NEW ORLEANS - Though Oregon doesn't open its cross country season until September 27th, the Ducks will begin 2008 as the top ranked team in the country as the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the Division I men's cross country national poll on Tuesday.
Oregon, who returns all five All-Americans from last year's NCAA Championship team, will look to repeat again in 2008. The Ducks won the men's overall title in impressive fashion scoring 85 points en route to their first team title since 1977. It also marked the first time since 1979 that the Ducks placed all five runners in the top 50.
The Ducks are led by 2008 U.S. Olympians Galen Rupp and Andrew Wheating. They also return Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott, a Pac-10 medalist in 2007.
Following the Ducks to open the 2008 men's poll is Oklahoma State. The Cowboys finished third at the NCAA Championships a year ago but return All-Americans Ryan Vail and David Chirchir, along with former LSU standout John Kosgei. OSU has won the last three Midwest region titles, and four of the past five.
Colorado comes in at No. 3 in the early goings followed by fourth-ranked Iona. CU hopes to improve upon their seventh overall finish at the NCAA Championships in 2007 as they return two postseason scorers from that team. The Buffaloes will also be seeking their 13th consecutive Big 12 title as they open their season on the road in Ames on September 20th at the Iowa State Invitational.
No. 4 Iona has to be one of the more intriguing teams entering the 2008 campaign as they enter the season with a new coach and a new attitude. Ricardo Santos inherits a team poised to make a run for the national title in November as five of their top seven returns from the 2007 NCAA runner-up team.
Alabama comes in at No. 5 this week, followed by Wisconsin (No. 6), Portland (No. 7), Michigan (No. 8), Minnesota (No. 9), and Georgetown (No. 10).
Both the Mountain Region and West Region each placed five teams in the top 30 in the men's preseason poll.
The voting panel for the USTFCCCA Division I Men's National Poll consists of the elected executive committee and regional representatives of the USTFCCCA and is conducted by Don Kopriva.
The 2008 Division I Cross Country National meet will be held on November 24th, 2008 and hosted by Indiana State University.
The Men's Division I Cross Country National Poll:
|Ranking||Team (first place votes)||Region/Rank||
|16.||North Carolina State||Southeast-1||
|20.||Notre Dame||Great Lakes-3||
|23.||William & Mary||Southeast-3||
|26.||Texas A&M||South Central-2||
ORV: Princeton 34, Louisville 24, Indiana 17, Arizona State 16, Tulsa 13, Michigan State 12, UCLA 8, Missouri 1.