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CSU men’s cross country team enters 2017 with highest preseason ranking since 2002

Following an extremely successful 2016 campaign, the Colorado State men’s cross country team enters the 2017 season ranked as the No. 18 team in the nation by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA). The organization’s initial NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country Preseason National Coaches’ Poll was announced on Tuesday.

Under sixth-year head coach Art Siemers, Colorado State cross country has been ranked in the preseason top-25 every year since 2014. No. 18 is the second-highest preseason ranking the Rams’ men have ever received from the USTFCCCA, and their highest preseason position since 2002.

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A big reason for the high ranking is the Rams return three All-Americans on the men’s side, including seniors Jerrell Mock (2017 outdoor, 2017 indoor, 2016 indoor, 2015 cross country) and Grant Fischer (2017 outdoor, 2017 indoor). Competing as an individual, Mock also won the Roy Griak Invitational and placed second at the Mountain West Championships in 2016.

The Rams also return junior Cole Rockhold (honorable mention – 2017 outdoor; 2017 indoor). 

Along with CSU, fellow Mountain West programs Boise State and Air Force are receiving some attention in the polls as well. The Broncos enter the season ranked No. 24 in the nation, while the Falcons did not crack the list but enters the season receiving votes.

The Rams’ men were also ranked fifth in the Mountain Region in the USTFCCCA’s 2017 NCAA Division I Preseason Regional Rankings. CSU’s men’s team placed fourth regionally last season, coming in behind three of the nation’s top seven teams at the 2016 NCAA Mountain Regional. Northern Arizona (No. 1), Colorado (No. 6) and BYU (No. 7) all finished ahead of CSU in 2016. 

The cross country team opens its 2017 season this Friday with the CSU Duals, an annual home meet. The event will be held at Hughes Stadium, beginning at 4 p.m. MT with prep competition. The college women’s 5k is set to begin at 6 p.m. MT, while the college men’s 5k is slated for 6:30 p.m. MT.

Collegian sports director Justin Michael can be reached by email at jmichael@collegian.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.

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