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2013 NAIA Men’s Cross County Coaches’ Top 25 – No. 7

October 30, 2013
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By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – St. Francis (Ill.) remains atop the rankings for the ninth-straight NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The defending national champions claimed 18 first-place votes and 619 points in the seventh regular-season edition and are now tied for fifth all-time in No. 1 selections (9) with former-member Minot State (N.D.).  

St. Francis won the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge, hosted by Aquinas (Mich.) on Oct. 26 in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Fighting Saints ran the 8-kilometer course in a combined 2:06:56, besting a 37-team field that included No. 4 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), No. 7 Aquinas, No. 9 Shawnee State (Ohio), No. 14 Saint Xavier (Ill.) and No. 21 Indiana Tech. St. Francis was led by seniors Dylan Reyes and Mike Blaszczyk who finished second and third overall with times of 24:51.25 and 24:51.53.

Southern Oregon earned 605 total points and a season-high four first-place votes to claim the No. 2 ranking. The Raiders finished second at the Beaver Classic, hosted by NCAA Division I Oregon State on Oct. 25 in Corvallis, Ore. Despite finishing behind NCAA Division I Portland (Ore.), each of the team’s scoring five placed among the top 20 individuals, with times ranging from 24:15, by Runner of the Week Eric Avila, to 25:28.

Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) accumulated 569 points en route to the No. 3 position. The Warriors have been idle since Oct. 19, when they won the Inland Empire Championships at their home course in Lewiston, Idaho, besting a nine-team field.

Rounding out the top five are No. 4 Olivet Nazarene and No. 5 Oklahoma City with 547 and 536 points, respectively. Both teams join the top five for the first time this season after impressive finishes last week.

Olivet Nazarene finished second, behind No. 1 St. Francis, at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge with a combined time of 2:07:29, as each of the Tigers scoring five finished among the top 25 individuals in a 387-runner field. Oklahoma City won the NAIA Mid-States Classic, hosted by Southwestern (Kan.) on Oct. 26 in Winfield, Kan. The Stars covered the 8-kilometer course in a combined 2:06:16, outpacing the 25-team field that included No. 11 Oklahoma Baptist, No. 20 Southwestern (Kan.) and No. 25 Central Methodist (Mo.).

There were five newcomers to this week’s Top 25: No. 19 Dickinson State (N.D.), No. 20 Southwestern (Kan.), No. 24 Vanguard (Calif.) and No. 25 Central Methodist (Mo.). This is the first Top 25 mention for Central Methodist since 2002, when the Eagles were ranked in every poll. All of the other newcomers were previously ranked during the 2013 season.
 
Oregon Tech, Morningside (Iowa), College of Idaho and Saint Mary (Kan.) dropped out of the Top 25. Oregon Tech and Morningside had been ranked in every previous poll of the 2013 season, with Morningside having been ranked in 17-straight polls.

Within the poll, No. 4 Olivet Nazarene made the largest jump, moving up eight spots, while Aquinas fell four positions, landing at No. 7.

Fourteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the seventh regular-season Top 25, led by three teams from the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference—St. Francis, Olivet Nazarene and Saint Xavier—and the Golden State Athletic Conference—No. 17 The Master’s (Calif.), No. 22 Biola (Calif.) and Vanguard.

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. 7 Aquinas (Mich.) has been ranked among the Top 25 in an NAIA-best 133 consecutive polls, dating back to Aug. 22, 2000… Following Aquinas are Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) with 80, Cal State San Marcos with 58 and Southern Oregon with 56… 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 ninth appearance at No. 1, tied for fifth all-time with former-member Minot State (N.D.)… 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. 7 (Oct. 30)

RANK LAST TIME^ SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) TOTAL POINTS
1 1 St. Francis (Ill.) (18) 619
2 2 Southern Oregon (4) 605
3 4 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 569
4 12 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 547
5 6 Oklahoma City 536
6 6 British Columbia 516
7 3 Aquinas (Mich.) 494
8 8 Eastern Oregon 464
9 7 Shawnee State (Ohio) 458
10 13 Bryan (Tenn.) 445
11 10 Oklahoma Baptist 444
12 10 Cal State San Marcos 418
13 11 Emmanuel (Ga.) 402
14 14 Saint Xavier (Ill.) 346
15 16 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 333
16 15 Concordia (Neb.) 331
17 17 The Master's (Calif.) 298
18 21 Tennessee Wesleyan 285
19 NR Dickinson State (N.D.) 247
20 RV Southwestern (Kan.) 209
21 25 Indiana Tech 203
22 23 Biola (Calif.) 188
23 24 Dordt (Iowa) 166
24 RV Vanguard (Calif.) 124
25 RV Central Methodist (Mo.) 121

Others Receiving Votes: Oregon Tech 120; Morningside (Iowa) 102; College of Idaho 76; Saint Mary (Kan.) 74; Cumberlands (Ky.) 65; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 63; Park (Mo.) 17; Indiana Wesleyan 12; Northwest Christian (Ore.) 9; Missouri Valley 7; Arizona Christian 3.
 
^ 2013 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 6