2010 NCAA Cross-Country Pre-Season Polls
September 3, 2010
The 2010 LetsRun.com NCAA Cross-Country pre-season polls are out and the Stanford men and Villanova women are the top-ranked teams in the nation. The #1 spots should not be huge surprises to anyone, as Stanford was #1 heading into the NCAA meet last year and Villanova won the crown.
Men: Stanford Starts Out On Top
The Stanford men dominated much of the 2009 cross-country season and sat atop the men's rankings heading into nationals when disaster struck. Jason Dunn's squad basically did not show up and the Cardinal finished a shocking 10th. This year they have all of the top 7 back from our look at NCAA XC results (but 6 of 7 according to this article in the Stanford paper), including third-place finisher Chris Derrick. The one thing they have to get over is what Wisconsin used to face, the mental block of choking at nationals.
#2 on the men's side is defending national champ Oklahoma State. Dave Smith's squad should be led by German Fernandez. Fernandez
won finished third at the Foot Locker high school XC national championships two years ago and won the NCAA 1,500m crown as a freshman but has struggled in XC in the collegiate ranks (despite finishing 11th at World Jr XC). Fernandez was only 97th at nationals last year, but was the key fifth man on OSU's national championship team. OSU has 4 of its top 7 back but loses 2 of its top 3 (Ryan Vail, 7th in team scoring last year, and John Kosgei, 11th). Colby Lowe and Fernandez no doubt will be strong up front.
Oregon has 6 of its top 7 back (we think AJ Acosta is back. How does this top 3 sound: Luke Puskedra, Matt Centrowitz and AJ Acosta?) and clocks in at #3. Northern Arizona got more first place votes than Oregon in the LRC poll, but the brand name of Oregon has them ahead of NAU.
The LetsRun.com fans poll has the same top 10 teams as the coaches' poll, but in different order, except for #10 Arkansas (Chris Fox's Syracuse team is #9 in the coaches' poll).
Stanford is a strong #1 in the LRC poll. While they are also #1 in the coaches' poll, in the coaches' poll, Oklahoma State actually got more first place votes than Stanford. The Cardinal should relish their #1 ranking in the LRC poll as last year, Oklahoma State was #1 in the first LRC poll of the year and they won it all (meanwhile, the coaches had Stanford #1 at the same time).
Villanova Primed To Repeat