Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Huskies ranked #3 in USTFCCCA women's pre-season rankings...

NEW ORLEANS--The University of Washington women's cross country team will begin the season ranked #3 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's pre-season polls, behind Oregon and Florida State.

The Ducks return four of the five runners from last year’s team, led by junior All-American Nicole Blood and sophomore All-American Alexandra Kosinski. Oregon opens their 2008 season at home on October 4th when they host the 2008 Bill Dellinger Invitational.

The Seminoles of Florida State are ranked second behind Oregon and received one first place vote in this week’s poll. FSU, the top ranked team in the South Region, took part in the Covered Bridge Open a couple weeks ago and placed five runners in the top five slots to sweep the meet. The Seminoles will head to Blacksburg, Virginia this weekend for the Virginia Tech Invitational.

Three Pac-10 foes follow the Seminoles beginning with third-ranked Washington, followed by fourth-ranked Stanford, and fifth-ranked Arizona State giving the Pac-10 Conference four ranked teams in the top five to begin the season.

Third-ranked Washington enters the 2008 campaign following a landmark season by the Huskies. Led by senior Anita Campbell and junior Katie Follett, the Huskies look to improve upon their eighth place finish from ’07 and make it to the podium in 2008.

Stanford has won the past three NCAA team titles; however, they lose several key contributors from those teams including their coach, Peter Tegen, who retired after last season. Despite their losses, the Cardinal has reloaded with young talent and could surprise by year’s end.

Completing the top five in the women’s poll is Arizona State which returns six runners from last year’s NCAA fourth place finish, and also adds six transfers including two Division I All-Americans. With their depth and experience the Sun Devils could push for the NCAA title come November.

Editor's note: Curiously enough, Washington is ranked #3 in the USTFCCCA West Regional rankings behind Oregon & Stanford. We have to assume the voters are different for the regional and national rankings?

The voting panel for the USTFCCCA Division I Women’s National Poll consists of the elected executive committee and regional representatives of the USTFCCCA and is conducted by Jesse Rosen.

The Huskies open their season on Saturday at Lincoln Park when they host the Sundodger Invitational--here's the tentative time schedule:

9:00 am Women’s 6000m Open Race
9:40 am Men’s 8000m Open Race
10:25 am Women’s 6000m Invitational Race
11:00 am Men’s 8000m Invitational Race

NOTE: The University of Washington & the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

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