The latest CSCAA Top 25 Poll has been released and if you don’t look close, you’ll likely have to venture outside the top 10 to see beyond the parity. The top three schools in both polls are Kenyon, Emory and Denison and 9 of the top 10 teams are ranked in both polls. That’s right, nine programs have both their men’s team and their women’s team ranked top 10 nationally…quite an impressive feat. Only Kalamazoo’s men (ranked 5th) and the women from Claremont Mudd Scripps (9th) managed to find their way into the top 10 as a single gender. Those programs deserve to be recognized, beyond the top 3 they include Amherst, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Stevens Institute, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and Williams.
The most significant jump on the women’s side comes from the Ladies, moving up two spots to narrowly edge Emory for that top spot, 517-514. Just three spots separate the nation’s top two teams. Stevens Institute, led by sprinting sensation Laura Barito, has cracked the top 10 for the first time climbing four spots to #8. The biggest move in the right direction (the right direction being up) comes from The College of New Jersey. The Lions came bursting onto the scene and jumped from being unranked to finding their way into the top 20, settling in at 18th, just one vote away from moving up yet another spot. Also finding themselves in the rankings this week is Wheaton College (MA). I’m not convinced the 22nd ranking in the country is doing them justice. This is a group of women that fields four of five relays in the top ten nationally, including one the top 5.
The next poll will certainly some changes and throughout the top 25. Only 27 votes separate Amherst at #5 and Stevens Tech at #8. Additionally, a mere 4 votes have left out three teams out of the rankings. SUNY-Geneseo, Calvin and Gustavus Adolphus are all nipping at the heels of Mary Washington, who currently sits at #25. The poll does have a few opportunities to see if it stacks up and whether or not the coaches got it right, less than a month from now the 17th ranked Flying Dutch of Hope College travel to Kalamazoo College to take on the 18th ranked Hornets. But highlighting the matchup before the next rankings come out will be a top 5 matchup and one of the best d3 rivalries in the country… you guessed it, Williams and Amherst. We’ll see if the coaches got it right in the poll or if Amherst can avenge last year’s loss and pull off the upset. Stay tuned.
Onto the Lords:
Only three teams maintained the exact same ranking as the previous poll and ironically enough they happen to be at the top (#1 Kenyon stands alone, separated by a wide 52 vote margin), middle with #13 Carnegie Mellon and bottom, rounding out the poll at #25 for the second month in a row are the Comets of Olivet College. Aside from those three constants there are a lot of changes from the previous poll, as one might expect. Emory jumped the Big Red of Denison by the slimmest of margins, just one vote. Then the most impactful jump in the poll features the Engineers of MIT climbing all the way to 4th. UW-Stevens Point also had a significant rise, moving up to find themselves sitting at #10. Their wake, your funeral? Perhaps there was something to those old t-shirt the Pointers used to wear. A great midseason meet helped them climb seven spots in this month’s poll.
One of the more noticeable things this month is the well deserved recognition from some of those schools on the left coast. While the vast majority of d3 schools around the country are out east and in the Midwest, there are some schools out west that have some awfully talented teams. With the help of a transfer, Whitworth finds themselves leaping into the poll and moving all the way up to 17th. Also new to the poll this month is the Redlands, who I’m also told will have one of the most talented freshman in the country…next year. Look for more good things from this group and keep an eye out from a few of those schools out west.
With more than 70 schools receiving votes we’re undoubtedly going to see a lot more movement, especially as many of those NESCAC schools continue to compete despite starting later than a lot of the country. I am especially curious to see what happens to the schools ranked 16th – 22nd, those 8 schools are separated by just 20 votes.