NEW ORLEANS — Montana State's men's cross country team is ranked among the nation's top 30 teams for the first time in 17 years.

The NCAA Division I men's cross country coaches' poll, announced by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Association, was released Tuesday. The inclusion of MSU at No. 30 is a first for the men's program since 2004. 

Montana State is preparing for the Big Sky Conference Championships on Oct. 29 in Hillsboro, Oregon. MSU finished 12th in the pre-nationals meet last week in Tallahassee, Florida. The Bobcats placed ahead of then-No. 25 Weber State, No. 30 Charlotte, and Duke, which had been receiving votes. 

In Monday's regional rankings, the Bobcats are seventh in the Mountain Region ahead of Weber State and Southern Utah. Northern Arizona sits in first in the region and is the unanimous No.1 team in the country. 

Duncan Hamilton has been MSU's top finisher, including 12th at FSU's Apalachee Regional Park. He's been joined in MSU's scoring lineup by Ben Perrin, Levi Taylor, Matthew Richtman, Cooper West and Rob McManus. 

MSU was ranked for three consecutive weeks in 2004 and made it to as high as 26th. The Bobcats were ranked as high as 14th in 2002 and eventually finished 11th as a team at the NCAA cross country championships.

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