JONESBORO, AR (astateredwolves.com) – For the first time in program history, both the Arkansas State University men's and women's cross country squads are ranked in the United States Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) South Central Region Ranking, which were released Monday (Oct. 5).
The women's squad is ranked 11th while the men's squad enters the rankings at No. 14. The Red Wolves women's team has been ranked throughout the season, while the men's squad cracks the top-15 regional rankings for the first time.
"It is always nice to be recognized by peer institutions regarding the success and stature of our cross country programs," said A-State cross-country coach Kyle Chandler. "We are certainly pleased that both the men's and women's teams are regionally ranked the equivalent of a top-50 Division I program in football. With that said, we need to continue to rise and continue training for the conference championships and beyond."
The women's cross country team is paced by senior Abbey Dixon who posted a school course record in the 5k at the Chile Pepper Festival last weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. Dixon ran the 5k in 17:03.57 besting the record held by Rexi Parcells and Kristina Aubert and finished 13th among 432 runners in the race.
In three races this season, the A-State women have finish inside the top-10 in all with top-five finishes at the Brooks Memphis Twilight and Rhodes College Invitational. UT Arlington is the top-ranked team out of the Sun Belt at No. 8 in the South Central Region. Appalachian State is ranked 11th in the Southeast Region poll.
A-State men's team enters the top-15 regional polls for the first time after a sixth place finish at the highly competitive Chile Pepper Festival last weekend. Senior Wil Norris and freshman Rickus Jacobs have paced the Red Wolves to sixth place or better finishes in each event. At the Rhodes College Invitational, Norris and Jacobs finished 1st and 2nd and were neck and neck at the finish line to help the Red Wolves take top team honors.
UT Arlington is the highest ranked Sun Belt team on the men's side as well, coming in at No. 8 in the South Central Region. Little Rock is 13th in the South Central poll and South Alabama is ranked 13th in the South Region rankings.
The Red Wolves' cross country teams return to competition Oct. 17 with split squad action in Louisville, Ky., and Little Rock, Ark. In Louisville, A-State will have harriers run in the pre-nationals meet while other team members will run at the Little Rock Invitational.