The Lincoln Blue Tigers women's team will go to the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships as the favorite.
In rankings released Tuesday, Lincoln climbed to the top spot in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll. Lincoln unseated Grand Valley State, which had held the top spot in the last 22 polls, for the No. 1 ranking.
Lincoln received 177.47 points in the association's ranking system, to 173.14 for Grand Valley State.
Also on Tuesday, the NCAA released the list of qualifiers for the championships and the Lincoln women will have 13 individuals at the event scheduled for March 7-9 in Birmingham, Ala.
Latoya King of Lincoln enters the championships with the fastest times in the 60- (7.37) and 200-meter (23.70) dashes.
Sherri Kay Campbell, the highest scorer at last weekend's MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, will compete in three events at nationals. Campbell will participate in the high jump, triple jump and pentathlon.
The Blue Tiger women also have the nation's top performance in the 4x400-meter relay (3:40.55). Relay team members include Tamara Keane, Yanique Haye, Donna-Lee Hylton and Michelle Cumberbatch.
All four will also compete in individual events. Keane will join King in the 200. Haye, Hylton and Cumberbatch will be joined by Lincoln teammate Lovan Palmer in the 400-meter dash.
On the men's side, Romel Lewis of Lincoln is one of just four athletes to qualify in multiple events. Lewis will run in the 60- and 200-meter dashes.
The Lincoln men have six total qualifiers for the championships in five total events.
In the USTFCCCA rankings, the Lincoln men totaled 39.36 points to take the 24th spot.
Erin Alewine and Brent Vogel of Central Missouri will compete in the championships.
Alewine (Jefferson City High School) has qualified in the women's high jump, long jump and pentathlon.
Vogel (Helias High School) advanced in the heptathlon.
Melaine Bower of Missouri Southern has also advanced to the women's championships.
Bower (Linn High School) will compete in the pole vault.
Also on the men's side, Adriel Hawkins of Missouri S&T has qualified for the championships.
Hawkins (Jefferson City High School) will compete in the 200-meter dash.