NEW ORLEANS – There has been six regional polls released by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) this 2016 season, and the No. 1 Lumberjack men have topped the list each and every week.
The trend continued Monday morning for the Northern Arizona University men's cross country team, as the final NCAA Mountain Regional Rankings list the 'Jacks at No. 1. With the exception of No. 4 UTEP and No. 5 Colorado State flip-flopping places this week, the rest of the top-10 on the men's side remained the same: No. 2 BYU, No. 3 Colorado, No. 6 Southern Utah, No. 7 Air Force, No. 8 Utah State, No. 9 Texas Tech and No. 10 New Mexico.
For the Lumberjack women, though, it was a different story in this week's poll as NAU jumped from No. 9 in the region to No. 7 this week after locking up the program's 19th Big Sky Cross Country Championship over the weekend. The rest of the top-five did not change week five to week six, as Colorado remained No. 1, defending regional champ New Mexico stayed at No. 2, and Utah, BYU and Air Force rank three through five, respectively.
For the men, the winner of the NCAA Mountain Region the past five cross country seasons has proven to be a good indicator for success at NCAA Championships as well. From 2011 to 2015, there have been two fourth-place finishes (one by NAU in 2012), two runner-up performances (one, also, by NAU in 2013) and an NCAA Champion in Colorado (2014).
The champion of the mountain region last season on the women's side, New Mexico, went on to win it all at NCAA's. For the Lumberjack women, they have won the region four times in the program's history, with the last time coming in 1992.
NCAA Mountain Regional Championships get underway in less than two weeks (Friday, Nov. 11) in Logan, Utah. The women will race their 6K regional championship first at 11 a.m. MT, and the men will follow with their 10K at 12 p.m. MT.