Southern Utah's men finished second behind Northern Arizona at the Big Sky Championship.
Kelly Gorham

Southern Utah’s Men Climb in National and Regional Rankings

November 05, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication

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CEDAR CITY, Utah – Nov. 5 – Southern Utah University cross country continues to move up in both the regional and national USTFCCCA polls, following the men’s second-place finish at the Big Sky Championship on Saturday. The T-Birds now stand as the No. 27 team in Division I, while moving up from a seventh- to a fifth-place ranking in the Mountain Region.

“With the Mountain Region being the strongest region in the country, our chances of getting into Nationals are really better than they’ve ever been,” head coach Eric Houle commented. “If we do what we’ve typically done at other regional championship, we’re going to get in.”

The men’s cross country squad made its first appearance in the national rankings two weeks ago when the team earned a No. 30 position with a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Pre-Nationals. Adding the Big Sky finish into the equation bumps the Thunderbirds passed No. 28 Arizona State and fellow Mountain Region team Air Force, which is tied with Washington for the 29th position.

Division I leaders Colorado and Northern Arizona currently hold the top two positions in the Mountain Region, followed by BYU in third and New Mexico in fourth. Jumping to the fifth-place position, SUU overtook Colorado State (6th) and Air Force (7th) in the regional rankings.

The Thunderbirds entered the cross country season with a 10th-place ranking in the region and, after dropping to 13th in the first month of the season, began rising to a ninth-, seventh- and now fifth-place position after successful finishes at Notre Dame, Pre-Nationals and the conference championship.

“I really feel like this season is the beginning of a strong move for Southern Utah, not only at the conference level, but at the national level as well,” Houle added. “With our recruiting and our training system, I think we are right where we need to be to keep this pace.”

The Thunderbirds will take on the leading regional teams in two weeks when both the men’s and women’s squads travel to Ogden, Utah, for the NCAA Mountain Regionals, hosted by Weber State on Nov. 15.


The complete USTFCCCA regional and national polls can be found here.