KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A dozen teams retained their spots in the fifth edition of the 2011 NAIA Women's Cross Country Coaches' Top 25 Poll, including top-ranked Azusa Pacific (Calif.). The Cougars spend their fifth week at No. 1 after earning 19 first-place votes for 620 points. They are fresh off of a first-place performance that saw four Cougars place among the top seven at the Vanguard (Calif.) Invitational on Oct. 8.
Cal State San Marcos held steady at No. 2 with three first-place nods for 604 points and Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) held on at No. 5 with 545 points. Northwest Christian (Ore.) and British Columbia swapped spots from a week ago, with the Beacons moving up to third with 564 points and the Thunderbirds slipping back to fourth with 549 points.
The fifth edition of the poll marked the first time in 2011 that all ranked teams carried over from the previous poll. Changes were minimal, except for six-spot moves by Saint Xavier (Ill.), Indiana Wesleyan and Aquinas (Mich.) and a four-spot shift by Taylor (Ind.). The Cougars jumped from 19th to 13th after winning the Bethel (Ind.) College Cross Country Invitational with 69 points on Oct. 7. They finished ahead of then-No. 21 Taylor (78 points), then-No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan (81 points) and then-No. 16 Aquinas (93 points). Taylor was rewarded for its showing by moving to No. 17, while Indiana Wesleyan dropped to 19th and Aquinas fell to 22nd.
Thirteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). Representing the GSAC are Azusa Pacific, No. 7 Biola (Calif.), No. 12 The Master's (Calif.), No. 16 Westmont (Calif.) and No. 25 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.). The Cascade Collegiate Conference landed four ranked squads in Northwest Christian, No. 8 College of Idaho, No. 9 Concordia (Ore.) and No. 18 Southern Oregon.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups. The next Top 25 poll will be announced on Oct. 19.
Notes: (All information dates back to 1999) There have been 31 different teams that have spent at least one week on the poll … Azusa Pacific’s (Calif.) five-week span at No. 1 is its first since the 2009 season when the Cougars occupied the top spot for eight-straight polls … Azusa Pacific’s 15 No. 1-rankings is fourth all-time … Former NAIA members Simon Fraser (B.C.) and Cedarville (Ohio) top the list with 40 and 18 appearances, respectively, followed by Northwest (Wash.) with 17 … 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 … Only two schools have an active streak of 50-or more appearances in the Top 25, led by No. 15 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) with 99 dating back to Sept. 21, 2001, and Azusa Pacific with 79, dating back to Oct. 3, 2003.
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (19)||620|
|2||2||Cal State San Marcos (3)||604|
|3||4||Northwest Christian (Ore.)||564|
|5||5||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||545|
|8||8||College of Idaho||495|
|12||12||The Master's (Calif.)||404|
|13||19||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||351|
|15||14||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||339|
|20||20||Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.)||260|
|25||25||Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)||127|
Others receiving votes: Shawnee State (Ohio) 95; Northwestern (Iowa) 65; Northwest (Wash.) 65; Judson (Ill.) 49; Cornerstone (Mich.) 45; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 37; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 26; Cumberlands (Ky.) 22; Trinity Christian (Ill.) 16; Spring Arbor (Mich.) 9; Eastern Oregon 5; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 3; Grand View (Iowa) 3; Park (Mo.) 3; Doane (Neb.) 1; St. Francis (Ill.) 1; Baker (Kan.) 1; Xavier (La.) 1.