NEW ORLEANS – For only the second time in school history, the Northern Arizona University men's cross country team ranks No. 1 in the nation, the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) announced earlier this morning.
The No. 1 Lumberjacks overtook the top spot from defending national champion No. 2 Syracuse, besting the Orange in the week three USTFCCCA national poll by 20 points and securing a school-record seven first-place votes. In fact, the 'Cuse had garnered every single first-place vote this season up until this poll.
Oregon remained at No. 3 in the country, while BYU scooted up from No. 12 to No. 4 this week and No. 5 Colorado remained stagnant.
"It is a nice recognition and great honor to have the coaches rank us No. 1, but like many other programs around the country we have yet to really line up and see where we're at," said Director of Cross Country Eric Heins.
The last time the Lumberjacks donned the nation's No. 1 overall ranking was during week seven of the 2013 cross country season—which was also the year they tied the school record placing second at NCAA Championships.
While the men haven't competed since Sept. 10 at the Sycamore Invitational, the depth and talent this team boasts is nothing short of impressive. The fact they're 2-for-2 in team victories this season and still have yet to race the likes of Futsum Zienasellassie and Tyler Day speaks to the strength up and down this roster.
The next time fans can see the Lumberjacks compete will be on Friday, Oct. 14, when the men and women head north to Madison, Wis., for the 2016 Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.
For the full USTFCCCA week three national rankings, click here.