Sept. 7, 2006
San Bruno, CA) - USF men's team was picked for a share of second, the women fourth in the 2006 West Coast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll as released by the league office Thursday. The Dons enjoyed a strong start to the 2006 season as the men won the 2006 San Francisco Cross Country Invitational, while the women posted a runner-up finish in a strong field.
San Francisco's men are coming off a runner-up finish in the 2005 WCC Championship - the program's top finish and first upper echelon finish in program history. San Francisco returns virtually its entire lineup from last season bolstered by a strong recruiting class brought in by fourth-year head coach Helen Lehman-Winters, who captured WCC Men's co-Coach of the Year honors last season.
USF's women placed fourth at the league showcase last season and boast a strong core of returners mixed with talented newcomers ready to compete in 2006.
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 2004, the women's side saw USF record its best finish ever, behind a runner-up showing by Jeannine Hagedorn in one of the top-10 times in course history.
2006 WCC Preseason Cross Country Coaches Poll Results1. Portland - 49 (7)2. Loyola Marymount - 38San Francisco - 384. Santa Clara - 325. Gonzaga - 28 (1)6. Pepperdine - 16San Diego - 168. Saint Mary's - 7
Women1. Portland - 49 (7)2. Loyola Marmount - 41 (1)3. Santa Clara - 364. San Francisco - 345. Gonzaga - 21Pepperdine - 217. San Diego - 158. Saint Mary's - 7(first place votes)