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VU cross country teams both 8th in national polls as championship meets near

NEW ORLEANS – For the first time since Vincennes University Cross Country returned to the NJCAA Div. I level in the early 2000s, both the VU Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Teams will enter the NJCAA National Championships ranked in the national Top-10.

In the latest polls – released today by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) – the Trailblazer men and women are both sitting in the No. 8 spot. The VU men are coming off of a pair of team victories (the Oct. 15 University of Evansville Invitational and the Oct. 29 NJCAA Region 12 Championships) and the Trailblazer women were second in their region championship title race after finishing third at U of E. VU is now idle until the Nov. 12 NJCAA National Championship, which will be hosted by Butler Community College at Prairie Trails Golf Course in El Dorado, KS.

In the men’s rankings this week, Iowa Central is still No. 1 with nine first-place votes. The Tritons have yet to relinquish the top spot, holding on for the entire season. The other first place vote went to Central Arizona, the No. 2 team. The Vaqueros have been ranked second since Sept. 28. VU was part of the interesting rankings developments that happened on down from the top, where Allen went from No. 7 to fourth, VU jumped from 14th to No. 8 and Johnson County climbed all the way from 25th to No. 15. The Trailblazers, Allen and Johnson County are now at their best poll showings in the programs’ histories.

As for the women’s poll, Iowa Central remained atop that grouping as well, and garnered eight first place votes. Defending national champion Lansing received the remaining two first place votes. In addition, Mesa jumped two spots to No. 3. Three new teams joined the poll. They were No. 22 North Iowa Area and two teams tied for No. 23: Pima and Illinois Central.

**For a complete look at this week's rankings, visit:
http://www.ustfccca.org/2016/11/featured/njcaa-di-xc-polls-simmer-with-championship-saturday-nearing

VU Coach Chris Gafner said VU’s top-10 status at this point in the season is more than just a reward for hard work and peaking at the right time. It’s an indicator of where the program is headed after the exemplary efforts of runners and the coaching staff, he said.

“The fact that we have two teams ranked in the Top 10 at this time shows we’re headed in the right direction,” Gafner added, “and we hope it means we have a chance to make some noise (at the championship meet) in Kansas.”

The pre-championship edition of the NJCAA Div. I rankings will be released on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

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