Bulldogs Ranked Second in Pre-Championship Poll
Oct. 28, 2008
FRESNO, Calif. - The Western Athletic Conference announced its men's and women's cross country pre-championship coaches' polls Monday, listing the Bulldogs among the top contenders.
The poll, voted on by the conference's head coaches, projected the Bulldog men to take second place behind defending champs, Utah State. Fresno State's women received 32 points for a fifth-place ranking.
"The rankings really reflect last weekend's meet at Santa Clara," said cross country coach Sean McManus. "With the exception of Utah State and Louisiana Tech, all the WAC ran against each other last week. Scoring the WAC teams against each other, it's going to be close."
Fresno State's men received 27 points to the Aggies 36 points and six first-place votes. Boise State and Idaho tied for third with 25 points, followed by Louisiana Tech with 14. New Mexico State and San Jose filled in sixth and seventh respectively.
"The second, third and fourth place teams were all close," said McManus of the results from Santa Clara. "Those three teams were all within six or seven points, scored against each other. It's going to be less than 10 points separating second from fourth at WAC. We have to capitalize on all of our opportunities and make every point count."
On the women's side, Fresno State captured the fifth-place ranking. Utah State (60) and Nevada (59) were picked first and second, and received four and five first-place votes, respectively. The 2007 WAC Champion, Idaho, was tabbed third, followed by Boise State. The Bulldogs earned 32 points in the poll, ahead of New Mexico State, San Jose State, Hawai'i, and Louisiana Tech.
"We just have to bridge that gap between our team and those four teams," said McManus. "We're not letting those rankings hold us back."
At the Santa Clara Invitational, Erick Garcia won the individual title, edging out Boise State's Sawyer Bosh for the gold by two seconds.
"With the exception of the top guy from Utah State and La Tech, we saw most of the competition last week and Erick had a great race," said McManus. "I have every reason to believe he'll be right in there battling with those guys for the title."
Should Garcia win the race, he would be the second Bulldog in Fresno State history to take the title. Jamey Harris, the Bulldog's lone WAC Champion, won the 1992 conference crown. Four Fresno State cross country men have won an individual conference title: Tim Holmes won the PCAA title twice, Jason Lienau won the Big West title twice, and Ernie Freer and Jamey Harris each won the Big West title once.
The Bulldogs will compete at the WAC Championship on Saturday, Nov. 1 in Las Cruces, N.M.
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