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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | March 27, 2023

Minnesota, Cal and Harvard make history in 2023's first USTFCCCA men's outdoor track and field top 25

Jasmine Moore and Joseph Fahnbulleh on Florida's national championship sweep

The 2023 men's outdoor track and field season is off to a great start. With that, comes the first team rankings of the season.

Here are takeaways from the first national rating index from the USTFCCCA (which is also listed below).

Minnesota takes the top spot

No. 1 Minnesota takes the top spot in the first top 25 of the year. Yes, you read that right.

If Minnesota appearing at the top comes as a surprise to you, you're probably not alone. The Gophers have only been a top-10 program once before during the 2011 preseason. Prior to today, Minnesota had never been a top-10 team in the country during the regular season.

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So how did the Gophers land at the top?

Minnesota currently has four men with nation-leading marks in Kion Benjamin (100m), Devin Augustine (200m), Matthew Wilkinson (steeplechase) and Isaiah Schafer shot put. No other team in the country has more than one. The Gophers also have five other athletes with top 10 marks. Combine that and you have the nation's No.1 team.

WATCH LIST: The 2023 Bowerman watch list for men's and women's NCAA track and field

California and Harvard make history in the top five

No. 3 California and No. 4 Harvard also made history in the top five as both programs landed their highest rankings ever. Cal has never ranked higher than No. 12 back in 2009 and Harvard has never ranked higher than No. 29 to kick off 2022's first men's top 25. 

The Bears nor Crimson have any national leaders, but both have two top-five and five top-10 marks. Cal's top-10 marks all come from field event success, and that's without 2022's discus runner-up Mykolas Alekna. Harvard's top-10 marks are more diversified, but 10K runner Graham Blanks and 400 hurdler Aaron Shirley stand out with their second-best times in the country.

WHAT TO KNOW: 8 storylines to know ahead of 2023 DI men's, women's outdoor track and field season

Defending champion Florida is nowhere to be found

Florida is the defending outdoor track and field champion, but the Gators don't appear in the season's first top-25. There's an easy explanation for that. Florida only has had four competitors who qualify for the ratings index at this point of the season. The Gators competed in FSU Relays last week, it's only meet so far this outdoor season. With Florida Relays coming up this week, Florida likely used the time after indoor championships to recover and prepare for its first home meet.

BOWERMAN: The top five Bowerman candidates entering the outdoor track and field season

Don't look too deep into the first top-25

The first edition of the USTFCCCA ratings index comes only 16 days after the 2022 DI indoor championships. That's less than two weeks for top athletes to recover. While there have been outdoor meets dating back to the start of March, one can't get a true evaluation of the best teams in the country when the best on some of these teams have yet to compete.

That said, perennial powers like No. 2 LSU and No. 5 Texas A&M in the top five is intriguing and could be a sign of things to come.

However, two of the sport's premier meets, Texas Relays and Florida Relays, are this week, meaning the outdoor season is about to enter full swing. By this time next week, the top 25 could have an entirely new look.

👀: 5 must-watch outdoor track and field meets to pay attention to in 2023

See the full rankings from March 27, 2023:

RANKING TEAM POINTS
1 Minnesota 295.77
2 LSU 209.28
3 California 139.38
4 Harvard 137.77
5 Texas A&M 137.32
6 Virginia 134.52
7 Texas Tech 132.00
8 Kentucky 129.79
9 Long Beach State 125.70
10 Texas 122.85
11 UCLA 119.84
12 Arizona 115.94
13 Houston 111.21
14 Florida State 109.88
15 Iowa 107.29
16 Mississippi State 103.90
17 Notre Dame 100.31
18 Arizona State 98.74
19 Clemson 98.43
20 Baylor 96.69
21 South Carolina 96.45
22 North Dakota State 91.98
23 TCU 91.66
24 Duke 87.31
25 Northern Arizona 82.93

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