Women's XC debuts in regional poll
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 09/30/2009
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Maike Holthuijzen (L) and Teegan Schoch (R) at the starting line of last season's Charles Bowles Invitational.
View larger Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations

Maike Holthuijzen (L) and Teegan Schoch (R) at the starting line of last season's Charles Bowles Invitational.

NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association has released its first weekly regional and national rankings of the season, and the University of Idaho women debuted at 15th in the West Region.

The Vandal women were unranked in the USTFCCCA's preseason poll, but moved into the regional rankings for the first time since 2007 after a pair of strong season-opening performances at the Clash of the Inland Northwest and the Sundodger Invitational.

Idaho's highest ranking in the region was fourth in 2004. That year, the Vandal women were also ranked as highly as 19th in the NCAA before qualifying for the team's first and only NCAA bid and taking 25th at the national meet.

The West Region includes teams from the Pac-10, WAC, Big West, Big Sky and West Coast conferences. Teams from the West occupy the top two spots on the USTFCCCA national rankings, and four of the top 15.

Idaho's men and women will look to further their cases in the region this weekend, as they travel to Salem, Ore., for the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational. Both Vandal teams have historically run well at the meet, which is one of the largest cross country events on the West coast every year.

Last year, the Idaho men and women took second each as teams and Allix Lee-Painter was the individual champion, while the women won and the men took third and both teams featured the top collegiate finisher in 2007.

The men's 8,000m race will start at 9:30 a.m., while the women's 5,000m race will get going at 10:15 a.m.

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