NEW ORLEANS--The United States Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its Division I pre-season regional rankings Monday for both men and women.
On the men's side, the University of Washington, led by cross country All-American and reigning Pac-12 steeplechase champ Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca) are ranked #4 in the West region's preseason poll, while Gonzaga University is ranked #10.
The top five in the pre-season poll in the West are Oregon, Stanford, Portland, UCLA, and the Huskies.
The Washington women are ranked #4 in the pre-season regional poll. with Oregon, Stanford, Boise State, Washington, and Arizona State the top five.
Gonzaga is ranked #14 in the regional pre-season poll.
USTFCCCA Regional Cross Country Rankings are determined subjectively by a single member coach in each respective region. The regional representative is tasked with weighing returning team strength with current-season results in determining predicted team finishes at the NCAA Regional Championships.
The Huskies, who completed their first official practice on Monday, begin their season on Friday against Seattle University at 4pm at Magnuson Park, before going on their traditional pre-season training camp.
The other Washington Division I schools--Eastern Washington, Washington State, and Gonzaga--open their season Saturday with the Clash of the Inland Northwest at Mead HS outside of Spokane.
NOTE: The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.