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Central is #4 in Division II Football

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- The Central Washington University football team, which has won 12 consecutive regular-season games, is ranked second in the first official NCAA Division II regional poll of the 2009 season, released Monday by the NCAA national office. In addition to the Wildcats' regional ranking, they are listed fourth in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll.

Central is off to a 6-0 start, including a 1-0 mark in Great Northwest Athletic Conference games. The Wildcats' number two ranking in "Super Regional Four" by the NCAA marks the program's highest regional ranking for the program since it was the number one seed in the then-West Region for the 2002 NCAA Division II playoffs.

Included among the Wildcats' six victories so far have been road wins against Mesa State (Colo.) and defending NCAA Division II champion Minnesota Duluth. Central also earned a 33-22 win at Division I-Football Championship Subdivision member Idaho State on Sept. 26, and the team has also won all three of its home games by a combined 113-26 margin against West Texas A&M, Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and Dixie State (Utah). Games against Division II competition, in which CWU has a 4-0 record, are the primary factors in the regional rankings.

The NCAA poll has the Wildcats ranked behind Abilene Christian (Texas). Behind Central in the top five in Super Regional Four are Northwest Missouri State (5-1), Missouri Western State (5-1), and Washburn (Kan.) (5-1). Texas A&M-Kingsville (6-0), Angelo State (Texas) (5-1), Fort Hays State (Kan.) (4-2), Midwestern State (Texas) (5-1), and Central Missouri (5-1) round out the initial regional poll, off of which the six-team regional (and 24-team Division II) championship field will be based at the end of the regular season.

In the national poll, Central traded places with Bloomsburg (Pa.) this week, giving the Wildcats their highest national ranking in the 11-year NCAA history of the program at number four. The three teams ahead of CWU in the AFCA poll this week are Grand Valley State (Mich.), Abilene Christian, and North Alabama.

Since joining the NCAA Division II prior to the 1999 football season, Central Washington has played 39 games when ranked in the AFCA Division II poll, winning 32 of those. The Wildcats' previous top ranking as a NCAA member had been fifth, including each of the past three weeks.

Central Washington will travel to Arcata, Calif., to face an improved Humboldt State team (3-2, 0-2 GNAC) this weekend. The Wildcats have won 14 consecutive meetings between the two schools and lead the all-time series, 14-5-1. Kickoff from the Redwood Bowl (Artificial Turf/7,000 capacity) is set for 6 p.m. this Saturday (Oct. 10). CWU will then travel to Qwest Field on Oct. 17 for Battle in Seattle VII against Western Oregon.

1. Abilene Christian (Texas) 6-0 (6-0 vs. Division II)
3. Northwest Missouri State 5-1 (5-1)
4. Missouri Western State 5-1 (5-1)
5. Washburn (Kan.) 5-1 (5-1)
6. Texas A&M-Kingsville 6-0 (6-0)
7. Angelo State (Texas) 5-1 (5-0)
8. Fort Hays State (Kan.) 4-2 (4-2)
9. Midwestern State (Texas) 5-1 (5-1)
10. Central Missouri 5-1 (5-1)