Men's Cross Country Jumps Eight Spots To No. 13 In USTFCCCA Division II National Top 25
Mount Olive improved on its highest-ever national ranking, jumping eight spots to No. 13 in this week's USTFCCCA Division II Men's Cross Country National Top 25, compiled by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The poll is the first of the regular season. The Trojans were ranked No. 21 in the preseason poll.
Mount Olive also remained atop the USTFCCCA Division II Southeast Region Top 10. The Trojans were ranked No. 1 in the preseason regional poll.
Mount Olive opened its season Saturday with a victory in the NCAA II/NCAA III/NAIA Division of the Furman University Cross Country Classic. The Trojans finished first among 16 non-Division I teams and placed fifth out of 25 teams overall, finishing ahead of Atlantic Coast Conference member Clemson and Southeastern Conference member Georgia, among others.
Dylan Lafond finished first out of 142 non-Division I runners and ninth out of 238 runners overall. He shaved nearly a full minute off of his own school record time, set last year. Teammates Austin Steagall, Aki Kitagawa and Eugenio Gil all finished in the top six (non-Division I group) and beat Lafond's previous record.
The Trojans collected 86 points in the poll to land 20 points behind No. 12 American International (Mass.) and one point ahead of Lock Haven (Pa.) and Cedarville (Ohio). Adams State (Colo.) is a unanimous No. 1 with all eight first-place votes and 200 points.
Mount Olive was ranked No. 35 in last year's final regular season poll, the first-ever national ranking in Trojan men's cross country history.
Mount Olive returns to action October 5 as the Trojans head to Pennsylvania to compete in the Paul Short Invitational, hosted by Lehigh University.