St. Louis, Mo., September 1, 2017 – The Washington University in St. Louis cross country programs were both named in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Preseason Top-35 polls. The women's team was ranked second overall while the men's team was voted No. 11.
Both of 2016's reigning national champions were voted on as the No. 1 programs during the 2017 preseason poll, as Johns Hopkins leads the women's chart and North Central (Ill.) was atop the men's rankings.
The Bears women and men both finished within the top-five of the 2016 NCAA Division III National Championship races in Louisville, Ky. for just the third time in program history. The women placed second with 202 points and the men placed fourth with 216 points scored.
WashU returns three runners that earned All-American status by placing within the top-35 times. The women will be lead by seniors Aly Wayne and Alison Lindsay after the duo finished eighth (20:52.9) and 14th (21:01.6) respectively. Meanwhile, senior David O'Gara returns for the men after he placed 29th (24:51.0) in the men's 8K.
The women also return three additional runners that competed in the national championship race in junior Ellie Degen (85th – 21:50.6), senior Anna Maurer (86th – 21:50.7) and sophomore Elizabeth Hagstrom (167th – 22:23.0).
Returning with national championship race experience for the men include sophomore Nick Matteucci (75th – 25:17.0), junior Peter Johnsrud (106th – 25:24.3), junior Kyle Cepeda (129th – 25:34.3) and senior Kirby Simon (147th – 25:42.7).
In addition, the women open the 2017 season as the USTFCCCA No. 1 ranked team within the Midwest Region. Wayne and Lindsay placed second and third during the Midwest Regional Championship race in 2016 held in Oshkosh, Wis. Wayne, Lindsay, Degen and Hagstrom earned All-Midwest Regional honors last season.
The men open the 2017 season as the No. 4 ranked team in the USTFCCCA preseason regional rankings. The Bears placed fourth overall at the Midwest Regional in 2016 to earn an at-large bid to the national championship. O'Gara, Cepeda, Matteucci and Johnsrud earned All-Midwest Regional honors last year with Simon narrowly missing the mark.
WashU opens the season on Friday at 6 p.m. with the Greenville Dual held at Forest Park in St. Louis, Mo. Both the men and women will begin their races at 6 p.m. from the bottom of Art Hill. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.