NC State & NAU women's teams have been 1-2/2-1 since preseason and have been analyzed ad infinitum.
However, that's all changed following today's Big-12 meet on Iowa State's hilly xc-only course.
Ok State had been ranked 3rd all season until they dropped to 6th (coaches' poll) following Nuttycombe/Pre-Nats weekend when/because the team did not race.
That was the epitome of being short-sighted.
Ok State validated its status as a podium team by scoring 39 points with 3 in the top-5 while having the clear winner in Taylor Roe who opened her season with a bang.
However, 39 points was not good enough to win . . . somewhat hard to believe in a conference fielding 14 teams . . . as BYU entered the Big-12 conference with an even bigger bang by placing 5 in the top-10 and winning with 35 points.
BYU women gave us an inkling of how good they can be by winning Pre-Nats with 32 points over 2nd-place Arkansas with 90. However, AR was not highly ranked at the time while Nuttycombe stole the limelight that weekend, so BYU's win was not given the credit it deserved.
As impressive as Diljeet Taylor's team win was, it's depth was just as impressive . . . not only 5 in the top-10 . . . but all 10 runners in the top-20.
Only NAU women has similar depth . . . as in historic depth . . . probably bettered only by New Mexico's record-breaking team from 2015.
When national rankings come out in a few days, top-4 ranking will likely be NAU-NC State-BYU-OK State.
We'll get a sneak preview of the NCAA finals in a couple weeks at the Mountain Regional when NAU & BYU go head-to-head . . . although both teams are likely to hold out key runners and sandbag the race a little bit.
Despite the head-to-head men's team rematch from last year between NAU & BYU, this women's team race just became even more compelling . . .