Women’s XC back into top 25; men’s XC climbs in South Region

Women’s XC back into top 25; men’s XC climbs in South Region

SAINT LEO, Fla. – A dominant performance at last weekend's Sunshine State Conference Cross Country Championships was enough to lift Saint Leo women's cross country back into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II Top 25 national rankings on Wednesday, with the Lions checking in tied for No. 24.

The Lions were tied for 24th with Bloomsburg University out of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) with 14 points. Both programs were one point behind Cal Poly Pomona, who was ranked No. 23 with 15 points.

"This is the highest ranking our women have ever had, and while we're really excited about that I believe our team is far better than that," said Kent Reiber, Saint Leo's head men's and women's cross country coach. "We will see how the chips fall on (Nov.) 19th, but no one has seen our full potential yet."

The Saint Leo women's cross country team maintained its hammerlock on the top spot in the South Region rankings, while Union (Tenn.) and Lee (Tenn.) fell in line behind the Lions at second and third in the region. West Alabama checked in fourth, while the University of Tampa fell to fifth in the South Region.

In the USTFCCCA men's South Region rankings, Saint Leo vaulted two spots from fourth up to second on the strength of its performance at Saturday's SSC cross country meet, where the Lions captured their third straight conference crown.

Lee (Tenn.) maintained the No. 1 spot in the South Region poll, while Florida Southern, Alabama-Huntsville, and West Florida completed the 3-4-5 spots in the ranking behind Saint Leo.

Saint Leo fell just outside the men's Division II Top 25 national coaches' poll, placing second among the teams also receiving votes.

"This is the highest ranking the men have received, and it's great for our athletes to receive more recognition for their great performance at our conference championship," said Reiber.

In addition to both Saint Leo cross country teams capturing SSC team championships last Saturday, the Lions produced the individual winners of both races. Freshman Ronald Cheserek won the men's 8K race with a time of 24:24.79, while junior Colett Rampf captured her third consecutive SSC individual title in the 6K race with a time of 20:26.67.

Both Saint Leo cross country teams are preparing for the NCAA Cross Country South Region Championships, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 5. Saint Leo University will play host to the event, which will take place south of the campus at The Abbey Golf Course.

For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo men's and women's cross country teams, be sure to visit SaintLeoLions.com.  Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Youtube.