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Lumberjack Men Preseason Favorites in the Conference, Women Preseason No. 2

NAU's Tyler Day
NAU's Tyler Day

OGDEN, Utah – Following the release of the USTFCCCA's Preseason Regional Rankings Monday, one that had the Northern Arizona men as the top team in the mountain region, the Big Sky officially announced today that the Lumberjacks are indeed the favorite to win the conference as well in 2016, according to the conference's preseason coaches' poll.  

The Lumberjack men were a unanimous No. 1 team, raking in 144 total points and all 12 first-place votes. This marks the fourth time in the last five cross country seasons that NAU has claimed the conference's top preseason spot, and the second time in as many seasons that they have earned a unanimous nod.

Last season's conference champion Southern Utah slides in at No. 2 in the poll, while Weber State is slated as the No. 3 team going into 2016. Eastern Washington and Montana State tied for the fourth place position.

For the NAU women, they find themselves at No. 2 in the Big Sky Coaches' preseason poll, behind 2015 conference champ Weber State. The Wildcats did not garner all 12 first place votes, however, as the Lumberjacks were able to swipe three of those heading into the season.

Idaho and Montana State begin the season deadlocked for the conference's third-place spot, while Eastern Washington sits alone at No. 5.  

The USTFCCCA Division I National Coaches' Preseason Poll is also set to be released today, with those rankings coming out around 12 p.m. MST. The previous two years, the men have opened the season at No. 10 in the national polls. The last time the NAU men began the season as a top-three team in the country was in 2014 when they were slotted at No. 2.

Men

1. Northern Arizona - 144 (12)

2. Southern Utah - 129

3. Weber State - 119

4. Eastern Washington - 89

4. Montana State - 89

6. Idaho State - 84

7. Idaho - 76

8. Montana - 62

9. Portland State - 51

10. North Dakota - 45

11. Sacramento State - 33

12. Northern Colorado - 15

Women

1. Weber State - 141 (9)

2. Northern Arizona - 133 (3)

3. Idaho - 106

3. Montana State - 106

5. Eastern Washington - 102

6. Idaho State - 89

7. Montana  - 74

8. Portland State - 49

9. Southern Utah - 42

10. Sacramento State - 39

11. Northern Colorado  - 29

12. Northern Dakota  - 26

First-place votes in parentheses