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Portland Tops 2006 Men's and Women's WCC Preseason Cross Country Polls

Sept. 7, 2006

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San Bruno, Calif. - The University of Portland men's and women's cross country teams were both picked to repeat as conference champions, as chosen by the WCC coaches in the preseason poll. Both teams received the maximum 49 points in their respective polls, after getting the first place nod from all seven other coaches in the conference. Gonzaga received the remaining first place vote for the men, while Loyola Marymount garnered the eighth first place vote in the women's poll.

The Pilots have won the men's race 27 consecutive years, the longest streak in any sport in WCC history. Portland runners have also taken the top individual spot in as many years, with three Pilots sweeping first, second, and third in 2005. Portland recorded four of the top five fastest times in last year's race and placed six runners in the top 10, all receiving All-WCC honors. San Francisco recorded its best men's finish in school history taking second place with 71 points, placing three runners in the top 15.

As is the case with the men's program, since its inception, the WCC women's cross country championship has been dominated by Portland. The Pilots have won 16 of the 21 women's championships the WCC has sponsored, including nine of the last 10. In 2005, the women's side saw Loyola Marymount record its best finish ever, coming in second and placing three runners in the top 10, with Laura Mickelson, the Lions' top finisher, completing the course in seventh place with a time of 18:23.

Loyola Marymount and San Francisco finished in a tie for second in the men's poll, while Santa Clara was picked just behind them in fourth. Although Gonzaga received one first place vote, it is slated to finish fifth in the conference. Pepperdine and San Diego are picked to tie for sixth place and Saint Mary's rounds out the men's poll in eighth place.

The women's poll almost matches the men's with a flip flop of Santa Clara and San Francisco being the only difference between the two polls. Loyola Marymount is picked to repeat as WCC runners-up, while Santa Clara just snagged the third place pick ahead of San Francisco. Gonzaga and Pepperdine both received 21 points to finish fifth in the poll. San Diego and Saint Mary's also round out the bottom of the women's poll, finishing in seventh and eighth place, respectively.

The 2006 WCC Men's and Women's Cross Country Championship will take place on October 28 at the Crystal Springs Cross Country Course in Belmont, CA.

2006 WCC Preseason Cross Country Coaches Poll Results

1. Portland - 49 (7)
2. Loyola Marymount - 38
San Francisco - 38
4. Santa Clara - 32
5. Gonzaga - 28 (1)
6. Pepperdine - 16
San Diego - 16
8. Saint Mary's - 7

1. Portland - 49 (7)
2. Loyola Marmount - 41 (1)
3. Santa Clara - 36
4. San Francisco - 34
5. Gonzaga - 21
Pepperdine - 21
7. San Diego - 15
8. Saint Mary's - 7
(first place votes)