MSU Cross Country Ranked in USTFCCCA Regional and National Polls

MSU Cross Country Ranked in USTFCCCA Regional and National Polls

Provided by MSU

AST LANSING, Mich. - The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced the regional cross country preseason rankings yesterday, Aug. 29, and the national cross country preseason rankings for both the men’s and women’s team today, Aug. 30. The Michigan State women’s cross country team enters the 2016 campaign slated No. 1 in the Great Lakes Region, for the third time in the past four years. After a national-championship season in 2014, Michigan State rallied off of injuries last season to finish third at regionals along with a 13th-place finish at NCAAs.

Reigning regional champion, Michigan, led by Erin Finn, sits second followed by Notre Dame. Rounding out the top-5 are No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 5 Eastern Michigan. A total of six Big Ten teams are among the Top 15 Great Lakes Region rating.

“The rankings in general at this time of the year are great for the sport but not necessarily indicative of anything that is going to happen in November,” said Director of cross country and track & field Walt Drenth. “We got ranked first in the region, but Michigan is ranked ahead of us on the national poll so that is probably a sign of how close we are. It will be fun to see how it turns out.”

After a 2015 women’s cross country national championship, New Mexico nabbed No. 1 in the USTFCCA national preseason poll, but to no surprise the MSU women’s team was also picked highly again this season at No. 10.

“The women have done a great job being good and consistently good, so their presence on the national level is not a surprise, but we will take it with a grain of salt,” said Drenth.

The men’s cross country team was also ranked highly in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region poll that was announced on Aug. 29. The Spartans were ranked fourth out of 15 teams, and are one of six Big Ten teams in the top 15, four of which were in the top five.

“I think we have a good core of guys, probably the best young core we have had here since I have been here,” said Drenth. “We had a couple of really good kids last year as freshmen that have now been in the program for a year.”

The men’s team was also recognized on the USTFCCCA national preseason poll at No. 29.

“It looks like they had a good summer, and I am optimistic for them. If they are able to stay well, they will be improved from last year,” said Drenth.

The Spartans open the 2016 season at the Jeff Drenth Memorial Race on Sept. 4 in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. For the latest information on Michigan State cross country, follow the Spartans @MSUTrackFieldXC on Twitter.