Nov. 29, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Coastal Carolina women's indoor track & field team was picked to finish first in the Big South Conference's inaugural preseason poll, announced on Thursday.
The Chanticleers, coming off of consecutive Big South outdoor championships, collected six first-place votes and 96 points from a panel of the league's coaches. Defending indoor champion Liberty was second with four first-place votes and 94 points. Charleston Southern was third, followed by High Point and Gardner-Webb to round out the top five.
For the first time in seven years, Coastal will open its indoor season in December rather than January, as it travels to Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 1 to compete at the Orange & Purple Winter Classic.
A total of 15 Coastal athletes will participate in nine different sprints, hurdles, jumps and relay events in the single-day event, which begins at 10 a.m. and involves 16 schools from the Southeast region.
"Our athletes have been working very hard and anticipating the opening of the indoor season," head coach Alan Connie said. "They're excited to get on the track and compete against other teams. I've been impressed with the quality of our practices and the dedication of our athletes, and look for it to translate into some strong early-season performances."
Among the Chants set to compete on Saturday are seniors Erica Peake and Mary Lawrence. Peake has won five Big South championships overall and was the conference's Most Outstanding Track Athlete for the outdoor season in the spring. Lawrence is a two-time Big South pole vault champion.
Seven freshmen will make their Coastal track debuts in the meet, including Jessica Gelibert, the New Balance High School National champion in the 400 hurdles.
The Chanticleers are pursuing their sixth Big South indoor crown, having notched runner-up finishes each of the last three years. Also returning to the squad are All-Big South indoor individual event performers Sharmaine Barnes and Ashley Davis.
2012-13 Big South Conference Women's Preseason Indoor Track & Field Poll
1. Coastal Carolina (6 first-place votes) - 96 points
2. Liberty (4 first-place votes) - 94
3. Charleston Southern - 76
4. High Point - 60
5. Gardner-Webb - 51
6. Campbell - 39
UNC Asheville - 39
8. Winthrop - 37
9. Radford - 35
10. VMI - 23