NEW ORLEANS – On the heels of the 2016 cross country season, the preseason polls continue to roll in.
The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) released its NCAA Division I National Coaches' Preseason Poll this afternoon, and the Northern Arizona University men's team garnered high praise with the country's No. 3 ranking. The Lumberjacks notched 324 total points, slotted behind defending national champion No. 1 Syracuse—who claimed 11 of the 12 first-place votes—and No. 2 Oregon—who added a first-place tally as well.
In fact, the Lumberjacks are only one of two teams to begin this season ranked within the top-10 after finishing 2015 unranked. They are also the only Big Sky team ranked in the preseason top-25.
For NAU, this is the fourth-straight season it will begin a cross country campaign with top-10 national status, and the third time in the last four years it will be a USTFCCCA top-three team heading into the season's first weekend. They are also the favorites to win both the Big Sky Conference and the NCAA Mountain Region in 2016.
The last time the Lumberjack men found themselves this high on the USTFCCCA National Coaches' Preseason Poll was in 2014 when they opened up at No. 2 in the country.
The full men's national rankings for this week can be found here.