KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Bulldogs finish off a record breaking year with a 17th ranking in the NAIA Men's Cross Country Coaches' Postseason Top 25 Poll.
Oklahoma City claims the No. 1 position the national office announced Wednesday. After winning the NAIA Men's Cross Country National Championships at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan., the Stars compiled 20 first-place votes and 560 points to earn their first-ever No. 1 ranking, dating back to 1999. Oklahoma City's national title is also the first in program history.
With this week's ranking, the Stars, who had been ranked in every previous poll of 2013, become just the 17th program all-time to claim the No. 1 spot in the Top 25.
The Stars ran a combined 8-kilometer time of 2:05:11 to best the 32-team National Championship field. Four of the scoring five for Oklahoma City earned All-America honors: Peter Koskey (8th), Arya Bahreini (11th), Chris Lowrey (22nd) and Mackenzie Wahephah-Harri (25th).
Southern Oregon, which has been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in every poll of the 2013 season, again earned the No. 2 position—with 542 points—after finishing runner-up at the Men's Cross Country National Championships, for the second-straight year, with a team time of 2:05:18. Eric Avila led the way for the Raiders, besting the 313-runner field to earn the individual title. Avila covered the 8k course in 24:02, outpacing runner-up Sam Atkin of No. 9 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) by 19 seconds.
Emmanuel (Ga.) accumulated 524 points to claim a season-high No. 3 ranking after a surprising third-place finish at the Men's Cross Country National Championships with a combined team 8k time of 2:06:31. Prior to the National Championships, the Lions had not been ranked higher than 10th at any point this year.
Rounding out the top five are No. 4 St. Francis (Ill.), with 506 points, and No. 5 Aquinas (Mich.), with 488 points. The teams finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at the Men's Cross Country National Championships.
No. 21 Indiana Wesleyan and No. 23 Missouri Valley were the newcomers to this week's Top 25. The team's earned Top 25 rankings by placing 21st and 23rd, respectively at the National Championships.
Southwestern (Kan.) and Arizona Christian dropped out of the Top 25.
Within the poll, No. 3 Emmanuel made the largest jump, moving up ten spots, while Cal State San Marcos fell six positions, landing at No. 13.
Fifteen conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the Postseason Top 25, led by three teams from the Cascade Conference—Southern Oregon, No. 11 Eastern Oregon and No. 20 College of Idaho—and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference—St. Francis, No. 6 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) and No. 19 Saint Xavier (Ill.).
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.