By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- In this week's NCAA Division III National Poll, the Willamette University men's cross country team advanced one spot to #33. The poll was released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Bearcat men also were listed at #4 in the West Region Rankings. Willamette took fifth place out of 19 teams in the men's competition at the St. Olaf Invitational on Sept. 16. Despite placing ninth out of 23 teans at St Olaf, the Willamette women's cross country team fell out of the West Region Rankings.
The Men's National Poll remained the same at the top with North Central College (Ill.) holding the #1 ranking. NCC received all eight first place votes and 280 points. SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.) stayed at #2 with 271 points. The next three positions also remained the same, with University of Wisconsin-La Crosse at #3 with 263 points, Williams College (Mass.) at #4 with 254 points and Johns Hopkins University (Md.) at #5 with 248 points.
At #6 with 234 points was Wisconsin-Eau Claire, which moved up one spot after winning the St. Olaf Invitational. Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) advanced four spots from #11 up to #7. The Sagehens were credited with 232 points in the poll.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) held the #8 ranking this week with 229 points. Loras College (Iowa) and Haverford College (Pa.) were tied for ninth at 209.
Four teams from the West Region were ranked in the Men's National Poll. Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) at #7, plus Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) at #20, Occidental College (Calif.) at #22, and Willamette at #33.
Johns Hopkins topped the Women's National Poll with six of eight first place votes and 278 points. Washington University (Mo.) followed at #2 with two first place votes and 274 points. MIT was ranked #3 with 264 points, Williams was #4 with 255 points, and SUNY Geneso was #5 with 246 points. The top nine teams remained in the same spots as last week.
In the West Region men's rankings, Pomona-Pitzer continued as the #1 team, but six other teams changed positions. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps stepped up one spot to #2, while Occidental dropped one spot to #3. Willamette remained at #4. Lewis & Clark College jumped three spots to #5, with University of California, Santa Cruz slipping one spot to #6, and Whittier College (Calif.) holding at #7. University of Redlands went up one position to #8. Whitworth University moved into the rankings at #9, and Pacific Lutheran University fell four spots to #10.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at #1 and Whitworth at #2 remained the top two teams in the West Region women's rankings. Pomona-Pitzer advanced to spots to #3 and Occidental slippped one position to #4. Linfield College also dropped one spot to #5. Redlands was higher by one spot this week at #6, while University of Puget Sound entered the rankings at #7. George Fox University stayed at #8, with Whitman College joining the rankings at #9 and Whittier falling one spot to #10.
Up next for the Bearcats will be the 43rd Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational on Saturday Sept. 30 at Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, Oregon. The first of four races is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. (PDT).