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Aug. 30, 2011
NEW ORLEANS, La.: August 30, 2011 - With just a few days remaining until the start of the 2011 season, the Nittany Lion women's cross country team has been tabbed 18th in the preseason edition of the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) poll, announced by Tuesday. Coming off an NCAA-qualifying bid in 2010, the Nittany Lion men's squad sits just outside of the top 30, among teams "also receiving votes."
Following a 26th-place effort at the NCAA Championships a year ago, the Nittany Lion women's squad return six of its seven NCAA-qualifying harriers, which warranted the second-best ranking among Big Ten programs. Penn State trails only Michigan - in 13th - among conference competitors, and stands ahead of Iowa, Michigan State and Minnesota, in 28th, 29th, and 30th, respectively.
The Nittany Lion will also face one of the more challenging regions again this fall, with five teams from the Mid-Atlantic Region appearing within the top 24 slots, including No. 1 Georgetown, and defending NCAA Champion Villanova in fifth. Regional foe Princeton sits 22nd to start the season, while perennial power West Virginia is rated 24th. New Mexico, Providence, and Colorado follow Georgetown to round out the top four.
On the men's side, the Nittany Lions are ranked just outside of the top 30, where they are tied with Alabama for the most nods of any team with the "others receiving votes" distinction. Penn State, which placed 30th at the NCAA meet in 2010, sits fifth among Big Ten squads, with Wisconsin and Indiana coming in heavily touted at No. 3, and No. 8, respectively.
Regionally speaking, the Nittany Lions trail Princeton in 11th, Villanova in 17th, and Georgetown in 22nd. Defending NCAA Champion Oklahoma State holds the top slot, followed by Stanford, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Iona.
The Nittany Lions begin the 2011 campaign at the Lock Haven Dolan Duals at 6:00 p.m., Friday evening.