Montana State Bobcats men, women ranked 4th in Big Sky Conference preseason cross country polls

Griz men 11th, women 6th; NAU tops both
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Posted at 12:18 PM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 14:18:20-04

(Editor's note: Big Sky Conference media release)

FARMINGTON, Utah – The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks were picked to sweep the Big Sky Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships, announced today by the league office. Head coaches were allowed to vote for their teams.

The NAU men were a unanimous selection to repeat as champions after collecting their third straight NCAA championship trophy. Returning for the Lumberjacks in 2019 are Geordie Beamish, Blaise Ferro, Luis Grijalva, and Ryan Raff. All four runners competed at the national championship in 2018 with Grijalva placing in the top 25. Mix in the newcomers with the veterans and the Lumberjacks have a packed roster in 2019.

Southern Utah edged out Weber State for second place with 99 points, while the Wildcats received 98 points. The Thunderbirds’ top three runners that placed in the top 10 at last year’s championship return this season. The Wildcats return a wealth of sophomores that load the roster in 2019 to make Weber State competitive across the board.

Montana State (84 pts) and Idaho (73 pts) complete the top five preseason teams.

On the women’s side, Northern Arizona received nine first-place votes to hold the top spot in the preseason poll. The Lumberjacks finished second at last year’s championship with three runners in the top 15 and six runners in the top 20. Jesselyn Bries was the highest finisher for the Lumberjacks at the 2018 championships with a seventh-place finish. She returns for her sophomore campaign along with Mikayla Malaspina and Miranda Myers, who both redshirted last season and finished third and sixth respectively in 2017.

Southern Utah received two first-place votes after claiming the crown a year ago and competing at the national championships. The Thunderbirds took 1-4-5-6 on the individual leaderboard last season. With the loss of seniors Angie Nickerson, the 2018 Big Sky Individual Champion and Sharlie Dimick, the Thunderbirds will look to fill two spots in their lineup this upcoming season.

Weber State (91 pts), Montana State (83 pts) and Idaho (78 pts) round out the top five vote- getters in the women’s preseason poll.

The Big Sky Cross Country Championships will be held on November 2 in Greeley, Colo.

Men’s Preseason Poll

1. Northern Arizona (11) – 121
2. Southern Utah - 99
3. Weber State - 98
4. Montana State – 84
5. Idaho – 73
6. Idaho State – 65
7. Northern Colorado – 50
8. Portland State – 40
9. Eastern Washington – 38
10. Sacramento State – 34
11. Montana - 24

Women’s Preseason Poll

1. Northern Arizona (9) – 119
2. Southern Utah (2) – 99
3. Weber State – 91
4. Montana State – 83
5. Idaho – 78
6. Montana – 59
7. Idaho State – 54
T8. Portland State – 46
T8. Sacramento State – 46
10. Eastern Washington – 31
11. Northern Colorado - 20