UNF Athletic Media Relations
The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association released its 2010 Preseason Division 1 Regional Rankings on Monday with the University of North Florida women’s cross country team predicted to finish 10th in the South Region.
“We try not to put too much stock in the rankings,” head women’s cross country coach Mark VanAlstyne said. “I think what this ranking does mean, that in our second year, we’re firmly entrenched in that second echelon in the south region.”
The ranking is one position higher than what the women finished at the 2009 meet – 11th. The 2009 season was the first year the Ospreys were eligible to compete at the NCAA Region Championships due to the move from Division II to Division I in 2005-06.
Of the top 15 teams ranked in the region, the Ospreys are ranked among seven SEC schools and two ACC schools. Also representing the Atlantic Sun is rival Jacksonville, coming in at eighth. Florida State, region champions in 2007 and 2008, lead the field again in the preseason rankings.
“In looking at it, Florida State and Florida are far and away the best of the bunch, but those SEC and ACC schools behind them aren’t out of our reach,” VanAlstyne said. “It’s the difference of one good runner. We’re happy to be ranked, but at the same time we realize it doesn’t mean anything. The real rankings will come out the day after regionals.”
The NCAA South Region Championships will take place on Nov. 13 in Birmingham, Ala. The top two teams in each region earn automatic berths to the NCAA Championships and will be joined by 13 at-large squads – a format that has been in place since 1998. The NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships will be held on Monday, Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind.
The women’s team opens its season Friday, Sept. 3 at the JU Short Course Duals in Jacksonville.
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