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The defending national champion Northern Arizona University men's cross country team remained the No. 1 team in the country for the fifth consecutive week to open the season by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll released Tuesday.

Northern Arizona received 11 first-place votes and 358 points overall to keep control of the top spot in the nation. BYU (340 points), Syracuse (336), Stanford (321) and Arkansas (309) rounded out the nation's top five.

Dating back to last season, the Lumberjacks have sat atop the national rankings for a school-record 11 straight weeks. The team is coming off a win in the Greater Louisville Classic, making them 2 for 2 in races this season after collecting a victory in the George Kyte Classic.

To go with the USTFCCCA No. 1 spot, Northern Arizona was also selected as the top team in the country in FloTrack's Week 2 National rankings.

The Northern Arizona women, currently sitting at No. 34 in the country, also worked their way into the national conversation after their fifth-place showing at the Greater Louisville Classic. For the first time this season, the team received votes to be considered for the nation's top 30 teams.

The USTFCCCA also released its Week Four regional rankings on Monday, and named the men's cross country team the top team in the Mountain Region for the fifth straight week while the women's team moved up three spots to No. 8.

Dating back to last season, the NAU men's squad has sat as the No. 1 team in the region for 13 consecutive weeks, a program record. The No. 8 ranking for the women's team ties the season-high for highest mark received this year and is the fifth straight poll that NAU has appeared in the top 15 teams.

Northern Arizona's men's team was followed in the regional rankings by BYU, Southern Utah, Colorado and Colorado State.

Colorado, New Mexico, Utah State, BYU and Utah made up the top five teams in the women's rankings.

Paige Gilchrist and Matt Baxter swept the Big Sky's Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors after strong performances at last week's Greater Louisville Classic over the weekend.

Baxter won the individual title at the classic with a 23:10.52 performance and helped lead the men's team to their second straight win of the season. NAU won the event with a near-perfect score of 19 after placing the top four runners at the meet, along with six of the top 10 overall in the field.

Gilchrist placed fourth overall at the classic with a time of 16:46.39. The senior helped NAU finish fifth overall, knocking off some of the top squads in the area including Louisville, West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia Tech.

The Lumberjack men will be back in action with the running of the prestigious Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, hosted by the University of Wisconsin on Oct. 13. It will feature one of the best fields in D-I cross country this season.

The women return with The Pre Nationals, hosted by the University of Louisville on Oct. 14. It will also feature one of the top fields in cross country, and is another preview for the team of the NCAA National Championship course that will be take place on Nov. 18.


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