Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's and women's cross country teams are both ranked high nationally in the 2012 United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II Rankings.
The Bulldog women's squad, which was the nation's preseason number seven team, currently ranks eighth in the nation while the men's squad has moved up from 30th in the preseason poll to a current 15th-place ranking, according to an announcement made by the USTFCCCA on Wednesday (Sept. 26).
Additionally, the women are listed second in the Midwest Region while the men are now fourth in the regional poll.
Augustana (S.D.) is currently the number one women's team in the country and followed by Adams State (Colo.), Grand Valley State, Western State (Colo.) and Alaska Anchorage in the top five overall.
On the men's side, Adams State is number one with Western State, Chico State (Calif.), Colorado Mines and Augustana also in the top five nationally.
The FSU men are one of three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member schools listed in the top 20 nationally along with sixth-ranked Grand Valley State and 17th ranked Ashland. FSU and GVSU are the lone conference women's teams found in the nation's top 20 this week.
For the first time in national rankings history, 35 teams are ranked this season. This fall, the NCAA has increased the number of teams that will participate at the Division II cross country national championships from 24 to 32.
Both Ferris State teams are guided by fifth-year head coach Steve Picucci.
The Bulldog women advanced to the national championships for the fourth consecutive campaign last season. It represented only the sixth time in history the Bulldog women's cross country team had qualified as a team for the national championships.
Ferris State's eighth-place performance in the national team race last year matched the Bulldogs' eighth-place finish at the 1981 National Championships and its showing in 2010 as the top efforts team-wise in Bulldog history.
Last year's second-place women's regional finish also matched the program's best showing since claiming the Great Lakes Regional crown in 1987. It was one of the top three regional efforts in school history in addition to the Bulldogs' Great Lakes Regional victory in 1981.
A year ago, the Bulldog men's team took fifth place at the NCAA-II Midwest Regional Championships hosted by Ferris State at Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids.
The Bulldogs will compete in two meets this weekend as representatives will run at the Lansing Community College Invitational on Friday (Sept. 28). The team will also compete in the prestigious Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday (Sept. 29) in Louisville, Ky.