Ferris State Cross Country Teams Ranked Nationally
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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's and women's cross country teams are both ranked nationally in the 2012 United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II Preseason Rankings.
The Bulldog women's squad is the preseason number seven team in the country while the men's squad is ranked 30th nationally, according to an announcement made by the USTFCCCA.
Additionally, the women are listed second in the Midwest Region while the men are fifth in the regional poll.
Augustana (S.D.) is currently the number one women's team in the country and followed by Adams State (Colo.), Grand Valley State, Mary (N.D.) and Western State (Colo.) in the top five overall.
On the men's side, Adams State is number one with Western State, Chico State (Calif.), Augustana and GVSU also in the top five nationally.
For the first time in national rankings history, 35 teams are ranked. Going into effect this fall, the NCAA has increased the number of teams that will participate at the Division II cross country national championships from 24 to 32.
Both Ferris State teams are guided by fifth-year head coach Steve Picucci.
The Bulldog women advanced to the national championships for the fourth consecutive campaign last season. It represented only the sixth time in history the Bulldog women's cross country team had qualified as a team for the national championships.
Ferris State's eighth-place performance in the national team race last year matched the Bulldogs' eighth-place finish at the 1981 National Championships and its showing in 2010 as the top efforts team-wise in Bulldog history.
Last year's second-place women's regional finish also matched the program's best showing since claiming the Great Lakes Regional crown in 1987. It was one of the top three regional efforts in school history in addition to the Bulldogs' Great Lakes Regional victory in 1981.
A year ago, the Bulldog men's team took fifth place at the NCAA-II Midwest Regional Championships hosted by Ferris State at Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids.
The Bulldogs will open the 2012 campaign this Saturday, Sept. 8, as FSU hosts its annual Ray Helsing Bulldog Invitational at Katke Golf Course. Action begins with the prep boys and girls 5,000 meter races at 9:45 a.m. (ET). Collegiate action starts at 10:50 a.m. (ET) with the women's 5,000 meters followed by the men's 8,000 meters at 11:30 a.m. (ET).