Lincoln women hold down top outdoor track ranking

The Lincoln University women’s outdoor track and field team is the one to beat in Division II this season.

The Blue Tigers were tabbed as the early favorite this season, as the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association ranked them No. 1 in the Division II preseason poll released Tuesday.

Lincoln received 279.44 points to claim the top spot in the poll. The Blue Tigers have 16 athletes in the top 10 of the event rankings, including three defending national champions — senior Latoya King at 100- and 200-meter dashes, senior Michelle Cumberbatch in the 400 hurdles and junior Nickeisha Beaumont in the long jump.

Lincoln easily outdistanced second-place Adams State, which had 206.74 points. Grand Canyon (176.23) is third and Grand Valley State, the two-time defending national champion, earned 142.00 points to take the No. 4 spot.

On the men’s side, Lincoln was ranked seventh in the nation with 120.22 points.

Grand Canyon, which is in its final season as a Division II program before transitioning to Division I next year, opens as the No. 1 team with 234.89 points. St. Augustine’s is second with 219.73, while the reigning national champion, Adams State, is No. 3 with 186.58 points.

According to the USTFCCA website, the national team rankings are “mathematical formula based on national descending order lists and data taken from previous seasons.

For the preseason ranking and early-season rankings, data will be taken from previous seasons as well as the current season. The purpose and methodology of the rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving the top spots in the national-team race.”

The Blue Tigers will split their time between two meets this week.

Some will travel to Austin, Texas, for the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays scheduled for today through Saturday, while others will be in St. Louis for the Washington University-St. Louis Invitational set for Friday and Saturday.

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