Wildcats Open Season Ranked 16th in the Nation

Wildcats Open Season Ranked 16th in the Nation

NEW ORLEANS, La.—Northern Michigan University Women's Cross Country will look to earn their fourth-consecutive bid to the NCAA Division II National Championships ranked in both the regional and national U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association preseason polls.

The Wildcats will begin the year ranked 16th in the USTFCCCA Top-25 and fifth in the Midwest Region Poll.

With 77 points in the national poll, the Wildcats' preseason ranking falls just shy of their team finish at the 2017 NCAA II Championships where they finished 13th overall. NMU has appeared in the preseason rankings each season since 2015 and were receiving votes in 2014.

Last year's national champion, Adams State University sits atop the preseason rankings with 200 points. Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foe Grand Valley state University is second, while Western State University rounds out the top three. The University of Mary and Hillsdale College are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

Grand Valley State is also atop the Midwest Region rankings to begin the season. Hillsdale and the University of Southern Indiana round out the top-three, while Walsh University also ranks ahead of NMU in fourth.

A season ago, the Wildcats turned in a 13th-place performance in Evansville, Indiana led by an All-American performance by Kameron Burmeister (Menominee, Michigan) for the second straight year.

Junior Katelyn Smith (Gaylord, Michigan) was the second fastest, Wildcat at the meet, finishing 56th who climbed more than 100 spots between the first kilometer and the end of the race. A pair of seniors also return in Abby Fifarek (Buckley, Michigan) and Sophie McDonald (Park City, Utah). The duo placed 172nd and 186th overall, while junior Hana Torvi (St. Paul, Minnesota) rounded out the retuning Wildcat finishers at the meet after placing 198th overall.

The first competition of the 2018 regular season with be Saturday, September 8 when NMU competes at the Ray Helsing Bulldog Invitational hosted by Ferris State University. The race is scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. in Big Rapids, Michigan.