Texas A&M women claim rare national ranking in cross country

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NEW ORLEANS – Following an impressive outing during the SEC Championships last Friday, the Texas A&M women’s cross country team attained recognition in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Coaches poll this week. The Aggies are tied for 28th in the top 30 poll.

In the two previous national rankings this season the A&M women were among teams receiving votes. A second place finish behind No. 3 Arkansas at the SEC Championships earned the Aggies their highest conference finish in the program’s history.

“This is a special group of young women,” Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry said. “The future is very bright for this group.”

The national ranking for the Aggie women is the first in 10 years, since the 2003 season when A&M ranked 28th in the preseason poll. Three other SEC schools receiving votes this week include Florida, Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

“The women have been gradually running better and better all season,” noted Texas A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven. “We felt like we had the makings of a national-level team before the season began. It’s nice to see this group of young women start to receive some recognition for their performances.

“However, we understand that this is just the beginning. We still have plenty of work to do. The SEC meet was just the start of the championship season for us.”

Up next for Texas A&M is the South Central region meet held in Waco next Friday, Nov. 15, where the top two teams earn a berth into the NCAA Championship field.

The last time an A&M women’s team qualified for the NCAA Championships was in 2000 when the Aggies placed 18th in the national meet. Prior to the NCAA Championship meet that season A&M ranked 16th in the national poll after being 23rd in the preseason poll.

“I think we have proven that we should be in the hunt for one of the automatic qualifying spots for nationals, but nobody is going to hand it to us just because we are ranked ahead of them,” stated McRaven. “We still need to go out there and do what we have been doing all year.”

In the South Central region meet the Aggies will face the Razorbacks once again along with various schools from Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Texas A&M women’s team enters the South Central region meet ranked No. 2 behind Arkansas and ahead of SMU, Texas, UTSA, Baylor and Lamar.

SMU won the American Athletic Conference title while Texas and Baylor were separated by two points (121-123) in placing fourth and fifth in the Big 12 meet. UTSA tied for first place in Conference USA while Lamar won the Southland Conference.

USTFCCCA National Rankings

1. Arizona 355
2. Providence 347
3. Arkansas 336
4. Georgetown 324
5. Florida State 311
6. Michigan State 301
7. Iowa State 271
8. New Mexico 270
9. Butler 265
10. Colorado 245
11. Virginia 243
12. Washington 224
tie, Dartmouth 224
14. Michigan 215
15. Oregon 191
16. Minnesota 183
17. San Francisco 168
18. Stanford 139
19. Syracuse 137
tie, William & Mary 137
21. Notre Dame 115
22. Princeton 89
23. Cornell 81
24. West Virginia 63
25. Boise State 52
26. Arizona State 42
27. Harvard 34
28. Texas A&M 33
tie, Duke 33
30. Penn State 28

Others receiving votes (SEC): Florida, Vanderbilt, Kentucky

1. Arkansas
2. Texas A&M
3. SMU
4. Texas
6. Baylor
7. Lamar
8. Central Arkansas
9. North Texas
10. Arkansas State
11. Rice
12. Stephen F. Austin
13. Sam Houston State
14. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
15. UT Arlington

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