KANSAS CITY, Mo. – St. Francis (Ill.) remains atop the rankings for the seventh-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 fifth regular-season edition and sit at seventh all-time in No. 1 selections with seven.
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. 3 Washington (Mo.). St. Francis will return to action on Oct. 26 at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Southern Oregon earned 596 total points and one first-place vote to claim the No. 2 ranking. The Raiders have been idle since placing fourth among non-NCAA Division I schools at the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 28 behind NCAA Division II teams Chico State (Calif.), Colorado Mines and San Bernardino (Calif.). Southern Oregon will race on Oct. 19 at the Lewis & Clark Invitational in Estacada, Ore.
Aquinas (Mich.) accumulated 590 points and drew its first first-place vote of the regular season en route to the No. 3 position. The Saints bested 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 last week’s poll.
Rounding out the top five are No. 4 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and No. 5 British Columbia with 544 and 534 points, respectively. Lewis-Clark State is the first newcomer among the top five since the 2013 preseason poll. The Warriors finished second at the NAIA Preview Meet behind aforementioned No. 3 Aquinas, running the 8k course in a combined 2:08:23. The Warriors were one of two programs to have multiple runners finish among the top 10 at the meet—the other being No. 7 Shawnee State (Ohio) whom the Warriors replace in the top five.
Despite racing without its usual No. 1 runner, British Columbia placed second in the eight-team field at the 40th Annual Western Washington University Cross Country Classic, trailing only host NCAA Division II No. 22 Western Washington—whose scoring five swept the meet’s top five positions.
No. 14 Saint Xavier (Ill.), No. 20 Saint Mary (Kan.) and No. 23 Biola (Calif.) were the newcomers to this week’s Top 25. Dating back to 1999, this is the first Top 25 ranking for Saint Xavier, who has received votes in every previous poll this season. Saint Mary has also been ranked or received votes in every 2013 poll. Biola, who was ranked as high as No. 18 in 2012, had not even received votes in a 2013 poll prior to this week’s ranking.
Southwestern (Kan.), Vanguard (Calif.) and Westmont (Calif.) dropped out of the Top 25.
Within the poll, No. 4 Lewis-Clark State made the largest jump, moving up four spots, while Northwest Christian (Ore.) fell four positions, landing at No. 19.
Thirteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the fifth regular-season Top 25, led by four teams from the Cascade Collegiate Conference – Southern Oregon, No. 8 Eastern Oregon, Northwest Christian and No. 21 Oregon Tech. 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 131 consecutive polls, dating back to Aug. 22, 2000… Following Aquinas are Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) with 78, Cal State San Marcos with 56 and Southern Oregon with 54… 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 seventh 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. 5 (Oct. 16)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||St. Francis (Ill.) (20)||620|
|2||2||Southern Oregon (1)||596|
|3||3||Aquinas (Mich.) (1)||590|
|4||8||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||544|
|7||4||Shawnee State (Ohio)||495|
|9||10||Cal State San Marcos||446|
|12||13||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||418|
|14||RV||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||354|
|17||17||The Master's (Calif.)||297|
|19||15||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||250|
|20||RV||Saint Mary (Kan.)||218|
Others Receiving Votes: Dickinson State (N.D.) 140; Southwestern (Kan.) 83; Vanguard (Calif.) 75; Goshen (Ind.) 50; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 38; Central Methodist (Mo.) 30; Westmont (Calif.) 29; Cumberlands (Ky.) 16; College of Idaho 14; Taylor (Ind.) 13; Missouri Valley 9; Arizona Christian 5; Concordia (Ore.) 3.
^ 2013 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 4