ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico men's and women's cross country teams opened the 2013 season ranked in the top 20 in the National Coaches Poll, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Tuesday.
The women checked in at No. 15 and the men at No. 19 in the preseason poll, making New Mexico just one of five schools in Division I to have both its men's and women's teams rank in the top 20.
Along with Arkansas, Oregon, Stanford and Colorado, New Mexico has both genders ranked top-20. Additionally, the Lobos are the only Mountain West institution in either poll.
In the women’s rankings, UNM debuted at 15th in the nation, marking the fifth-straight year the women have been ranked or receiving votes in the preseason poll.
After winning their fifth Mountain West team championship in a row in October, the women have been picked by the conference coaches as the favorite to capture their sixth straight. The women also return three runners from last year’s team that finished 10th at the NCAA Championships.
The women were also ranked second in the Mountain Region’s preseason rankings released Monday.
On the men’s side, the Lobos kicked off the season ranked 19th in the nation, the highest preseason rank for the men since 2010 (14th). The men have been ranked in the USTFCCCA preseason poll for the sixth consecutive year.
Led by reigning MW individual champ Luke Caldwell, New Mexico is coming off of its fourth straight MW title and was just projected by the MW coaches to win its fifth straight.
Will its entire conference-championship lineup returning, the men have commanded respect early in the season, including Flotrack.org—a website dedicated to track & field and cross-country—projecting the men to finish seventh at the 2013 NCAA Championships in Terra Haute, Ind.
The Lobo men also claimed fourth in the men’s version of the Mountain Region’s preseason rankings.
Both teams will make their season debuts next weekend, Sept. 7, in Albuquerque at the Lobo Invitational.