The Santa Clara men's cross country team will head into the 2011 season ranked No. 4 in the West Coast Conference after receiving 40 votes in the WCC preseason poll. The 40 first place votes acquired by Santa Clara - 22 votes shy of No. 1 BYU – were the most in the program's history. In addition, red-shirt senior Robert Reid was named to the Preseason All-WCC Team. The men's team closed out last season with a third place finish at the WCC Championship.
The women's team raked in 34 votes, placing them at No. 5 behind LMU, UP, BYU and USF. Last year, the Broncos landed fourth place at the WCC Championship behind Stephanie Wilson's seventh place finish.
Despite 32 consecutive WCC Championships, dating back to 1979, the University of Portland men's team tallied three votes less than BYU, and will open the season with a No. 2 ranking. BYU has traveled to compete at the NCAA Tournament on 19 occasions, recording an 18th place finish in 2010.
On the women's side, the Cougars had yet to fall short of an appearance at the NCAA Tournament since the program was established in 1984 up until last season.
"The addition of BYU to the conference makes an already nationally competitive conference even better," said head coach Felipe Montoro. "We are excited to test ourselves against some of the best runners in the country this post season."
The Pilots' Craig Hopkins led the pack during last years WCC Championship, crossing the finish line with a time of 25:01. Cody Madera of USF completed the race two seconds after Hopkins to secure second place.
Reid is a Preseason All-WCC pick for the third time. The accolade puts his name next to Trevor Dunbar of UP, who came away with a 25th place finish at the NCAA Tournament last November; a performance that earned him All-America honors.
"Pre-season rankings don't mean a whole lot in the big picture, but it is a very nice honor for the WCC coaches to pick Robbie to the All-WCC Preseason team especially since there are numerous returning All-Americans on that list with him," said Montoro.
Reid currently holds the Santa Clara school record in the 800m with a time of 1:53:39.
"Robbie and the rest of the men's and women's cross country teams have put in a great summer of training and are ready to get the season started," said Montoro.
The Broncos travel north to San Francisco on Sept. 3 to hit the terrain at the USF Invitational.