Lincoln Track Teams Remain in Top 10
JEFFERSON CITY - The Lincoln women's track & field team will enter the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships as the No. 2 team in the country while the Blue Tiger men will be No. 8, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's Division II pre-championship national poll, which was released on May 20. Both Blue Tiger teams remain the highest-ranked MIAA programs in the national poll.
The Academy of Art holds a very slight advantage over Lincoln in the women's poll, holding the top spot with 236.27 points, less than two full points more than LU's 234.84 points. The Blue Tigers edged Grand Canyon, which earned 234.15 points this week, for the No. 2 spot while No. 4 Grand Valley State, the defending national champion, is within striking distance with 208.32 points. Adams State received 141.06 points to round out the top five.
Lincoln enters the championships with the largest number of qualifiers with 24 total, including a division-best 14 in the sprints and hurdles. The Blue Tigers will send 10 top-12 ranked sprinters and hurdlers, including two of the top three in the 400 hurdles in No. 2 Yanique Haye and No. 3 Michelle Cumberbatch, the defending NCAA champ.
The MIAA leads the nation with the most women's teams ranked, with the league's four listed programs tallying a combined 486.21 points. Missouri Southern is the next-highest ranked team, earning 50.74 points to check in at No. 19. Pittsburg State garnered 48.91 points to be ranked two spots behind MSSU at No. 21 while Central Missouri rounds out the rankings at No. 25 (40.58 points).
In the men's rankings, Lincoln received 111.63 points to earn the No. 8 ranking and sits just 0.35 points behind No. 7 Southern Connecticut (111.98 points.) The Blue Tigers are once again the MIAA's highest-ranked programs, leading five ranked MIAA programs, tying the Lone Star Conference for the most by a single league. The MIAA earned 450.86 combined points this week, placing the conference behind only the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in total points earned. Pittsburg State (No. 13, 77.64 points), Missouri Southern (No. 14, 71.12) and Central Missouri (No. 16, 59.63) are entrenched in the middle of the pre-championship rankings while Emporia State garnered 48.08 points to check in at No. 23.
Saint Augustine's (221.83 points) leads the men's poll, edging No. 2 Grand Canyon (220.27) for the No. 1 overall ranking. Ashland is a close No. 3 (210.48) and Adams State is No. 4 (189.26) while Findlay rounds out this week's top five (131.42). In addition to Southern Connecticut, the only other team ranked ahead of the Blue Tigers is Minnesota State, which tallied 126.80 points to claim the No. 6 ranking.