Wildcats to Begin Title Defense as No. 1 Ranked Team in the Nation
Aug. 31, 2010
NEW ORLEANS--As the Villanova women's cross country team prepares to defend its national title from last season, the Wildcats are a unanimous No. 1 in the preseason national poll released today by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Villanova received all 12 first-place votes and a total of 360 points in the top 30 poll.
Coming off the program's eighth national championship last fall, the Wildcats return four runners who were named All-Americans at the 2009 championship meet. Seniors Amanda Marino (Jackson, N.J.), Sheila Reid (Newmarket, Ontario) and Ali Smith (Columbia, Md.), along with junior Bogdana Mimic (Pancevo, Serbia) helped Villanova run away with a comfortable margin of victory at last year's meet.
Marino is a two-time cross country All-American and finished a team-best sixth overall in the 2009 championship meet. Reid finished 12th in that race with an impressive final 200 yards to cap off a season in which she won four individual races, including the BIG EAST Championship and the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional.
Mimic and Smith placed 20th and 22nd, respectively, at the national championships last season and join their fellow upperclassman teammates to give the Wildcats one of the most experienced teams in the nation for the 2010 season.
All of the top teams from 2009 are primed for big years once again, as the top four teams from last year's championships occupy the same spots in the USTCCCA Preseason Poll. Following Villanova are Florida State (339 points), Washington (337) and Texas Tech (303).
In addition to their success at national meets, the Wildcats won the team title at the BIG EAST Championships in both 2008 and 2009. The conference is stacked with six teams in the top 30 entering 2010, with Villanova and Syracuse (No. 9 ) both ranking among the top 10 squads. The BIG EAST and Big Ten are leading the way with six teams each in the poll.
The Wildcats open the 2010 season on September 23 at the Main Line Invitational, which will be run on the campus of Haverford College.
NOTE: The USTFCCCA also released regional polls on Monday, with Villanova holding the top spot in the Mid-Atlantic Region ... The next regional and national polls will be released on September 13-14.
NCAA Division I
1 - Villanova (12 first-place votes, 360 points)
Others Receiving Votes: North Carolina 22, Stony Brook 15, Nebraska 9, Arkansas 8, Indiana 8, Ohio State 6, Vanderbilt 4, California 3, Wichita State 3, Baylor 2, Oklahoma State 1.