By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — British Columbia remains atop the rankings in the fourth regular-season NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 poll, the national office announced Wednesday. British Columbia’s selection—with all 23 first-place votes and 653 total points—gives the defending national champion Thunderbirds a program-record seven-straight No. 1 rankings.
Prior to its current streak, British Columbia had been ranked No. 1 on just two prior occasions—both during the 2012 season. The Thunderbirds, who return four of their top five runners from last year’s national championship squad, bested the 19-team field at the 39th Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational, hosted by NCAA Division III Willamette (Ore.), on Oct. 5 in Salem, Ore.
British Columbia brought home the team title among NAIA, Junior College, Club and Unattached runners in the Gold Division, but the team’s average 5-kilometer time of 17:48.6 would have also topped the Cardinal Division made up of NCAA Division I, Division II and Division III programs. Five Thunderbirds placed among the top 10 racers, including four among the top five. All of the British Columbia runners, led by individual titlist Maria Bernard with a time of 17:23.90, finished within the top 15.
College of Idaho accumulated 629 total points en route to the No. 2 ranking. The Yotes, who return three runners that placed in the top 10 at the 2012 national championship including individual titlist Hillary Holt, finished fourth at the Rim Rock Collegiate Classic, hosted by NCAA Division I Kansas, on Oct. 5 in Lawrence, Kan. College of Idaho ran a combined 6-kilometer time of 1:52:04, placing behind NCAA Division I programs Michigan, Kansas and Kansas State. Holt placed fifth, with a time of 21:05.95, behind four runners from No. 16-ranked Michigan.
Cal State San Marcos compiled 612 total points to claim the No. 3 spot. The Cougars outpaced the 12-team field at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, hosted by NCAA Division III Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.), on Oct. 5 in Claremont, Calif. Cal State San Marcos ran a combined 6-kilometer time of 1:53:06 to secure the victory over NCAA Division III Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.), NCAA Division II Cal Poly Pomona and No. 12 Westmont (Calif.). Ayed Reyes brought home the individual title with a time of 22:05.70.
No. 4 Biola (Calif.), with 579 points, and No. 5 St. Francis (Ill.), with 576 points, round out the top five. Biola has been idle since placing second at the Aztec Invitational, hosted by NCAA Division I San Diego State (Calif.) on Sept. 21. The Eagles next scheduled race is the Vanguard Invitational in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Oct. 12. St. Francis finished sixth among non-NCAA Division I programs at the Greater Louisville Classic, hosted by the Louisville Sports Commission, on Oct. 5. The Fighting Saints ran a combined 5-kilometer time of 1:34:18, placing behind Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) No. 1 Guelph (Ontario) and No. 3 Western Ontario, NCAA Division II No. 9 Edinboro (Pa.) and No. 12 Southern Indiana and NCAA Division III Washington (Mo.).
No. 25 Indiana Wesleyan was the lone newcomer to the Top 25 this week, returning to the poll after a two-week hiatus. The Wildcats have been ranked or received votes in each of the Top 25 polls this season.
Embry-Riddle (Fla.) fell out of the Top 25. The Eagles had been ranked in every previous regular-season poll of 2013.
Within the poll, No. 10 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) made the largest jump, moving up seven spots, while Rocky Mountain (Mont.) fell three positions, landing at No. 17.
Twelve conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the fourth regular-season Top 25, led by the Cascade Collegiate Conference, Golden State Athletic Conference, Frontier Conference and Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, with each boasting three ranked teams.
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 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. 3 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… No. 10 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) has been ranked among the Top 25 in 119 consecutive polls, dating back to Sept. 21, 2001... During that streak Lewis-Clark State has never been ranked among the top five teams… This season, Texas Wesleyan and Columbia (Mo.) each earned its first Top 25 ranking… 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… Two teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2012: British Columbia and Cal State San Marcos.
2013 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 4 (Oct. 9)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||British Columbia (23)||653|
|2||2||College of Idaho||629|
|3||3||Cal State San Marcos||612|
|5||4||St. Francis (Ill.)||576|
|6||6||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||538|
|7||7||The Master's (Calif.)||513|
|8||9||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||512|
|10||17||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||437|
|17||14||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||307|
|24||25||Shawnee State (Ohio)||155|
Others Receiving Votes: SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 110; Baker (Kan.) 105; St. Ambrose (Iowa) 82; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 47; Corban (Ore.) 26; Central Methodist (Mo.) 20; Arizona Christian 19; Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 18; Cumberlands (Ky.) 17; Emmanuel (Ga.) 15; Eastern Oregon 9; Huntington (Ind.) 3.
^ 2013 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 3