NEW ORLEANS – The unprecedented and historic season continues for the Northern Arizona University men's cross country team, as the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) named the Lumberjacks the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation earlier this morning.
Coming off a stellar first-place performance at the 2016 Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational—a race in which they bested the likes of No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 BYU and three other top-10 teams—the No. 1 Lumberjacks garnered all 12 first place votes in the USTFCCCA's week five NCAA Division I National Poll Tuesday. This was the first time in the history of the NAU cross country program any team has received unanimous No. 1 accolades. It also marks the third-consecutive poll in which NAU remains the No. 1 team in the land—another school record.
In addition to retaining their No. 1 spot in the NCAA Mountain Regional poll yesterday, the Lumberjacks also jumped 10 spots on FloTrack's national rankings Monday to swipe the No. 1 ranking in that poll as well.
The success and recognition of this team is due in large part to the tremendous amount of depth on the roster. In fact, of the group of men that ran at Wisconsin last Friday, the five scored athletes all finished within the field's top-31 athletes, including top-10 performances from Futsum Zienasellassie and Matt Baxter.
To put things into perspective, of the seven men that represented NAU last weekend, all seven placed in the top-60. Last year at this race, only one Lumberjack finished in the top-60 and none finished inside of the top-30.
Since this Wisconsin race expanded to 200 athletes back in 2010, only two other team winners have posted lower scores than the 78 points NAU put up last Friday—far surpassing the 121 point total the Lumberjacks recorded the last time they won this race back in 2013.
Both Lumberjack XC teams will send a group of runners down to Tempe this weekend for a race at Arizona State, followed by Big Sky Conference Championships on Friday, Oct. 28 in Moscow, Idaho.
For the complete USTFCCCA men's national rankings, click here.