With a nation-best five returning scorers from the 2013 NCAA championships, the Longhorns start the season No. 1 with a rankings score of 177.09, just 22 points ahead of in-state rival Texas A&M at No. 2.With the transfer of top-ranked 400 meters returner Spencer to Austin, the Longhorns now have four returners ranked among the Division’s top 10 along with No. 7 Brianna Nelson, No. 8 Courtney Okolo and No. 9 Danielle Dowie.
Texas’ roster also includes Shanay Briscoe (No. 2 high jump), Morgan Snow (No. 3 60 hurdles), and Christy Udoh (No. 4 200 meters).
The Aggies rankings score of 155.74 is fueled by three returning scorers in the sprints and jumps. Ashton Purvis is the nation’s top returner at 200 meters, followed by Kamaria Brown at No. 2 and Ashley Collier at No. 5.
Collier is also ranked No. 2 at 60 meters — joined by Jennifer Madu at No. 8 — while Brown is third at 400 meters. Jumper LaQue Moen Davis is also the nation’s third-best returner in both the long jump and the triple jump.
Not far behind is No. 3 Florida at 146.61, led by second-ranked triple jump returner Ciarra Brewer and third-ranked mile returner Cory McGee. McGee is joined in the mile by ninth-ranked returner Agata Strausa.
Robin Reynolds has already notched a mark this year that puts her third on the long jump list, including returning marks from 2013, and Taylor Burke is fourth on the high jump list. On the track, Ebony Eutsey returns at No. 6 at 400 meters, while Clemson transfer Bridgette Owens returns at No. 7 in the 60 hurdles.
Four-time defending champion No. 4 Oregon checked in with 126.09 ranking points. The Ducks are led by top returning 800 meters runner Laura Roesler and second-ranked Phyllis Francis at 400 meters. Roesler is also joined by Illinois transfer Samantha Murphy, who is No. 2 on the 800 meters list. Sprinter Jenna Prandini is No. 3 at 60 meters.
Led by No. 1 returning pole vaulter Morgann Leleux, No. 2 long jumper Chanice Porter, No. 2 pentathlete Lucie Ondraschkova and No. 4 shot putter Hilenn James, Georgia rounded out the top five with 96.86 rankings points.
Completing the top 10 were No. 6 Kentucky, No. 7 Arkansas, No. 8 LSU, No. 9 Stanford and No. 10 Kansas.
With nearly a third of the top 25 belonging to its membership — eight teams, to be precise — the SEC led the way in terms of conferences. The MPSF was represented by four teams, while the Big East had three.