MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University's Cross Country team will begin their pursuit of a third straight birth to the NCAA Division II National Championships ranked in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association preseason regional and national polls.
NMU will begin the year ranked 13th in the USTFCCCA Top-25 and fourth in the Midwest Region poll.
With 101 points in the national poll, the Wildcats preseason ranking is one place higher than where they finished at the NCAA II National Championships a season ago. NMU was eight in the preseason poll to begin 2016, and have appeared in the preseason list every year since 2015. In 2014, NMU received votes in the USTFCCCA initial rankings.
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foe Grand Valley state University is atop the national poll with Adams State University and Western State University rounding out the top three. Chico State University and the University of Southern Indiana are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.
After beginning 2016 ranked third in the region, the Wildcats fell to as low as sixth before falling out completely in week seven. However, the team did secure a fourth-place finish at the NCAA II Midwest Region Championships to secure their birth to the national meet. It marks the five-consecutive season that NMU has begun the season ranked in the preseason regional poll.
Grand Valley State is also atop the Midwest Region rankings to begin the season. Southern Indiana and Cedarville University are ranked ahead of NMU in second and third.
Returning are all seven runners from last year's team that finished 14th at the NCAA II National Championships in St. Leo, Florida, led by All-America senior Kameron Burmeister (Menominee, Michigan) who placed 30th at the 2016 national meet.
Seniors Carloine Brisbois (Falcon Heights, Minnesota) and Vivian Hett (Bunnsville, Minnesota) placed in the top-100 at the National Championships, finishing in 66th and 83rd, respectively.
The first meet of the 2017 season will take place Saturday, September 9 when the Wildcats travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin, for the Wisconsin-Parkside Godfrey Cross Country Open.