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NEW YORK - Columbia men's cross country team was ranked 27th in the nation in the first 2012 preseason national coaches poll, released Tuesday by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

The Lions were one of two Ivy League teams to be recognized in the national poll, along with 21st-ranked Princeton.

Columbia is returning from a strong 2011 season in which the Lions finished second at the Ivy League Heptagonals and earned an at-large bid as a team to the 2011 NCAA Championships. The Columbia men finished third at NCAA Regionals in 2011 to earn the right to compete at the NCAA Championshps last year.

The Columbia women earned a vote in the women's national poll, placing among the nation's top teams. Columbia was one of three Ivy League teams ranked in the poll, along with 15th-ranked Princeton and 30th-ranked Cornell.

The Lion men and women will begin their season at the Vermont Invitational on Sunday, September 9 at 11 a.m. in Williston, Vt.

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