DURHAM, N.C. -- For the first time in Blue Devil history, Duke is the No. 1 team in the country in the latest FinishLynx/NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country National Poll, released Monday. The Blue Devils moved up from a No. 2 preseason ranking to edge 2004 national champion Colorado by two points.
“We’re obviously very excited,” said head coach Kevin Jermyn, “but this doesn’t change anything we do on a day-to-day basis. Our goal is to finish in the same place at the end of the year, but we have a lot of work to do before then.”
Duke has three meets under its belt heading into Saturday’s Great American Cross Country Festival, held at the SAS Soccer Park in Cary. The middle distance group has competed twice, winning a dual meet with North Carolina Central to start the season and taking third at the Raleigh Invitational last weekend. Led by senior Clara Horowitz, the distance group claimed the first seven spots at the San Diego Invitational two weeks ago to win the meet with a perfect score. Horowitz was tabbed the ACC Player of the Week for her first cross country individual victory.
The distance group will run the Nike Race of Champions at the Great American this weekend with seniors Horowitz, Sally Meyerhoff, Natasha Roetter, Shannon Rowbury, Laura Stanley and Liz Wort and newcomers Whitney Anderson, Kelly Fillnow and Maddie McKeever competing. Duke won the 5K race last year as Rowbury claimed the individual victory. The race will have the toughest competition the team has faced so far this year with other nationally ranked teams competing.
“We are approaching this just like any other race,” said Jermyn. “We are going to run hard, but we’re not treating it like a championship race just because it will be against harder teams. This is not when we want to peak.”
Duke’s men’s team will run in the Race of Champions at 9:55 a.m. Saturday with the women following at 10:55 a.m.
2005 Poll #1 -- Top Ten
1. Duke (384 points)
2. Colorado (382)
3. Notre Dame (364)
4. Michigan (348)
5. Stanford (339)
6. Brigham Young (319)
7. Arizona State (309)
8. North Carolina State (290)
9. Villanova (279)
10. Columbia (266)