Women's XC receives votes in latest USTFCCCA Polls

Defeated three ranked teams at Nuttycombe Invitational

SPOKANE, Wash. — After one of its most complete team meet performances in recent memory, Gonzaga women's cross country is getting recognition on the national scene for the first time since 2016.

After beating three ranked teams en route to a 21st-place team finish at the Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison, Wisc., the Zags received votes for the first time this fall in the USTFCCA national polls released Tuesday, less than 24 hours after reaching a program-best No. 5 in the outlet's West Region rankings on Monday.

A 50th-place time overall from Kristen Garcia (20:55.6) and a five-runner spread of 41 seconds against some of the nation's top-ranked teams helped GU topple No. 26 UConn, No. 28 Furman and West Region rivals No. 30 Oregon State, who they moved ahead in the West Region rankings this week.

"Unquestionably the best regular season meet in program history," said head women's coach Jake Stewart. "Our ladies ran a really mature race. We had a game plan and we executed it. Beat some really big names nationally and in our region."

Ahead of the Bulldogs in the West are No. 18 Washington, No. 23 Stanford, No. 27 Portland and Oregon (RV), who all raced in Nuttycombe over the weekend and finished in that order.

The Zags have another opportunity to make a splash in the polls at the West Coast Conference Championships in Concord, Calif. on Oct. 29, with matchups against No. 3 BYU and the Pilots on the docket.

"We were better than we were three weeks ago," Stewart said. "And we have a chance to be better in two weeks."

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