Could the University of New Mexico be in the running — the very fast running — for a second national women’s cross country championship in three seasons?
The nation’s coaches apparently think so.
UNM on Tuesday inched up one spot to No. 2 nationally in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll.
The Lobos, who have placed in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships each of the last seven years for the nation’s longest active streak, earned four of a possible 12 first-place votes to move past former No. 1 Colorado and into the No. 2 slot.
Oregon is the new top-ranked team in the NCAA with eight first-place votes and 355 total poll points to UNM’s 347. Colorado (340 points), San Francisco (340) and North Carolina State (309) round out the top five.
Last week at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, the Lobos stormed to the women’s title, led by reigning national female runner of the week Ednah Kurgat, a transfer from Liberty University who won her second individual race of the season.
Lobos Alice Wright, Charlotte Prouse and Weini Kelati have placed within the top 15 at both the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational in late September and at Wisconsin. UNM seemingly is searching for a fifth runner to step up who can score well enough to make this another dream season.
UNM won the national championship in 2015 and is coming off a seventh-place finish last year.
The Lobos return to action on Oct. 27 as the host team of the Mountain West Conference championships at the UNM North Golf Course.
Along with the No. 2 UNM women, the No. 8 Boise State women and No. 12 Utah State women will be in attendance. On the men’s side, No. 9 Colorado State, No. 17 Air Force and No. 19 Utah State will be competing.