Colorado State men's cross country team named preseason conference champions
As voted by the head coaches in the conference, the Colorado State men's cross country team has been tabbed as the favorite to win the Mountain West title for the upcoming 2018 season. The league released the results of the 2018 MW Cross Country Preseason Coaches' Poll on Thursday.
CSU received four first-place votes and 46 points overall, matching its 2017 preseason tally, and is predicted to repeat as conference champions after winning its first-ever Mountain West cross country title in men's competition last season.
The Colorado State men won last year's conference crown in one of the most dominant team performances in the history of the meet, defeating second-place Air Force (59 points) by a margin of 28 points. The Rams' 31 points were the second-fewest ever tallied by any current conference member. Only New Mexico had less in 2014 with 26 points.
The majority of the top seven returns from last year's dominant CSU team, including 2017 MW cross country runner-up Cole Rockhold and fifth-place finisher Eric Hamer. No other school returns any male athlete that finished higher than Rockhold or Hamer at the MW Championships in 2017. Trent Powell, who placed 15th in the conference last year, and Carson Hume, the meet's 18th place finisher in 2017, give the Rams more returners from 2017's top-18 conference finishers than any other men's team (four for CSU, three for Boise State).
Following its first-ever league title, the Rams went on to place ninth at the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships, which marked the program's highest national finish since 1978.
Additionally, the Rams' team finish ranks as the fifth-highest by any team in the history of Colorado State Athletics and was one of only 10 top-10 finishes all-time by any athletic program in Colorado State history. Rockhold earned All-America honors for his performance at that meet, while Hamer and Hume also contributed to the team scoring.
The Colorado State cross country team will begin its 2018 season on Friday, Aug. 31 at the Wyoming Invite. Competition is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. MT from the Little America Hotel & Resort in Cheyenne, Wyo.
PHOTO: Justin Tafoya | NCAA Photos