Aug. 12, 2009
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The University of New Mexico men's and women's cross country teams were each picked second in the 2009 Mountain West Conference preseason cross country poll. The defending MWC champion New Mexico women received three first place votes and trailed preseason favorite BYU by just three points, while the Lobo men received one first place vote and were four points behind the favored Cougars in a vote by the league's coaches released today.
Both New Mexico teams should be loaded in 2009 under third-year head coach Joe Franklin, the 2008 MWC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year.
"Our goal every year is to get the NCAA Championships and place high, but it's all about doing the little things right all season long," said Franklin. "There's a lot of talented teams around the country and we've got two of them this year on our men's and women's side, but we need to keep our focus on the little things.
"BYU has been the class of the Mountain West for nearly a decade and deserve to be the preseason picks this fall. We're just looking to be in contention with them and Air Force and Colorado State and Utah and see who has the best day on Oct. 31 (at the MWC Championship meet)."
The UNM women return eight letterwinners and five top-seven starters from last year's team that earned the first conference title in program history and went on to place 18th at the NCAA Championships.
Among the returnees are four all-NCAA Mountain Region honorees and three first team all-MWC selections, including sophomore Lacey Oeding - the 2008 MWC Freshman of the Year. The Lobos also return junior Vanessa Ortiz, the 2006 MWC Freshman of the Year, off a redshirt season.
The men of New Mexico should be just a dangerous with 10 lettermen and five top-seven starters back in 2009. That group includes three all-region runners, one first team all-MWC honoree and a second team all-MWC runner.
The Lobos also gain the services of senior transfer Chris Barnicle, who earned All-America honors in the 10,000 meters last spring in his debut season as a Lobo. Barnicle was a two-time all-NCAA South Central Region and second team all-SEC honoree during his career at Arkansas before transferring to UNM in January of 2009.
2009 MWC Preseason Cross Country Poll
Women1. BYU (6) - 62 pts.
2. New Mexico (1) - 59 pts.
3. Colorado State - 48 pts.
4. Air Force - 38 pts.
Utah - 38 pts.
6. Wyoming - 31 pts.
7. UNLV - 20 pts.
8. TCU - 17 pts.
9. San Diego State - 11 pts.
Men1. BYU (5) - 25 pts.
2. New Mexico (1) - 21 pts.
3. Air Force - 17 pts.
4. Colorado State - 13 pts.
5. Wyoming - 9 pts.
6. TCU - 5 pts.