NAU Men Open as Preseason Favorites, Women Rank Seventh in USTFCCCA Regional Poll

NAU's Cory Glines
NAU's Cory Glines

NEW ORLEANS – The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) released its preseason 2016 NCAA Regional Rankings Monday, with the Northern Arizona University men's team favored to win the mountain region this year while the women were picked to finish seventh.

Colorado, last year's national runner-up and the reigning regional champion two years running, came in at No. 2 while UTEP (No. 3), BYU (No. 4) and fellow-Big Sky conference member Southern Utah (No. 5) rounded out the top-five on the men's side.

This is the second time in the last five seasons that NAU has been named the region's preseason No.1 men's team. The previous time came in 2013, which is also, coincidentally, the last time the Lumberjacks won the NCAA Mountain Region Cross Country Championship. They went on to tie their highest finish as a team at NCAA Championships that season with a national runner-up performance.

The NAU women open 2016 behind last year's regional preseason No. 1 and eventual national champion New Mexico, followed by Colorado, Weber State, BYU, Utah and Colorado State. In 2015, the Lumberjack women ranked fourth before the season began and finished sixth at the regional championship meet.

In total, the preseason top-15 boasted five men's teams from the Big Sky, the most of any conference in the region. Four Big Sky women's teams ranked within the preseason top-15 as well, which is the second most of any conference in the region.

For more information and news regarding both cross country teams, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@nautrackfieldxc) and like us on Facebook (NAUTrackFieldXC).

MEN

  1. Northern Arizona (Big Sky)        
  2. Colorado (Pac-12)         
  3. UTEP (Conference USA)          
  4. BYU (West Coast)        
  5. Southern Utah (Big Sky)
  6. Colorado State (Mountain West) 
  7. Air Force (Mountain West)         
  8. New Mexico (Mountain West)    
  9. Wyoming (Mountain West)         
  10. Weber State (Big Sky)   
  11. Utah Valley (WAC)       
  12. Texas Tech (Big 12)      
  13. Idaho State (Big Sky)    
  14. Montana State (Big Sky)           
  15. New Mexico State (WAC)

WOMEN

  1. New Mexico (Mountain West)    
  2. Colorado (Pac-12)         
  3. Weber State (Big Sky)   
  4. BYU (West Coast)        
  5. Utah (Pac-12)   
  6. Colorado State (Mountain West) 
  7. Northern Arizona (Big Sky)        
  8. Utah State (Mountain West)       
  9. Air Force (Mountain West)         
  10. Montana State (Big Sky)           
  11. Wyoming (Mountain West)         
  12. Texas Tech (Big 12)      
  13. Utah Valley (WAC)       
  14. Idaho State (Big Sky)    
  15. Nevada (Mountain West)