Midwestern State claimed its first NCAA Division II South Central Region championship last season, but much has changed for 2012 as the Mustangs will open the campaign ranked No. 3 in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association preseason rankings.
A new regional alignment has ushered in the very strong Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in place of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The Heartland Conference remains as the third league in the newly former South Central Region.
MSU opens behind perennial power Adams State, which finished fourth in the 2011 NCAA II Championships, and Western State Colorado, the national runner-up last season.
The Mustangs, who finished a program-best 11th in the nation in 2011, are just one of two Lone Star Conference squads in the rankings joining No. 7 Angelo State.
Others receiving mention in the regional ranking - all from the RMAC - include No. 4 Regis (Colo.), No. 5 Colorado Mines, No. 6 Colorado-Colorado Springs, No. 8 Black Hills State (N.D.), No. 8 New Mexico Highlands and No. 10 Metro State (Colo.).
Midwestern opens the campaign by playing host to a nine-team field at the Strohman Dental/MSU Stampede Thursday night at Memorial Athletic Complex. The 4K event starts at 7 p.m.
USTFCCCA Regional Rankings
||Adams State (Colo.)
||Western State (Colo.)
||Angelo State (Texas)
||Black Hills State (N.D.)
||New Mexico Highlands
||Metro State (Colo.)