ten teams shuffled throughout the poll with eight of those moving by two or more spots. Making the highest stride forward was Aquinas (Mich.), leapfrogging six spots from No. 24 to 18. The Saints placed fourth with 196 points in the 30-team field at the NAIA Great Lakes Invitational on Oct. 22. They finished ahead of then-No. 13 Saint Xavier (Ill.) and then-No. 17 Taylor (Ind.), who placed sixth and seventh, respectively. The outings by Saint Xavier and Taylor forced them back in the poll and were the steepest falls experienced. Saint Xavier moved to 21st and Taylor checked in at No. 24.
Shawnee State (Ohio) returned to the Top 25 for the first time since being listed 23rd in the preseason announcement, landing at No. 16. The Bears replace Rocky Mountain (Mont.), who was ranked 22nd a week ago.
Thirteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) and Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) with four ranked teams each. Representing the GSAC are Azusa Pacific, No. 8 Biola (Calif.), No. 12 Westmont (Calif.) and No. 13 The Master's (Calif.). Hailing from the CCC are College of Idaho, No. 7 Northwest Christian (Ore.), No. 9 Concordia (Ore.) and No. 22 Southern Oregon.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups. The final poll of the 2011 season will be released on Nov. 6 by 7 p.m. CST.
Team and individual qualifiers for the 2011 NAIA Women's Cross Country National Championships will be announced Nov. 7 by 5 p.m. CST. The 32nd annual event will take place at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash., on Nov. 19. For more information on the NAIA Women's Cross Country National Championships, please click here.
Notes: (All information dates back to 1999) There have been 32 different teams that have spent at least one week on the poll, with 18 of those squads appearing on all eight installments … Azusa Pacific’s 17 No. 1-rankings is tied for third all-time with Northwest (Wash.) … Former NAIA members Simon Fraser (B.C.) and Cedarville (Ohio) top the list with 40 and 18 No. 1 appearances, respectively … 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 … No. 14 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) is the only school that has made 100 or more consecutive appearances in the Top 25 with 101, dating back to Sept. 21, 2001 … Azusa Pacific is a distant second with 81 straight, dating back to Oct. 3, 2003.
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (18)||649|
|2||2||Cal State San Marcos (5)||636|
|4||4||College of Idaho||583|
|6||6||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||567|
|7||7||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||523|
|13||12||The Master's (Calif.)||370|
|14||14||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||361|
|16||RV||Shawnee State (Ohio)||338|
|19||21||Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.)||257|
|21||13||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||221|
Others receiving votes: Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 106; Eastern Oregon 101; Viterbo (Wis.) 84; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 61; Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 50; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 25; Northwestern (Iowa) 24; Trinity Christian (Ill.) 19; Texas Wesleyan 11; Cornerstone (Mich.) 6; Huntington (Ind.) 3; Shorter (Ga.) 3; Park (Mo.) 1; Cumberlands (Ky.) 1; Vanguard (Calif.) 1; Xavier (La.) 1.