The University of New Mexico women’s cross country team, which finished as NCAA runner-up last fall, opens this season as the No. 2 team as well, per coaches.
The USTFCCCA poll picks the Lobos to finish second behind defending national champion Colorado and No. 1 in the Mountain Region.
The Lobos return a stacked roster led by Weini Kelati, runner up at the NCAAs in 2018, and Ednah Kurgat, who finished fifth nationally. Adva Cohen is the Lobos’ strong No. 3 runner. Other returners that could make an impact in the scoring for the Lobos are Hannah Nuttall and Sophie Eckel.
It is the third time that the Lobos have been picked second in the preseason poll, with the previous two times occurring in 2015 and 2011. UNM won its first NCAA team championship in 2015.
Picked behind UNM, Washington is third, Michigan fourth and Stanford fifth. The margin between the two teams was slim as UNM received four first-place votes and 314 points compared to Colorado’s six first-place votes and 321 points.
In addition, the Lobo women were also picked as the preseason favorite in the Mountain Region on Monday by the USTFCCCA for the fourth time in the last five years. and are picked as the team to beat in the Mountain West Conference for the ninth consecutive year, receiving 10 first-place votes.
UNM opens its cross country season on Saturday at 9:20 a.m. at the Lobo Invitational, held at the UNM North Golf Course. However, Kelati and Kurgat will not run as the top Lobos prep for bigger meets during the season. A community fun run is scheduled to start off the day at 7:30 a.m. and will be a 5K.
(Click here for the USTFCCCA release.)