Cross Country Teams Unanimous Number One in Big Sky Preseason Polls

Cross Country Teams Unanimous Number One in Big Sky Preseason Polls

OGDEN, Utah - Northern Arizona has been selected first in both the men’s and women’s 2009 Big Sky Conference cross country polls.

The Northern Arizona women were a unanimous selection with nine first-place votes and 81 points. The Lumberjacks return an impressive lineup of runners, including All-American Veronica Pohl. Pohl won the 2009 individual Big Sky title, on her way to finishing 12th at the NCAA Championship. Northern Arizona is expected to continue its dominance of the Big Sky. The Lumberjacks have won back-to-back championships, along with eight of the last 10.

Weber State has been selected second with 65 points, while Sacramento State received 64 points. Montana was voted fourth and Idaho State fifth.

The men’s program at Northern Arizona also received a unanimous selection in the poll. The Lumberjacks have won 12 of the last 15 Big Sky Championships, and will be looking to win their third in a row in 2009. Northern Arizona’s two-time All-American selection David McNeill will return to defend his Big Sky conference title. McNeill received his second All-American selection after finishing 15th at the NCAA Championship.

The only other programs to win Big Sky Championships in last 15 years finished second and third in the poll. Weber State, 1997 & 2006 champions, received 69 points, while 2002 champion, Montana State, tallied 60 points.

The Lumberjacks will enter the 2009 season without longtime track and field director J.W. Hardy. Hardy resigned his position to accept the head track and field/cross country position at Boise State. Northern Arizona’s cross country head coach Eric Heins will keep his squads focused on defending their Big Sky titles.

The 2009 Big Sky Conference Cross Country Championship will be run on Saturday, Oct. 31 in Greeley, Colo. It will be the first Big Sky Championship hosted by Northern Colorado, which joined the league in 2006.

Voting is calculated by each team receiving nine points for a first place vote, eight points for a second place vote, etc. Coaches are allowed to vote for their respective teams.

Men's Results                                         Women's Results