Spartan Cross Country Returns to National Rankings

Spartan Cross Country Returns to National Rankings

NEW ORLEANS – The University of Tampa is ranked No. 18 in the nation in the NCAA Division II Women's Cross Country National Coaches' Poll, released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Head coach Jarrett Slaven has his Spartans back in the national rankings for the first time since 2015 when UT finished the season at No. 24. The No. 18 ranking marks the program's highest ranking since poll two of the 2013 season.

In three races this season, UT finished first in the Valdosta State Invitational, and then was the top Division II school at the annual UF Mountain Dew Invitational. The Spartans are coming off a 13th-place effort at Pre-Nationals in Sacramento, Calif.

Junior Zoe Jarvis has twice been named the Sunshine State Conference Runner of the Week and turned in a personal-best 6K time of 21:21.2 at Pre-Nationals. Freshman Aspen Gordon has made an immediate impact as the freshman has finished in the team's top-three in each of the first three meets. Junior Sydney Rhodes has also finished in the top-three in each of the races as she is coming off a second-place team effort at Pre-Nationals.

Tampa is the lone Sunshine State Conference school in the top-25 as NCAA South Region opponent Lee University is eighth overall.

Although the No. 1 and No. 2 teams have been consistent since the beginning of the season, the top-5 is starting to evolve as the season progresses into October, while multiple programs continue to rise up the national leaderboard.

Adams State received all eight first-place votes and remained as the unanimous No. 1 for the fourth week this season. This is also their 13th consecutive week dating back to the 2018 preseason ranking.

Although not competing since September 14, the Grizzlies turned in two dominating wins to open up the season at the Joe I Vigil Open and Colorado College Invitational. They will travel to Pennsylvania for the Paul Short Run, hosted by Division I Lehigh University.

Grand Valley State maintained its No. 2 ranking, also for the fourth straight week. The Lakers are coming off a weekend at the DI filled Ohio State Buckeye Preview.

No. 3 Colorado School of Mines moved up two places from fifth a week ago in what is their highest ranking in program history. The Orediggers won the Capital Cross Challenge this past week, topping numerous DI and eight nationally ranked DII schools in Sacramento, California.

Two teams are making their first top-5 appearance this season. Chico State moved up two spots to be ranked No. 4 after finishing at the second-best DII team at Capital Cross. No. 5 Augustana (S.D.) climbed up five spots following their impressive win in the Maroon section at the Roy Griak Invitational over No. 9 U-Mary, who was previously ranked fourth in last week's poll.

Seattle Pacific was the third DII school at Capital Cross and moved up one spot to No. 7 for the first time since 2009, while No. 8 Lee (Tenn.) gained three spots after claiming an 11-point victory over No. 12 Southern Indiana. This is the Flames' highest national ranking in program history, and the first time they are ranked in the top-10.

The biggest jump from Week 2 to Week 3 came from Cal State East Bay, moving up 11 places to No. 13. This is the second record-breaking week for the Pioneers, who were ranked in the regular season for the first time in program history at No. 24 a week ago. The Pioneers strung together a series of strong weekends, finishing as the top DII school at the Southern Stampede (September 21) and finishing as the next DII school behind Seattle Pacific and Chico State at Capital Cross.

Other previously ranked teams moving up include Walsh (No. 13 to No. 11) and Missouri Southern (No. 20 to No. 16).

Four new teams enter the poll this week – No. 18 Tampa (first time since 2016) and No. 22 Michigan Tech moved up from receiving votes a week ago, while No. 21 Cal Poly Pomona and No. 23 Cal State Stanislaus are making their first top-25 appearances this season.

The next National Coaches' Poll will be released on October 9.

Be sure to check back throughout the season until November 23, when the 2019 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships will be held at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento, California.

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