PORTSMOUTH – Men's cross country moved up two spots this week in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches' Poll and finds itself ranked fifth in the country. The No. 5 ranking (497 votes) matches the team's highest ranking in the polls from any point last season. The most recent poll was the first of eight polls that will be conducted during the regular season. Shawnee State was ranked seventh in the preseason poll.
The Bears have run just once so far this year – a dominating performance at the Shawnee State Invitational. In that race, SSU claimed each of the top four individual spots and had eight runners cross the line before any team's second runner came to the finish. The win was the Bears 11th consecutive victory at their annual home meet.
Derek Ryan crossed the line first and was named Mid-South Conference Runner of the Week for his efforts in the race two weeks ago. In the all-time record book, six of Shawnee State's top 25 runners in school history are on this year's squad. Ryan became the sixth runner to enter that list with his most recent performance. Brad Liston, Blake Wysocki, Jeremy Anderson, Jeremy Hornick and Adam Schroeder are also amongst the Bears' top 25 runners of all-time.
Around the MSC, the University of the Cumberlands has also moved into the Top 25. The Bears' MSC foe is ranked 25th in the latest poll and is the only other MSC to have received a vote.
Shawnee State will be back in action this weekend at the Michigan State Spartan Invitational. That race will be held this Friday with the men's race getting started at 12:35 p.m. Several NCAA Division I programs will compete in the 29-team field, including No. 20 Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.