SOU men No. 2, women No. 13 in NAIA polls
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Southern Oregon University's men's and women's cross country teams will start in familiar yet favorable spots when they first report later this week.
The Raider men are ranked second and the women are No. 13 in the NAIA Top 25 polls, which were released Wednesday by the national office. Previously, the Raider men were picked first and the women second in the Cascade Conference preseason polls.
SOU's men spent all of last year at No. 2 behind Oklahoma City, which will open 2014 in the top spot as it attempts to defend its NAIA title. The Raiders have finished in the top three in each of the last four seasons.
At No. 14, the Raider women are ranked higher than they were all of last year, although they started 16th before injuries and youth got the best of them and they dropped out. They were also No. 13 to start the 2012 season.
The CCC has more teams than any other conference in the women's poll, led by fifth-ranked Northwest Christian. The CCC is represented by five teams in the men's poll — SOU, No. 8 Concordia, No. 12 Eastern Oregon, No. 18 College of Idaho and No. 25 Oregon Tech — which is also more than any other conference.
The season begins for both SOU teams at the Humboldt State Invitational on Sept. 13 in Arcata, Calif.