The Bulldogs continue to move up to 20th on the NAIA Men's Cross Country Coaches Top 25 Poll that was released last week. St. Francis (Ill.) remains atop the rankings for the sixth-straight Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The defending national champions claimed 20 first-place votes and 621 points in the fourth regular-season edition.
St. Francis, which moves into seventh place with six all-time No. 1 rankings, finished 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.).
Southern Oregon earned 601 total points and the remaining two first-place votes 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 return to action on Oct. 19 at the Lewis & Clark Invitational in Estacada, Ore.
Aquinas (Mich.) accumulated 583 points en route to the No. 3 position. The Saints varsity team has been idle since winning the team title in the non-Division I section of the National Catholic Championships Sept. 20 in South Bend, Ind. Aquinas' second seven placed fourth in the 25-team field at the Lansing Community College Invitational Oct. 4 in Lansing, Mich.
Rounding out the top five are No. 4 Shawnee State (Ohio) and No. 5 British Columbia with 534 and 528 points, respectively. Shawnee State finished seventh among the 41-team field at the All-Ohio Championships Oct. 4 in Cedarville, Ohio. The Bears were bested by NCAA Division I Akron (Ohio), Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati (Ohio) and three NCAA Division II institutions.
Despite racing without its usual No. 1 runner, British Columbia placed fourth in the 20-team field at the 39th Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational, hosted by NCAA Division III Willamette (Ore.), on Oct. 5 in Salem, Ore. The Thunderbirds ran an average 8-kilometer time of 25:34.31, finishing behind Victoria (B.C.), No. 7 Eastern Oregon and club team Bowerman Athletic Club.
Vanguard (Calif.) was the lone newcomer to the Top 25 this week, returning to the poll after a three-week hiatus. The Lions have been ranked or received votes in every Top 25 poll of 2013 .
Cumberlands (Ky.) dropped out of the Top 25. The Patriots had been ranked in every previous poll of the 2013 season.
Within the poll, No. 10 Emmanuel (Ga.) made the largest jump, moving up twelve spots, while Westmont (Calif.) fell seven positions, landing at No. 25.
Thirteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the fourth regular-season Top 25, led by four teams from the Cascade Collegiate Conference – Southern Oregon, No. 7 Eastern Oregon, No. 15 Northwest Christian and No. 19 Oregon Tech. The Great Plains Athletic Conference and Golden State 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 130 consecutive polls, dating back to Aug. 22, 2000… Following Aquinas are Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) with 77, Cal State San Marcos with 55 and Southern Oregon with 53… Former NAIA 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 sixth appearance at No. 1… Two teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2012: St. Francis and Southern Oregon.