MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Following a second-place finish at the Big 12 Championships in Waco, Texas last weekend, the West Virginia University cross country team moved up in the Mid-Atlantic Region rankings and jumped into the national rankings.
“We have been a very hard team to figure out all season,” says coach Sean Cleary. “Not even knowing our roster until the week before the Big 12 Championships has made things interesting.”
The Mountaineers rank No. 3 in the region this week, behind Georgetown and Princeton ranked one and two, respectively.
WVU returned to the USTFCCCA National Poll at No. 24 for the first time since Oct. 1. The Mountaineers had been receiving votes in each of the last two polls, and the 24th-ranking is the highest they have been ranked this season.
“Now that we have the group down to eight, we will simply concentrate on the NCAA Regional Championships and be ready to run our best race of the year,” Cleary says. “These rankings back up what we've already known - run our best at regionals, and we will be amongst the nations very best.”
West Virginia senior runner Sarah Martinelli
was the first Mountaineer to cross the line at the Big 12 Championships, finishing in eighth-place overall with a personal-best time of 20:44.9. Martinelli was most recently named the Varsity Sports Report Athlete of the Week.
Arizona is the top-ranked team in the national poll, while Iowa State, who won the Big 12 Championships last weekend, comes in at No. 7.
West Virginia is idle this week, but returns to action next weekend at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals in Bethlehem, Pa. The Mountaineers have already participated, twice, at the Bethlehem course this season, running in the Paul Short Run and the Lehigh Invitational earlier in the season.