Men's XC rises to program-best No. 13 in USTFCCCA Polls

Defeated 10 ranked opponents at Nuttycombe on Friday

SPOKANE, Wash. — A big weekend in Wisconsin continues to pay dividends for a Gonzaga men's cross country team surging at just the right time.

A day after reaching a program-best No. 3 in the USTFCCCA's Regional Rankings, the Zags made history in the polls yet again on Tuesday, jumping six spots to slot in at No. 13 nationally after knocking off ten ranked teams Friday at the Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison, Wisc. en route to a seventh-place team finish. GU's previous highest-ever ranking was No. 14 in the spring of 2021.

At Nuttycombe, Wil Smith (11th, 23:37.1) and James Mwaura (14th, 23:38.2) paced the Bulldogs at the front, making GU one of only three teams with two runners in the top 15 while beating six teams ranked above them in last week's polls. GU did all that without top-three runner Yacine Guermali, who was the Zags' fastest finisher at the Bill Dellinger Invite three weeks previous but did not race on Friday due to injury.

"Getting into the top 10 without Yacine was pretty cool," Tyson said. "in many ways they committed when the going got tough on the course — they committed to Yacine. What would Yacine do? He's such a great leader for this team."

GU now has two weeks before it heads into the West Coast Conference Championships in Concord, Calif., on Oct. 29, with an opportunity to face two conference opponents ranked in this week's top 20 — No. 7 BYU and No. 17 Portland. The Bulldogs defeated Portland twice in team races so far this season, but has yet to face BYU.

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