Grand Canyon starts 2013 outdoor season as USTFCCCA favorite
NEW ORLEANS -- Grand Canyon opens the outdoor season as the favorite to win the NCAA team crown, according to the preseason edition of the National Team Computer Rankings by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), released Tuesday.
|Check out the full rankings.|
The Antelopes of Grand Canyon have one more shot at a Division II crown before they start the transition to Division I next year, and they start the outdoor season as the narrow favorite to accomplish the task. The indoor champs of a year ago, Grand Canyon opens with a team score of 234.89, while Saint Augustine’s, this season’s indoor winners, starts at No. 2 with 219.73 team points. Defending outdoor champ Adams State sits in third with 186.58 points.
The Antelopes, who finished 10th at last season’s outdoor championships, boast an impressive 15 student-athletes within the top 10 of the preseason event rankings, which include returners from last season and the top early-season performances of 2013. Junior AAron Hill is the top-ranked long jumper in the division with his 25-9¼ (7.85m) earlier this season, and senior pole vaulter Vince Frawley enters the season No. 1 in his event.
The Falcons of Saint Augustine’s will look to become the first team since Abilene Christian in 2011 to take both the indoor and outdoor titles. The Falcons last accomplished the feat in 2009 and have done it seven times in school history. Between individual and relay events, Saint Augustine’s has 13 top-10 entries on the preseason event rankings, including junior Josh Edmonds, who is the defending champ and ranked No. 1 at 200 meters and No. 2 at 400. Defending 110 hurdles champ Ty’reak Murray also returns.
Last season Adams State became the first team besides Abilene Christian or Saint Augustine’s to claim the team title since Cal Poly in 1981, and the Grizzlies will look to make it a trend with a title defense this season. With distance events as their forte, the Grizzlies enter the outdoor season with 11 student-athletes in the preseason event-by-event top 10, led by sophomore Kevin Batt, the nation’s top returner at both 1,500 and 5,000 meters. Also among the many returners from the title team is defending 800 champ Boris Berian.
Findlay (133.70) opens at No. 4 -- its highest ranking in program history -- while Texas A&M-Kingsville (132.65) rounds out the top five.