NEW ORLEANS - After a top 10 national finish last season, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs women's cross country team was picked to finish in the top 10 again with the release of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Preseason Poll this morning. The Mountain Lions will begin the season ranked eighth.
The RMAC was one of two conferences with four teams ranked among the top 25. Along with eighth-ranked UCCS, Adams State and Western State are ranked second and third, respectively, and Metro State is ranked No. 23. The South Central Region, which includes the RMAC, Lone Star Conference and Heartland Conference, is the only region with four top 10 teams with No. 10 West Texas A&M.
UCCS returns six of the seven runners who competed at the national championships last season. Veronica Sandoval, Madison Neher and Angie Martell were All-RMAC and all-region runners last season and helped lead the Mountain Lions to their second-best finish at the national championships in program history.
The UCCS men’s cross country will begin the 2013 season ranked No. 12 in the preseason poll. The Mountain Lions are one of five RMAC men’s teams ranked in the top 20 of Division II.
UCCS finished No. 11 at the national championships last season and return Luke Dakin and Matt Winfrey from last year's team. The Mountain Lions are coming off their best conference finish since 2005 and best regional finish since 2004.
The RMAC was represented with top-ranked Adams State, second-ranked Western State and sixth-ranked Colorado Mines ahead of the Mountain Lions. Fort Lewis is ranked No. 20 to provide the conference with the most top-ranked teams in Division II.
UCCS will open the 2013 season at home with the Rust Buster at Monument Valley Park on Sept. 7. The men's six-kilometer run will begin at 9:15 a.m., followed by the women’s four-kilometer run at 10 a.m. Unattached runners can register before the meet at Direct Athletics.