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BYU cross-country: men’s team ranks No. 2 nationally, women’s team No. 16

The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) ranked BYU’s men’s cross-country No. 2 in the nation and the women’s cross-country team No. 16 in its preseason national rankings released on Tuesday.

After finishing third overall at the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships, the men’s team heads into the season with its highest preseason national ranking in the past two decades. BYU trails back-to-back national champion No. 1 Northern Arizona in both the men’s national standings, as well as the USTFCCCA’s Mountain Region rankings. Last week, the West Coast Conference's preseason coaches' poll tabbed the Cougars to win their fourth-consecutive conference championship.

The women’s team looks to reload after losing three key seniors following an 11th-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Championships. Along with its No. 16 national ranking, the USTFCCCA ranked BYU No. 4 in its women’s preseason rankings of the Mountain Region. The Cougars and defending conference champion San Francisco shared the top position in the WCC's preseason coaches poll, after both teams received 77 votes.

Both teams return key contributors for the 2018 season with the men’s team returning All-Americans Rory Linkletter and Connor McMillan, while the women’s team will receive a boost with 2016 All-American Erica Birk-Jarvis rejoining the team after missing the 2017 season. The two teams combine for a total of six 2017 first-team All-WCC runners competing this upcoming season, including Daniel Carney, Linkletter, McMillan, Kramer Morton, Courtney Wayment and Clayton Young.

BYU cross-country plays host to the BYU Autumn Classic on Sept. 15, at East Bay Golf Course to kick off the 2018 season. The USTFCCCA’s complete national and regional rankings can be found online.