NEW ORLEANS—The Washington men’s cross country team, which scored a mild upset by winning the NCAA West Regional championship last week on their home course at Jefferson Park GC, moved up six spots to #11 in the final USTFCCCA Division I regular season cross country coaches’ poll in advance of Saturday’s national championship race in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Huskies won the title due in part to a breakthrough performance by senior Tyler King (left/photo by Paul Merca) as the 2014 All-American finished fifth at the regionals.
The #11 ranking gives the Huskies a share of its highest-ever rank in the USTFCCCA polls archive (1996-present). Washington finished fourth in the 1989 NCAA championships, and its highest finish under coach Greg Metcalf was 12th in 2006.
Meanwhile, the Washington State Cougars, coming off a fourth place performance at the regionals, earned a #25 national ranking after not being ranked all season.
The top five teams in the country are Colorado, Syracuse, Stanford, Oklahoma State, and Michigan.
Other Pac-12 schools ranked include Oregon at #9. #27 Cal, and #28 UCLA, which gives the conference seven spots in Saturday’s national championship race.
The Washington women maintained its #12 national ranking after finishing third at the regional meet behind Oregon and Boise State.
WCC champion Gonzaga, which entered the regionals ranked #30 in the country, moved up three spots to a #27 ranking, a program best for the Bulldogs.
Gonzaga finished sixth at the regional championships, led by Shelby Mills’ seventh place finish.
The top five women’s teams according to the coaches’ poll are New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Providence, and Oregon.
Other Pac-12 schools ranked in the final regular season poll include, #13 Stanford, and #21 Utah, giving the conference five schools in the final race Saturday.
Saturday’s national championship race begins at 9am with the women’s 6k, followed by the men’s 10k at 10 am. Live video streaming of the NCAA championships will be available via ncaa.com.
In other news, a tweet from former Portland State distance coach Jonathan Marcus revealed that Seattle Pacific alum McKayla Fricker (left/photo by Paul Merca) is now being coached by him.
She joins a Portland-based training group that includes Arizona alum Jennifer Bergman, who recently won the Geico Rock ’n Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas, and Loyola Marymount grad Tara (Erdmann) Welling.
During the 2015 season, Fricker was training with Camas HS star Alexa Efraimson and her longtime coach Mike Hickey. Fricker ran a personal best 2:00.81 at the USA nationals in her first year as a pro, after winning the NCAA D2 championship at Seattle Pacific in her 2014 personal best of 2:06.18.