Both the Nebraska Wesleyan University women’s and men’s cross country teams were ranked in the preseason NCAA Division III poll that was compiled by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The NWU women are ranked in the top ten at No. 10, while the Prairie Wolves men come in at No. 23.
The NWU women were also ranked first in the Central Region Poll that was released on Aug. 23. The Prairie Wolves women return the top seven runners from the 2010 team that finished 13th at the NCAA III Championships and won their sixth consecutive Great Plains Athletic Conference title. In addition to the top seven, senior All-Conference runner Hayley Sutter returns after studying abroad last fall.
Nebraska Wesleyan men are No. 23 overall and No. 2 in the Central Region Poll. The Prairie Wolves graduated three of their top seven runners from last season, but still have high expectations for 2011. NWU has qualified for the NCAA III Championships for 14 consecutive seasons, the fourth longest streak in the country, and have won five of the last six GPAC titles. Seniors Ben Paben and Mike Rathje join sophomore Johnny Rutford as the top returners for NWU, and the Prairie Wolves also have a talented group of newcomers.
NWU Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Ted Bulling begins 22nd season as the NWU men’s cross country coach and his 17th year coaching the women. Coach Bulling and the Prairie Wolves will open the 2011 season on Sept. 17 at the annual Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invitational at Pioneers Park in Lincoln.
Complete Poll (PDF)