Posted: Jan 9, 2013 5:19 PM
JEFFERSON CITY -- The Lincoln women's indoor track & field team begins the 2013 season ranked No. 2 nationally while the Blue Tiger men kick off the year ranked No. 8, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's annual preseason poll, released on Wednesday. Both LU track & field squads are the highest ranked among all MIAA teams.
After claiming third place at the 2012 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field National Championships, the Lincoln women begin the season up a spot at No. 2. LU earned 197.03 points in the initial rankings, trailing only Grand Valley Stats (257.43 points), which has won the past two NCAA Division II titles. Adams State, which was last year's national runner-up, received 167.95 points to open the season ranked No. 3 while Grand Canyon (146.02) and the Academy of Art (113.79) were slotted fourth and fifth, respectively.
Two other MIAA squads made an appearance in the initial USTFCCCA rankings, tying the conference for the second-most programs from a single league on the preseason list. Central Missouri, which finished fourth at last season's NCAA Division II National Championships, opens the 2013 season ranked 10th with 71.23 points while Missouri Southern begins the season ranked No. 25 after earning 27.25 points.
On the men's side, the Blue Tigers, who took 10th as last year's men's national championships, begin the year ranked eighth overall after receiving 91.75 points in the USTFCCCA preseason poll. Lincoln leads five MIAA programs listed in the initial rankings, giving the league the most teams from a single conference in the opening poll. Slotted two spots behind the Blue Tigers at No. 10 is Central Missouri (83.07 points) while Missouri Southern is 13th (66.63), Emporia State is 17th (55.34) and Pittsburg State is 19th (47.42).
Leading the men's poll is defending national champion Grand Canyon, which received 198.34 points to top the preseason poll. Adams State begins the indoor season ranked No. 2 (158.75) while Ashland (third, 136.59), Massachusettes-Lowell (fourth, 114.31) and American International (fifth, 111.19) round out the top five.
According to the USTFCCA website, the organization compiles its national team rankings by "mathematical formulae based on national descending order lists and data taken from previous seasons. For the preseason ranking and early-season rankings, data will be taken from previous seasons as well as the current season. The purpose and methodology of the rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving the top spots in the national-team race."
Both Blue Tiger indoor track & field teams, led by head coach Victor Thomas and assistant coach Ailene Smith, will travel to Carbondale, Illinois this weekend to compete in the Saluki Open. The meet, hosted by the Southern Illinois University, will take place on Friday and Saturday.