After winning the 2018 NCAA Cross Country Championship, it’s no surprise the University of Colorado women’s team is the preseason favorite in the 2019 USTFCCCA Poll, which was released on Tuesday. The men, who were fourth at last season’s NCAA meet, were picked fourth.
The women recorded 321 points in the poll, as well as six first-place votes, for a narrow seven-point lead over second-ranked New Mexico (314). The Lobos, who were second at the NCAA Championship, earned four first-place votes. The top five is very close with Washington (289), Michigan (273) and Stanford (269), respectively. BYU, which is just outside the top-five at sixth, picked up the other first-place vote with 265 points.
The Buffs lost three of their five scorers from the national championship, including individual champion Dani Jones. But its two returners are All-Americans Sage Hurta and Tabor Scholl, who both placed in the top-25 last year. CU has also added a pair of transfers in Rachel McArthur (Villanova), who won the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region title last year, as well as Emily Venters (Boise State), who placed 39th at NCAAs to pick up her first All-America honor.
The CU men recorded 292 points, which is just eight points from third-place pick and Pac-12 foe Washington (300). Not surprisingly, Northern Arizona, which has won the last three NCAA titles, is the preseason favorite, picking up 10 first-place votes for 328 points. Just behind the Lumberjacks is BYU with 319 points.
The Buffaloes have one of the best 1-2 punches in the country with John Dressel and Joe Klecker who both recorded top-10 finishes at nationals in 2018. Eduardo Herrera, a 2017 All-American, returns to the line-up as well to give the Buffs a boost.
In the regional polls the women were ranked second, just behind UNM, while the men were third behind Northern Arizona and BYU.
The first meet of the season for Colorado is Friday, Sept. 6, as the Buffs will travel north to Cheyenne, Wyo. for the Wyoming Invitational.