By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In the first regular season cross country poll of 2014, Oklahoma City remains the No 1-ranked team in the 2014 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the NAIA national office announced Wednesday.
It’s the squad’s third-straight and third overall No. 1 ranking in the Stars’ history – dating back to 1999 – as the school has been in first-place since the 2013 postseason rankings. Defending national champion Oklahoma City received 591 points and took home all 21 first-place votes.
NAIA All-American runners Peter Koskey, Mackenzie Wahpepah-Harris and Arya Bahreini have helped the Stars get off to a hot start on the young season, as OCU won the NCAA Division II Central Oklahoma Land Run on Sept. 6. Koskey took first in the four-mile race (20:02). Oklahoma City placed five runners in the top 10 in the event.
For his efforts, Koskey was named Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) Men's Cross Country Runner of the Week on Sept. 8.
Southern Oregon comes in ranked second receiving 566 votes. The 2013 national runner-up has been a mainstay towards the top of the rankings, as the Raiders have been ranked in the top-two in the last 32 polls, dating back to Aug. 22, 2012.
Coming in third is Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) (559 points), followed by St. Francis (Ill.) in fourth (531) and Aquinas (Mich.) rounding out the top five (516).
Northwest Christian (Ore.) made the biggest jump of any institution from the preseason poll, vaulting from unranked to No. 16. Concordia (Ore.) fell the furthest of any school, dropping from the eighth position out of the Top 25.
In addition to Northwest Christian, Vanguard (Calif.) and Wayland Baptist (Texas) enter the rankings at No. 24 and No. 25, respectively. It’s Vanguard’s first appearance in the Top 25 since being ranked No. 24 last year on Oct. 30. Wayland Baptist was last ranked on Nov. 22, 2012, when the team was No. 12.
Fourteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the Top 25, led by four schools from the Cascade Collegiate Conference: Southern Oregon, No. 11 Eastern Oregon, Northwest Christian and No. 18 College of Idaho. Eight conferences – A.I.I., CCAC, CL, GPAC, GSAC, SAC, Unaffiliated Groups featuring the Frontier and North Star Conference and WHAC – tied for second with two schools each in the rankings.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. For the entire 2014 Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here. The second regular season Top 25 poll will be Sept. 24.
NOTES: (All information dates back to 1999) Today’s ranking is the third-straight and third No. 1 ranking in Oklahoma City history… Dating back to Aug. 22, 2012, Southern Oregon been ranked in the top-two in the last 32-consecutive polls… Since 1999, only one program has been ranked No. 1 for an entire season: former member Malone (Ohio) in 2007 and 08… No. 5 Aquinas (Mich.) has been ranked among the Top 25 in an NAIA-best 137-consecutive polls, dating back to Aug. 22, 2000… Following Aquinas are Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) with 84, Cal State San Marcos with 62 and Southern Oregon with 60… Malone has the most No. 1 rankings with 38… Following Malone are Southern Oregon with 21, Life (Ga.) with 18 and Virginia Intermont with 15… Overall, 17 different programs have claimed the No. 1 spot in the poll… Oklahoma City looks to become the second program in NAIA men’s cross country history to run the table being ranked No. 1 since Malone in 2008.
2014 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll (Sept. 17)
|RANK||LAST^||SCHOOL (1st PLACE VOTES)||FINAL POINTS|
|1||1||Oklahoma City (21)||591|
|3||3||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||559|
|4||5||St. Francis (Ill.)||531|
|7||7||Shawnee State (Ohio)||472|
|9||9||Cal State San Marcos||435|
|10||11||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||423|
|12||13||The Master's (Calif.)||364|
|16||NR||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||295|
|17||19||Saint Mary (Kan.)||264|
|18||18||College of Idaho||244|
|25||RV||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||129|
Others Receiving Votes: Concordia (Ore.) 125; Milligan (Tenn.) 111; Columbia (Mo.) 68; Oklahoma Baptist 60; Arizona Christian 60; Oregon Tech 33; Northwestern (Iowa) 24; Cumberlands (Ky.) 14; Southwestern (Kan.) 11; Baker (Kan.) 5; St. Ambrose (Iowa) 5; Dordt (Iowa) 4; Park (Mo.) 4.
^ 2014 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 27)