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Wayland Baptist University Men’s Cross Country Takes No. 1 Spot in Top 25

Wayland Baptist took over as the No. 1 team in the second edition of the 2011 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday.  The Pioneers tallied 16 first-place votes for 497 points to capture their first-ever No. 1-ranking.  In doing so, they snapped Southern Oregon’s eight-straight appearances in the top spot. The Raiders slipped all the way back to eighth.

The climb in the rankings came despite the fact that the Pioneers have not run in a full 8K race this season.  They were scheduled to compete in the Missouri Southern Stampede last weekend, but that meet was cancelled due to heavy thunderstorms with lightning in the area.

WBU finished second at the 2010 NAIA Cross Country Championships, behind only Southern Oregon.  Then-freshman Kennedy Kithuka won the individual championship and two other returning Pioneers finished in the top16, earning All-American honors.

Oklahoma Christian moved up to the second position in the poll with 475 points.  Third-ranked Shorter (Ga.) picked up 461 points and a pair of first-place nods, and No. 4 British Columbia with 444 points. Concordia (Ore.) rounds out the top-five squads, jumping from No. 8 to 5 with 440 points.

The Top 25 was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups. The next poll will be announced on Sept. 28.

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