|The Seattle Pacific women's cross|
country team is ranked 25th in
the latest USTFCCCA D2 poll
(Paul Merca photo)
NEW ORLEANS—Western Washington’s seventh place finish at its own invitational meet over the weekend had some repercussions among the voters of the USTFCCCA national Division II coaches’ poll, as the Viking women’s team, previously ranked #15, dropped completely out of the national top 25 in the poll released Wednesday.
The nation’s top five teams, according to the voting panel, are Adams State, Grand Valley State, U-Mary, Western State, and Minnesota Duluth.
The top team ranked from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference is #14 Alaska Anchorage, which was unranked in the last poll, but moved up after winning the Western Washington Invitational.
Previously unranked Simon Fraser moved up to #19 after a third place finish at the WWU Invite, while Seattle Pacific, which finished fifth at the WWU Invite, dropped seven spots to #25 in the national poll.
On the men’s side, Western Washington’s fourth place finish last week at their own invitational dropped the Vikings out of the top 25 after being ranked #22 in the previous poll.
The only nationally ranked team from the GNAC is Alaska Anchorage at #9, after its second place finish at the WWU Invite, behind Canadian powerhouse Trinity Western.
The nation’s top five Division II teams are Adams State, Grand Valley State, Colorado Mines, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona.
The GNAC cross country championships will be held on October 22nd at East Lake Padden Park in Bellingham.
BEN STENSLAND REJOINS WESTERN WASHINGTON TRACK STAFF
In other Division II news, Western Washington recently announced that Ben Stensland has rejoined the school as an assistant coach for track & field.
Stensland was a member of the WWU coaching staff for six years, having served as a student assistant (2010), graduate assistant (2012-13) and an assistant coach (2011, 2014-15). He will begin his seventh year as a member of the WWU coaching staff after spending a year as an assistant track and field coach at Western Oregon in 2015-16.
|Katie Reichert, Monika Gruszecki & Bethany Drake|
at the US Olympic Trials (Paul Merca photo)
During his first stint at WWU, Stensland coached sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers and throwers. He has coached 15 NCAA Division II All-Americans along with 30 Great Northwest Athletic Conference individual champions. Among the All-Americans Stensland has coached are a pair of national champion javelin throwers in Monika Gruszecki (2011) and Bethany Drake (2014), along with school record holder and All-American Katie Reichert. All three (above/photo by Paul Merca) qualified for the US Olympic Trials in July in Eugene.
While at Western Oregon last season, Stensland helped guide the Wolves to a second-place finish on the men’s side and an eighth-place finish on the women’s side at the GNAC indoor championships. During the outdoor conference championships, the WOU men placed third while the women were seventh.
“I’m excited to have Ben back in our program,” said WWU head coach Pee Wee Halsell. “He’s got a lot to bring – he built up the javelin and jumps programs and I look for him to continue that on. And the strength and the conditioning aspect – (which was) how he (originally) got into the program – I’m excited to have that expertise back, also. He’s a great guy and he cares about the athletes.”