Sept. 15, 2009

 

Courtesy of USTFCCCA

NEW ORLEANS – Oregon, last year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country National Champions, begins the 2009 season as the No. 1 team in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Men's Cross Country Top 30 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the USTFCCCA announced Tuesday. The Ducks received nine first-place votes and earned 357 total points in the preseason poll.

Oregon will have plenty of ground to make up if they are to repeat as the men’s champions in 2009 as they lose two USTFCCCA All-Americans in Galen Rupp (last year’s NCAA Individual Champion) and Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott. The Ducks do return sophomore Luke Puskedra who finished fifth overall as a freshman. Oregon opened their season with the Pre’s Trail Run and will next be in action on October 2 in the Bill Dellinger Invite hosted by the Ducks.

Coming in at No. 2 this week is Oklahoma State. Last year the Cowboys finished eighth in the men’s team standings at the NCAA cross country championships but return all seven runners from last year’s squad. The Cowboys host the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree on October 3.

Stanford follows the Cowboys at No. 3 in the men’s preseason rankings with Wisconsin coming in at No. 4. Stanford, third at the NCAA meet a year ago, opened its season at the Nevada Twilight on September 4 and will next be in action in two weeks as the Cardinal hosts the Stanford Invitational on September 26.

Wisconsin was fourth overall in the team standings in ’08 and returns four of their top seven runners from that NCAA team. The Badgers will be looking for their eighth straight Great Lakes Region title as well.

Completing the men’s top five is Northern Arizona. NAU is led by two-time USTFCCCA Cross Country All-American David McNeill who will be looking to improve upon his individual finish a year ago (15th) at the NCAA meet. NAU will be back in action this weekend as the Lumberjacks travel West to San Diego for the San Diego State Aztec Invitational.