NAIA Top-25 Preseason Poll
KANSAS CITY - The Taylor University men's cross country team will open the 2014 season ranked No. 23 in the nation, after receiving 183 points in the NAIA Preseason Poll.
The top-25 ranking is the first for the TU men's cross country program since earning a No. 25 ranking on October 8 of 2009. The No. 23 ranking is also the highest for the Trojans since opening the 2009 season at No. 22 in the preseason poll.
"As a team, we are pleased to be ranked 23rd in the NAIA Preseason Poll," said second-year head coach Lance Vanderberg. "While this ranking is a substantial improvement from last year's final poll, we know we have the potential to keep moving higher."
Taylor ended its 2013 season inside the top-40 and receiving votes in the NAIA Postseason Poll. TU received votes in four polls throughout the 2013 season, in which it finished second at the Crossroads League Championships and posted an overall team record of 89-23.
Taylor returns 16 members of that squad, including seniors Ethan Evan and Scott King, who competed as individuals at the NAIA Nationals in 2013, and fellow senior Zach Warner, who ran at Nationals in 2012.
Evans and King are also among four returning All-Crossroads League performers from the 2013 Crossroads League Championships, joined by junior Clayton Orender and sophomore Tanner Dye, as well as two-time Crossroads League Runner of the Week, sophomore Matt Hall.
The deep crop of returners will be joined by a talented five-man incoming freshmen class. The newcomers could make an immediate impact for the Trojans, led by Kentucky IA State Champion Jonathan Taylor, as well as Stephen Cho and Joseph Beamish.
Taylor will open its 2014 season on Friday, September 5, when it hosts the Ray Bullock Invitational at 6:45 pm.