The University of New Mexico women’s cross country team checked in at No. 4 in the preseason National Coaches Poll, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Tuesday.
The Lobos, who have placed top-10 at the NCAA Championships each of the last seven years for the nation’s longest active streak, logged their third straight top-five ranking in the USTFCCCA preseason poll.
Additionally, the UNM women have been ranked or receiving votes in the preseason poll for nine straight years, and have been ranked for 40 consecutive polls overall.
“It’s a great honor and shows what the nation’s coaches think about our consistency over the past decade,” 11th-year head coach Joe Franklin said. “We have a very strong group of women running this season for the University of New Mexico.”
The women return three-time cross country All-American Alice Wright, along with Natasha Bernal, Alex Buck and Kendall Kelly, all of whom scored for the Lobos last fall.
New Mexico also adds Sophie Eckel, Weini Kelati, Alondra Negrón Texidor, Charlotte Prouse and Ednah Kurgat, who sat out as a transfer last fall.
Colorado claimed the top spot in the preseason poll, with eight first-place votes and 335 points overall. 2016 NCAA team champion Oregon is ranked second with two first-place votes and 331 points, just ahead of No. 3 Michigan’s haul of two first-place votes and 330 points.
The Lobos received 323 points, while Stanford rounded out the top five with 313 points.
New Mexico and Colorado are the only teams to have been ranked in the top five in the last three preseason polls.
Additionally, the women were ranked second in the women’s USTFCCCA Mountain Region’s preseason rankings that were released Monday.
The Lobos’ first competition of the season is Saturday as they host the Lobo Invitational at the UNM North Golf Course. The NCAA Championships are Saturday, Nov. 18 in Louisville, Ky., the same place New Mexico won the 2015 NCAA women’s team championship.