Back-to-back Iowa Conference champions (2012, 2013)
PELLA—The Central College men’s cross country team skyrocketed to No. 11 in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division III poll.
The 20-spot improvement is tied for the largest jump in the rankings with SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.), ranked No. 15 after being No. 35 last week.
After opening the season at No. 7, Central dropped as low as No. 32 on Sept. 25 before rebounding on the strength of a third-place finish at the 26-team Wis.-Eau Claire Blugold Invitational last Friday. Junior Austin O’Brien (Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) led the Dutch with a third-place finish in 25:01 against the 453-individual field. O’Brien was named conference runner of the week following the performance.
Iowa Conference rival Wartburg is tied for No. 20 nationally, with Loras at No. 25 and Luther at No. 33.
The Dutch also climbed to No. 2 in the Central Region. St. Olaf (Minn.) retains the top ranking in the region and is No. 6 in the nation. League schools comprise four of the top five in the region as Wartburg, Loras and Luther sit behind Central at Nos. 3, 4 and 5, respectively.
Central returns to action Oct. 19 at the Jim Drews Invitational in West Salem, Wis. Last season at the invitational the Dutch finished 3rd of 26 teams.