NEW ORLEANS, La. - With the NCAA Cross Country Championships just around the corner, the USTFCCCA released its final regular-season poll on Tuesday. The BIG EAST placed six teams in the top 30 on the men's side, the most for the conference this season. Four teams remain ranked for the women, including two teams in the top three.
All six of the men's teams ranked in the top 30 will compete at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 22. Syracuse leads the pack at No. 10, up four spots from the previous poll. The Orange won the 2010 BIG EAST Championship and followed that with a victory at the NCAA Northeast Regional. Villanova made the biggest jump of any BIG EAST squad, bumping up seven spots to No. 22 after placing second at the Mid-Atlantic Regional. Both Syracuse and Villanova earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships by finishing in the top two of their respective regions.
The other four ranked BIG EAST teams earned at-large berths to the NCAA Championships. Providence is the top-ranked team of that group at No. 24, jumping up four spots. The Friars placed third at the Northeast Regional. Georgetown follows at No. 25 after taking third at the Mid-Atlantic Regional. Notre Dame is in a tie at No. 26. The Irish finished third at the Great Lakes Regional. Louisville rounds out the teams in the top 30 after the Cardinals notched fifth at the Southeast Regional after placing two runners in the top 15.
The Villanova women remain the top-ranked team in the country, receiving all 12 first-place votes. The Wildcats locked-up an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship with a victory at the Mid-Atlantic Regional. Villanova has won three straight BIG EAST Championships, back-to-back Mid-Atlantic Regional titles, and will look for its second straight NCAA crown. Georgetown moved up two slots to No. 3. The Hoyas were automatic qualifiers to the NCAA Championship with a second-place finish at the Mid-Atlantic regional.
The Syracuse Orange won their second consecutive Northeast Regional crown, and earned yet another trip to the NCAA Championship. The squad sits at No. 11 in the poll. Providence was the lone at-large qualifier on the women's side after a third-place finish at the Northeast Regional. The Friars are ranked No. 15.
NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships will be held on Monday, November 22, in Terre Haute, Ind., at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course. The women's race will begin at approximately 12:08 p.m. ET, followed by the men's race at approximately 12:48 p.m. A live webcast of the championships will be broadcast from noon to 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Nov. 22, on NCAA.com. In addition, highlights from the championships will be included as part of the CBS NCAA Fall Seasonal Show scheduled to air on Saturday, Dec. 18, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern time on CBS HD.