|Lincoln (MO) women’s track and field will start the indoor season ranked first in the nation. (MEAC/SWAC photo)|
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Lincoln women’s track & field team begins the indoor season as the favorite to win the 2014 national championship, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s annual Division II preseason rankings, released on Tuesday (Jan. 14). The Blue Tiger men are ranked No. 19 in the poll, which uses a computer ranking system to determine the best teams in the country.
The LU women received 237.98 points in the initial rankings to be slotted as the top overall team in the USTFCCCA’s poll. The last time the Blue Tigers, who were the national runners-up at the 2012 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships, were the preseason favorites in the USTFCCCA poll was in 2010. That campaign ended with Lincoln winning its fourth indoor national title.
The Blue Tigers received 37.59 more points than Grand Valley State, which begins 2014 ranked No. 2 with 200.39 points.
On the men’s side, Lincoln was one of six MIAA programs to begin the year ranked in the USTFCCCA’s preseason poll.
Leading the men’s poll is defending national champion Saint Augustine’s, which claimed the top spot in the initial rankings with 233.10 points.
According to the USTFCCA website, the organization compiles its national team rankings by “mathematical formulae based on national descending order lists and data taken from previous seasons. For the preseason ranking and early-season rankings, data will be taken from previous seasons as well as the current season. The purpose and methodology of the rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving the top spots in the national-team race.”
Lincoln’s women’s and men’s indoor track & field teams, both of which are led by head coach Victor Thomas and assistant coach Ailene Smith, resume their seasons this weekend in Champaign, Ill. The Blue Tigers will compete in the Illini Classic, hosted by the University of Illinois this Friday and Saturday (Jan. 17-18).