VMI Men Receive First Ever Ranking in NCAA Regional Poll

Keydets Ranked 15th of 42 Southeast Division I Schools

LEXINGTON, Va.- Going into the 2005 season, the VMI men's cross country team had a pair of goals. The first was to move into the top three schools in the Big South Conference Championships at year's end, while the second was to be the first cross country team at VMI to receive a regional ranking. You could say the Keydets are halfway home after being ranked 15th in the NCAA South East Region poll, as announced Tuesday morning.

"One of our goals this year was to receive a NCAA Southeast Regional Ranking," said VMI head coach Paul Spangler. "To receive a ranking, in arguably one of the hardest regions in the country, shows how hard these men have been working."

The Keydets won the VMI Invitational last Saturday, besting Big South preseason favorite Liberty, along with UNC Asheville and Radford. The Keydets placed five runners in the top 11 to post a score of 37, compared to totals of 52 for Liberty, 57 for UNC Asheville and 79 for Radford. Sophomore Donnie Mikels (Rustburg, Va./Rustburg) paced the Keydets with his third place finish, turning in a time of 25:53.

That result came two weeks after a fourth place finish at the Covered Bridge Open, hosted by Appalachian State, where the Keydets competed with nationally ranked Florida State and Appalachian State, who is ranked 12th in this week's Southeast rankings.

The Southeast region is comprised of 42 schools that sponsor cross country in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky. VMI is one of only two Big South schools to receive a regional ranking this week, as High Point is ranked 11th in the poll. The Keydets return to action on Saturday, Oct. 1, when they compete in the Paul Short Invitational, hosted by Lehigh.

NCAA South East Region Poll #1 (Sept. 20)
1. North Carolina State
2. William & Mary
3. Virginia
4. Clemson
5. Duke
6. James Madison
7. Eastern Kentucky
8. Charlotte
9. UNC
10. Wake Forest
11. High Point
12. Appalachian State
13. Louisville
14. Virginia Tech
15. VMI